Another Blogger Hacked to Death in Dhakha, Big Knives Used, Says Police // Bangladesh blogger becomes second to be murdered in a month

NB: In the name of 'hurt sentiment', are fanatics are to be protected by the state and all of us driven to the wall by murderous hooligans because we dare to criticise religious belief? I believe in respecting peoples' religious beliefs, but that does not imply that all such belief is exempt from criticism. Do the faithful of all creeds want all criticism of religion to be banned? The communal grip over state machineries in South Asia has become so tight that the police have become their agents in destroying freedom of speech. There are several state-registered ongoing cases against atheist bloggers in Bangladesh. The murdered Avijit's wife Rafida told Reuters: “While Avijit and I were being ruthlessly attacked, the local police stood close by and did not act” . 

Meanwhile this is what is going on in Indonesia: Violent anti-communism is alive and well in Indonesia. And this in India: Smruti Koppikar - Maharashtra CM has no will to probe my father's murder: social reformer Govind Pansare's daughter . Social and political activists need to clear our minds and launch a vigorous defence of the rights of atheists and agnostics to criticise religion. Without blasphemy there would be no science, nor any new religion either. We have made too many retreats in the face of religious sentiment. The result is that these goons hold the whole of society and indeed the human intellect itself by the throat. The attack on the human mind is now become normalised. This sinister development must be recognised for what it is, a preparation for totalitarianism. 

If we don't resist it unitedly, we shall be digging our own graves, as past generations have already done by their compromises with communalists of all stripes - DS

DHAKA:  A blogger was hacked to death in the Bangladesh capital on Monday, in the latest brutal attack on the country's independent writers, a senior officer said. Police have arrested two men over the murder which comes just weeks after an American atheist blogger was also hacked to death in Dhaka, a crime that triggered international outrage, the officer said. "He was brutally hacked to death this morning with big knives just 500 yards (460 metres) from his home at Dhaka's Begunbari area," local police chief Wahidul Islam told AFP. Islam said the men were arrested immediately after the attack trying to flee the scene. Police said they were unsure whether the victim, Washiqur Rahman, 27, was also an atheist blogger but another social media writer said that he was known to write "against religious fundamentalism". "It appeared Rahman used to write using a penname Kutshit Hasher Chhana (Ugly Duckling)," Imran Sarker, head of Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, told AFP. "He was a progressive free thinker and was against religious fundamentalism," he said. Police have also arrested a suspect over the killing in February of American atheist writer and blogger Avijit Roy.

Roy was the second atheist blogger to have been murdered in the Muslim-majority country in the last two years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since 2004. His killing sparked an uproar at home and abroad with hundreds of secular activists holding protests for days to demand justice. They also slammed the country's secular government for not doing enough to protect humanist writers.

A blogger known for his atheist views has been stabbed to death in Bangladesh, in the latest of a series of attacks on independent writers in the developing south Asian nation. Washiqur Rahman, 27, died of serious injuries inflicted in the assault on Monday morning in Dhaka, the capital. Police have arrested two men for the murder, which comes just weeks after an American atheist blogger was killed in Dhaka, in a crime that triggered international outrage. Local police chief Wahidul Islam told Agence France-Presse the victim had been “brutally hacked to death this morning with big knives just 500 yards [460 metres] from his home at Dhaka’s Begunbari area”. Islam said the two detained men were arrested immediately after the attack as they tried to flee the scene. The suspects have so far been identified only as Zikrullah, said to be a student at a religious school near the city of Chittagong, and Ariful Islam, who police say was studying at the Darul Ulum religious school in Dhaka. Police are hunting a third man. 

“Those who killed him differed on his ideologies about religion. He was not an atheist. He was a believer. But the way he followed religion was different from the way radical groups insist,” Biplob Kumar Sarkar, deputy commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan police, told the Guardian. However, Tamanna Setu, a friend of Rahman said: “He used to write a satirical column on facebook about against believers. He was an atheist. His killing has to be connected to his writing,”

One social media activist said that he used to write “against religious fundamentalism”. “It appeared Rahman used to write using a pen name, Kutshit Hasher Chhana [Ugly Duckling],” Imran Sarker, head of the Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, said. “He was a progressive free thinker and was against religious fundamentalism.” Ibrahim Khalil, a fellow blogger who knew Rahman through events they organised, said Rahman was a “progressive” who wrote against religious extremism and repression of ethnic minorities. “I can say he was a very humble man,” Khalil said.

The Dhaka Tribune reported that the dead man was a member of eight Facebook group pages including Atheist Bangladesh. Rahman, who worked at a travel agency as an IT manager, is the third such blogger to have been murdered in the Muslim-majority country in the past two years. Police have also arrested a suspect over the killing in February of American atheist writer and blogger Avijit Roy. Roy, an engineer of Bangladeshi origin, was killed by machete-wielding assailants near Dhaka University as he and his wife were returning from a book fair last month. His wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head injuries and lost a finger. She later returned to the US for treatment.

“While Avijit and I were being ruthlessly attacked, the local police stood close by and did not act,” Rafida told Reuters. Roy’s death sparked uproar at home and abroad, with hundreds of secular activists protesting for days to demand justice. They also criticised the country’s government for not doing enough to protect secularist writers. An adviser to Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister, appeared in comments earlier this month to pass the blame for the murder of Roy on to the police. “Identify the black sheep among the force and bring them under law and justice to uphold your image,” HT Imam told senior officers.

A suspect in the killing, named as Farabi Shafiur Rahman, had previously threatened Roy several times, including on Facebook, where he said Roy would be killed upon his arrival in Dhaka. Rahman was arrested in 2013 for making threats to a cleric for administering Islamic funeral rites to another atheist blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was murdered. Media group Reporters Without Borders rated Bangladesh 146th among 180 countries in a ranking of press freedom last year. In 2004, assailants attacked Bangladeshi writer Humayun Azad, also with machetes. Azad survived the attack, but died in mysterious circumstances later that year in Germany, where he had gone on an academic visit.
Political violence in recent months has claimed the lives of more than 100 people and left hundreds more injured. Clashes have pitted activists from the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP), which boycotted general elections a year ago, and other parties against security forces. The latest protests have been called by Khaleda Zia, leader of the BNP, who wants Hasina to resign and call fresh polls. Hasina has said her government would remain in office until her term ends in 2019. Allies of the BNP include Islamist parties. The country of more than 160 million people has struggled to resolve profound disagreements over the role of religion in politics and society in recent years.

Also see:
Subhash Gatade - The Challenge of Unreason in South Asia

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