Tuesday, May 12, 2015

BANGLADESH BLOGGER ANANTA BIJOY DAS HACKED TO DEATH

BBC, 12-05-2015: Ananta Bijoy Das was stabbed to death in the street - in daylight, on his way to work in a bank

A secular blogger has been hacked to death in north-eastern Bangladesh in the country's third such deadly attack since the start of the year. Police said Ananta Bijoy Das was attacked by a masked gang wielding machetes in the north-eastern city of Sylhet. Mr Das wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona, a website once moderated by Avijit Roy, himself hacked to death in February. Avijit Roy was known for his writings against religious fundamentalism Mr Roy's widow, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, lost a thumb in the February attack

He was killed in a machete attack while he was visiting the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, as he returned with his wife from a book fair in the city. His widow suffered head injuries and lost a thumb. In March, another blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was hacked to death in Dhaka. 
Police say there are similarities in the way all three bloggers were killed - hacked to death with sharp weapons. 

In each case, attackers carried out their plan on a busy street. Death threats to secular bloggers are on the rise in Bangladesh. A few years back, hardline Islamists demanded a blasphemy law to stop bloggers they perceive to be anti-Islamic from writing about Islam. Secular forces in Bangladesh say that their views are under threat. Intolerance is growing as the country's politics increasingly diverge into secular and non-secular poles.

Bangladesh is officially secular. But critics say the government is indifferent to the problem of blogger killing - pointing out that no-one has yet been punished for any of the attacks. Sara Hossain, a lawyer and human rights activist in Dhaka, told the BBC that Mr Das and Mr Roy were on a list of targets. "They've always believed and written very vocally in support of free expression and they've very explicitly written about not following any religion themselves," she told the BBC World Service's Newsday programme.

"These last two have been part of a blog called Mukto-Mona [Free Mind], which is about free thinking and is about explicitly taking on religious fundamentalism and particularly Islamic religious fundamentalism. Their names have been on lists of identified targets." The attack on Mr Roy prompted massive protests from students and social activists, who accused the authorities of failing to protect critics of religious bigotry. An Islamist has been arrested over his murder, while two madrassa students have been arrested over Mr Rahman's killing.

Also see
The Broken Middle (on the 30th anniversary of 1984)