News Source: CNN | Photograph: Guardian
There seems to be no end to murders of bloggers in Bangladesh.
Niloy Neel, a Bangladeshi blogger with atheist views, was brutally hacked to death by a group of five or six men armed with machetes in his apartment in the capital of Dhaka. He is the 4th secular blogger who has been murdered this year.
He had told police of threats against him and requested protection weeks before he died. In an interview with the Guardian in May, Chakrabarti said he was scared that he would be killed and that he had tried to file reports with local police about continued harassment. He claimed his complaints were not taken seriously.
Dhaka Police spokesman, Muntashirul Islam, used a different name for the blogger, whom he referred to as Niloy Chakrabarti.
“We know that Niloy used to work for nongovernmental organizations in the past but we are not aware of his journalistic identity. We are investigating,” he added.
Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh, an al Qaeda group, has claimed responsibility for the killing as reported by CNN but the authenticity of the group and their claim is still being verified.
Neel’s death is part of a highly disturbing trend.
In May, Ananta Bijoy Das, 32, was hacked to death with cleavers and machetes as he left his home on his way to work at a bank.
In March, Washiqur Rahman, 27, was hacked to death by two men with knives and meat cleavers just outside his house as he headed to work at a travel agency in Dhaka.
A month earlier, Roy, a Bangladesh-born American blogger, was similarly killed with machetes and knives as he walked back from a book fair in Dhaka.
Bangladesh is an officially secular country but more than 90% of its 160 million population are Muslims. The 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. There has been an increase in attacks by religious extremists in recent years. Intolerance is growing as the country’s politics increasingly diverge into secular and non-secular poles.
Freedom of the media is being cruelly choked, and if this continues the death of democracy could be well on its way in Bangladesh.
The Logical Indian strongly supports the right of common citizens to voice out their opinions. We urge our friends in Bangladesh to not allow their voices to die, and also hope that our government will take a stand on this issue and use every channel possible to push the Bangladeshi government to ensure no more such bloggers are killed. India stands to gain if our neighbors thrive as successful democracies.