Another secular Bangladeshi Blogger Murdered

28 May 2015
IN a chilling reminder that religious intolerance, fundamentalism and fascistic tendencies are on a rise all over the globe, secular Bangladeshi blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was hacked to death in the city of Sylhet in an attack by four men wielding machetes on May 12 May. The killing took place in broad daylight when Das was on his way to work in a local bank. Das's killing is part of a gory pattern as he is the third Bangladeshi blogger committed to rationalism and secularism to be murdered this year. Bloggers Washiqur Rahman and Avijit Roy were murdered in similar attacks in Bangladesh in March and February respectively.

A banker by profession, Das wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona, a website founded by Avijit Roy. Roy remained one of the eight moderators of Mukto-Mona till his murder. The site had published death threats that progressive Bangladeshi author Humayun Azad received before he was assassinated. Das was also an activist for the Gono Jogoron Moncho (Peoples' Awakening Forum) movement that is campaigning for a secular Bangladesh.

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. Militant Islamic groups have published atheist blogger hit-lists. Last year, the group Ansar al Islam Bangladesh (also called Ansarullah Bangla Team)posted a "hit list"of writers seen as opponents of Islam, the advocacy group 'Reporters Without Borders' reported. Among the killingsfor which the group claimed responsibility was the 2013 fatal attack on Rajib Haider, an activist who called for harsh punishments of Islamists who committed atrocities during the country's 1971 liberation war. The same group is thought to be behind the attack on Roy and Das.

The killing has set off a storm of criticism against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, with noted author Taslima Nasreen saying people had "given up any expectation" that she would act against the killers.
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