August 8, 2015

9/84 and counting! Blogger killings in Bangladesh

Niloy Neel is the ninth secular blogger to be killed in Bangladesh since 2013. He is one out of 84 whose names Islamist extremists gave to Bangladesh government with the threat that they all would be bumped off one by one. Niloy is the fourth to be killed this year.
Niloy-neel-facebook
Niloy's Facebook timeline

There is a clear pattern in these killings: The bloggers get death threats and then they are attacked. They keep getting attacked till it is all over. There is no perceptible check on extremists by the government / police. In some cases, even the killings have been similar: with machetes or axe-like knives. In some cases, police put the bloggers behind the bars for blasphemy instead of taking on attackers. 

Going by the nature of killings and the fact that even anonymously posting bloggers are attacked, it looks that the attacks are planned and executed by a common master though different groups keep taking responsibility for these murders.
Istishon.com, where Niloy contributed often.


It all started in 2013 when freethinkers and secular bloggers held successful rallies demanding death penalty for a war crime accused Jamat leader. These rallies caused huge backlash from Islamists who joined together to make Hefajat-e-Islam (protection of Islam). This grouping held two big rallies in Dhaka, and with communal appeal, was able to mobilise the public against the government. This very group issued the list of 84 bloggers and asked the government to punish them for acting against the God's teachings. In a sort of rapprochement between the group and the government, many bloggers have been tried for blasphemy. That perhaps explains why the government is not able to deal firmly with the group. 

The lives of the rest rationalist bloggers / social media activists are in danger from the blood-thirsty extremists as well as the government. Is the international community listening?

Just to recall the merciless killings of other Bangladeshi bloggers within one year!
Avijit Roy
Washiqur Rahman
Ananta Bijoy Das

Updates:
10th August, 2015: BDesh government is being strongly criticized by bloggers, liberal thinkers and their followers, international agencies and the social media. Government has rejected criticism about its inaction but has assured that the killers will be nabbed soon as intelligence agencies are after them. FBI has offered help in nabbing the killers and is said to be in talk with BDesh authorities.
18th November, 2015: Three attackers arrested, repots Al Jazeera.