Another Bangaldeshi blogger has been hacked to death for his atheist views by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh.
Niloy Chakrabarti, who wrote under the pen name Niloy Neel, was brutally attacked at his home in the Goran area of the country’s capital Dhaka.
According to reports, Mr Neel, 40, had sought police protection after receiving death threats from Islamists in the weeks leading up to his death.
Police however, failed to follow up on the threats.
The attackers entered Mr Neel’s apartment early on Friday after gaining access to the building.
“Two of them then took him to a room and then slaughtered him there,” deputy police commissioner Muntashirul Islam said.
“His wife was in the flat but she was confined to another room.” he added.
“He was the voice against fundamentalism and extremism and was even a voice for minority rights – especially women’s rights and the rights of indigenous people,” said Imran Sarkar, head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network.
Asif Mohiuddin, another blogger who himself survived an attack in Bangladesh in 2013, described Chakrabarti as an atheist “free thinker” whose posts appeared on several sites.
“He was critical against religions and wrote against Islamist, Hindu, Christian and Buddhist fundamentalism,” Mohiuddin, who is now based in Berlin, told AFP by phone.
Police meanwhile said Chakrabarti had been one of the organisers of the large-scale protests in 2013 against Islamists convicted of war crimes dating back to the 1971 conflict when Bangladesh seceded from Pakistan.
Immediately after the murder, hundreds of secular activists joined a protest march in the city’s Shahbagh Square, which was also the venue for the 2013 demonstrations.
“We’re protesting a culture of impunity in Bangladesh. One after another blogger is being killed and yet there is no action to stop these murderers,” said Sarker of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network, who was among the protestors.
Mr Neel’s murder follows that of three other bloggers who were targeted by suspected Islamists for their “atheist” views.
— Avijit Roy, the Bangladeshi-American founder of the popular online website Mukto-mona, who was murdered by machete-wielding attackers as he was leaving a book fair in Dhaka on February 26th.
— Washiqur Rahman, an avid blogger critical of religious fundamentalism, was killed in similar fashion in Dhaka a month later while he was on his way to work.
— Ananta Bijoy Ras, a banker and occasional blogger, who received death threats for criticizing fundamentalist groups and advocating secular values in Bangladesh. He was killed while on his way to work on 12 May.
All of the victims had been active on social media, criticising the extremist Muslim ideologies that have gained strength in Bangladesh in recent years or arguing in favour of progressive causes.