Negligence of the state to be blamed for murder of another secular activist in Bangladesh

religion_politicsHe is the third secular writer to have been killed in less than three months!

It was evident; even more to follow — thanks to the reluctance of the so-called progressive government! The head of state as well as her parrots are eliminating the militants during their speeches; that’s all. No effective operation is seen on the ground.

Ananta Bijoy Das has been killed at a time when the law enforcers are struggling to unearth mystery behind the killing of secular activists Avijit Roy and Oyasiqur Rahman Babu.

Locals said the four killers in two motorcyles chanted ‘Allahu Akbar’ after confirming his death.

It was not needed to assume that radical Islamists are behind the murder. Even their tweet claiming responsibility does not matter at all.

Bijoy was the editor of science magazine “Jukti” and moderator of Mukto-Mona (freethinker) blog, a virtual platform founded by Avijit a decade ago mainly for Bengali and South Asian descent to practice secular thoughts. He has written four books – discussing Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, science and revolution.

A critic of extremist Islamists operating in home and abroad, Bijoy was a key organiser of the Sylhet chapter of Gonojagoron Moncho, a platform formed at Shahbagh in 2013 demanding death penalty for all war criminals and ban on Jamaat-e-Islami.

Like the other key persons of the Moncho, he too was a target of the Islamists who demanded enacting a blasphemy law to punish the “atheists.”

The Islamists in February 2013 also handed over a list of 84 bloggers and secular activists to the then home ministry seeking exemplary action against them. Later the law enforcers arrested at least four of them and filed cases for hurting religious sentiment of the Muslims and criticising the government. Bijoy, Oyasiqur and Avijit were named in the list.

According to unconfirmed sources, a top intelligence agency last year handed over a list of 30/35 secular bloggers mentioning that they could be killed anytime. The three slain bloggers were in this list too.

More importantly, last year US citizen Avijit sought protection from the FBI. But the agency acted only after he had been killed on February 26, 2015!

The latest killing has taken place at a time when the law enforcers say local Islamist militant groups, blessed by international terrorist groups IS, Al-Qaeda and Taliban, have been working together since last year to establish Shariah-based Islamic state in Bangladesh.

Bijoy was given Mukto-Mona Award in 2005 for his significant role in advocating secularism, rationalism and scientific thoughts. In his last status on Facebook posted yesterday morning, Bijoy criticised a local Awami League lawmaker for making indecent comments about renowned teacher Muhammed Zafar Iqbal. Recently he criticised the role of police during the murders of Avijit and Oyasiqur and also during the sexual assault on women who joined the Bangla New Year celebrations on April 14. He also censured police action on activists of Bangladesh Students Union demanding justice for the Pohela Boishakh sex assaults.

Youngest among four siblings, Bijoy was an assistant development officer of Pubali Bank’s Jaowa Bazar branch. He completed masters in social work from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in 2005.

Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), in a post on yesterday claimed responsibility for the murder of Bijoy. Ansar Al-Islam Bangladesh tweeted a link to the post around 12:30pm.

AQIS leader Asim Umar, in another video message released on May 3, claimed responsibility for killing Avijit Roy, Oyasiqur, Ahmed Rajeeb Haider and Rajshahi University teacher Prof AKM Shafiul Islam.

The Detective Branch of police is investigating Avijit and Oyasiqur murder cases, but has been unable to make any significant progress. In Avijit murder case, US investigating agency FBI is assisting the DB police.

Detectives earlier said Ansarullah members were behind the killing of Avijit and Oyasiqur. In Rajeeb murder case, eight Ansarullah men including its chief Jasim Uddin Rahmani are now facing trial at a Speedy Trial Tribunal. Rahmani in his sermons inspired his followers to kill atheists.


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