11/02/2015, 00.00
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Islamic violence in Bangladesh: an editor killed, another wounded and two bloggers attacked

by Sumon Corraya
Faisal Arefin Dipan was 45 years old and was the editor of Jagriti Prokashani. He was stabbed in his office. The three other intellectuals were attacked by a group of thugs. A publisher threatened with the message "Prepare to die!" Because he published books by writers "atheists". Activists on strike against government.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - A publisher of progressive ideas assassinated, another wounded and two bloggers attacked with hatchets by unidentified criminals in the neighborhoods of Shabagh and Lalmatia, the capital of Bangladesh.

This is the toll of the latest round of attacks on  intellectuals in the country, targeted by Islamic radicals who justify their murder because the victims are "atheists".

Catholic Dilip Vincent Gomes, president of the Bangladesh Christian Writer's Forum, harshly condemned the new episode of violence through AsiaNews: "Radical Islamists are murdering and persecuting writers, bloggers and their publishers. The culprits are not punished. Free thinkers write about social change and the fundamentalists kill them mercilessly. The Islamic radicals do not want to promote and support a peaceful society, they are the enemies of this country".

Faisal Arefin Dipan (see photo), 45, editor of Jagriti Prokashani, was stabbed Saturday, October 31 at around two in the afternoon (local time) while he was in his office near the 'Aziz Cooperative Market Shabagh, Dhaka . His murder was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS).

Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, editor of Shuddha Swar Prokashani, and bloggers Sudeep Kumar Roy Barman - who writes under the pseudonym Ranadipam Basu - and Tareq Rahim were attacked on the same day in the office of Tutul in Lalmatia.

Some eyewitnesses saw a group of five or six thugs raid the offices of the newspaper and attack the three men with guns and rudimentary knives. After inflicting the injuries, they also blocked them in the building.

Ranadipam Basu published a comment on Facebook immediately after the attack. An anonymous Catholic blogger commented: "The government is doing nothing to stop or condemn the perpetrators of this wave of violence. The Islamic radicals are gaining new momentum in the killing of thinkers democratic and secular ".

The situation is becoming riskier for those who do not share the ideology of Islam. For some time, Muslim extremists have been targeting free thinkers and democracy activists, justifying their killing by calling their victims "atheists".

Ahmed Rajib Haider was the first blogger to be killed for his “anti-Islam" ideas in 2013. So far this year, four other bloggers have lost their lives. In February Avijt Roy was murdered near the University Dhaka; in late March, also in the capital, Muslim fundamentalists hacked to death Oyasiqur Rahman; two months later, it was the turn of Ananta Bijoy Das, who was murdered in Sylhet; and finally, Niloy Chakrabarti was killed, execution style, in August in broad daylight, under the eyes of his mother and sister.

In such an atmosphere of fear, 12 bloggers have been pushed to leave the country, concerned about further attacks after the publication of a series of threatening letters sent to the press, in which they are named as the next targets.

Serajul Islam Chaudhury, professor emeritus and renowned Muslim author, says: "People who commit these killings are wrong, these acts are not allowed by any religion, particularly Islam as a peaceful religion. These episodes occur because the other murders have not been resolved. "

The day before the murder of Dipan, another publisher received a message on his mobile phone threatening him with death for publishing atheistic writings. The text reads: "You have published many books written by atheists, you have committed many sins. Prepare to die!".

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police has announced that the group Ansarullah Bangla Team, already known for having wished the "dead right" to a list of secular intellectuals might be behind the murder of the publisher and the threats to other writers.

Tomorrow the Ganajagaran Mancha (National reawakening), an activist group which included the wounded writers and some of the murdered bloggers, will carry out a national strike to protest the government inaction, and ask the authorities to Dhaka give definite answers and ensure justice.

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Dhaka court gives "lenient” sentence to blogger’s assassins


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