Index on Censorship deplores the killing of blogger Niloy Chakrabarti in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and calls on the authorities to investigate the murder and ensure that those responsible are found and brought to justice.
“We strongly condemn Niloy Chakrabarti’s brutal murder,” said Index’s senior advocacy officer Melody Patry. “We fear the death toll will increase if the authorities fail to take action to find and punish those responsible. Freedom of expression is in danger and Bangladesh must do more to protect writers online and offline.”
Chakrabarti, who wrote under the pen name Niloy Neel, is the fourth secular blogger to be murdered since the start of the year. A member of Bangladesh’s Science and Rationalist Association, he was attacked in his home in Dhaka.
In May, Ananta Bijoy Das was attacked and killed with machetes. On 30 March writer Washiqur Rahman, who was also known for his atheist views, was stabbed to death. In February, fellow atheist Avijit Roy was hacked to death by a knife-wielding mob in Dhaka as he walked back from a book fair.
Niloy Neel – Died 7 August 2015; killed in his flat in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh. Neel was an anti-fundamentalist and anti-extremist blogger, and a known atheist who’d written pieces critical of religion. Other causes he wrote on were the rights of ethnic minorities and women. He was a regular contributor to Mukto-mona and Ishtishon. Currently, he was an activist of the Ganajagaran Mancha, the platform demanding capital punishment for the 1971 Islamic war criminals who’d recently been sentenced to life imprisonment in Bangladesh. He was murdered by an Islamic fundamentalist gang.
Ananta Bijoy Das – Died 12 May 2015 in Sylhet, Bangladesh. Das reportedly wrote for “Mukto-Mona” (“Free-mind”), and his pieces were often critical of religion. Islamist groups stated that his murder was a punishment for “crimes against Islam”. Das sought to be less controversial in his writing but death threats increased against him as more and more bloggers were being murdered. One of his last posts was critical of Bangladeshi police and how they did not protect secular writers. Also a Ganajagaran Manch activist.
Washiqur Rahman – Died 30 March 2015 in Dhaka. Rahman was targeted for his anti-Islamic writing, as told to police by the suspects taken into custody for the murder. Rahman frequently criticized what he saw as irrational fundamentalist groups; he was not an atheist by any means, but he held different religious views than his more extremist attackers. He was said to have written a 52-episode series for an anti-religion satirical site called Dhormockery.com which mocked aspects of Islam. He was also a Ganajagaran Manch activist.
Avijit Roy – Died 26 February 2015. Bangladeshi born US national. Roy founded the Mukto-Mona website, and his pieces often criticized religious intolerance. He was also a known advocate for freedom of speech in Bangladesh and would organize protests against international censorship and imprisonment of bloggers. Islamic militant organization Ansarullah Bangla Team claimed responsibility for the attack. He also was involved with the Ganajagaran Manch.