Another atheist blogger killed in Bangladesh

Niloy 'Neel' Chowdhury becomes fourth atheist blogger killed this year in Bangladesh

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Aug 9, 2015

A Bangladeshi blogger was killed in the capital Dhaka by machete-wielding attackers on Friday, the fourth blogger hacked to death this year.

Police said 40-year-old Niloy Chowdhury, who had a Facebook account with the name "Niloy Neel," was attacked in his home by assailants who posed as possible tenants.

Chowdhury was an atheist blogger with a Hindu background, the BBC reported, and he was the fourth blogger attacked and killed in Bangladesh this year.

US-based blogger Avijit Roy was also hacked to death last February. A month later, another blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was killed in the capital Dhaka, following Ananta Bijoy Das who was attacked and killed last May.

In addition to their critical views against Islam, they were also part of a movement that called for the prosecution and execution of the Jamaat-e-Islami party politicians, who were accused of being involved in war crimes during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.

Several organisations, for over a year now have been asking the government to pass a blasphemy law to stop bloggers from insulting Islamic values.

A wave of attacks against the bloggers came after radical groups issued warnings and released a list with 84 names. All the men killed were on that list.

The radicals also sent a letter, with a hit list to 10 people, including the prime minister’s adviser, Hossain Toufique Imam, University of Dhaka’s Vice Chancellor, Arefin Siddiqui and atheist blogger Imran H Sarkar.

After the attacks, there have been many demonstrations in Bangladesh, which have blamed the authorities for not protecting different opinions from religious bigotry.  

Bangladeshi police have detained 15 people over the attacks, but no-one has been charged yet.

UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye and the special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Christof Heyns condemned the killing, according to Reuters.

"The violent killing of another critical voice in Bangladesh shows that serious threats to freedom of expression persist in the country," they said in a joint statement.

Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for a thorough investigation

"Thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigations must be carried out promptly to ensure that all those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty," Amnesty International said in a statement.


TRTWorld and agencies