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Bangladesh Government fail to save Avijit Roy

Written By: Nazmul
07/05/2015 23:46
Burning Issue

Avijit Roy, a blogger, writer and known for Mukto-Mona (freethinker) platform that he initiated to spread secular liberal values in Bangladesh.  To be honest I did’t know about him much before he came to media attention on his death. What I came to know now he was an atheist from Hindu relgious background.

In February 2015, Avijit Roy traveled to Dhaka with his wife from USA where he is a resident and work.Roy was known for his critical view on Religion as a whole and religious fundementalist, extremist as particular. He informed in the social media that Muslim extremists given him life threat several times.  It was sometimes very direct to kill him. It has known that an extremest called Farabi Shafiur Rahman threatened Roy several times through blogs and social media sites including Facebook. He said on different posts and comments that Roy would be killed upon his arrival in Dhaka. So, for obvious reason Avijit kept his Bangladesh tour very secreat., i.e. very close few people knew about his visits.

Dhaka is a busy city.During the Ekushey Book Fair it gets busier and it become a center of meeting place. On the evening of 26 February, Avijit and his wife were returning home from the fair by rickshaw. At around 8:30 pm, unidentified assailants attacked them near the Teacher Student Center intersection of Dhaka University. The place is known to me very well. Now, I cannot even imagine how this type of killing take place in this area where there are thousands of people hang around all the time.

It has reported in the local media that two assailants stopped and dragged them from the rickshaw to the pavement before striking them with machetes, according to witnesses. Roy was struck in the head and stabbed with sharp weapons. His wife was slashed on her shoulders and the fingers of her left hand were severed. Both of them were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Roy died at 10:30 pm. His wife survived.

Avijit’s Wife Banna Ahmed remember the incident correctly and explain what happend exactly in in an interview with BBC's Newshour. Surprisingly she said that police stood nearby when they were attacked on the spot but did not act!  People like Avijit is not unknown to intellegence agency because of his vocal, stand against government’s repression against bloggers. Moreover, there were police who were stand still like watching horro movie! I held govt and its agency responsible for the killing of Avijit a rare voice that appealed so many mind in Bangladesh.

In a Twitter post on the day after his death, an Islamist group, calling itself Ansar Bangla-7, claimed responsibility for the killing. Ansar Bangla-7 said to be the same organization as Ansarullah Bangla Team. 3 May 2015, the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibility for the murder of Roy and the deaths of other "blasphemers" in Bangladesh in a report published by SITE intelligence group.

The Police said they are investigating the issue seriously. I believe they will. But the negligency they showed cannot and should not go unchalleneged. First thing came to my mind that the inner circle those who knew Avijit’s stay in Dhaka should be questioned. On 2 March 2015, Rapid Action Battalion arrested Farabi Shafiur Rahman. Police suspects that Farabi has shared Roy's location, identity, family photographs, etc. with the killer(s).

Avijit Roy was vocal against govt crack down on freethinker and progressive blogger. After the Shahbag Movement and killing of another blogger Rajib in 2013 Bangladesh government start targeting blogger to satisfy hardline Islamist in order to gain vote. They arrested few bloggers, shut down their blogs. Avijit Roy was critical about this development and wrote to Western media outlets and the Center for Inquiry and the International Humanist and Ethical Union for support. He went on to coordinate international protests in Dhaka, New York City, Washington, D.C., London, Ottawa and other cities in support of the jailed bloggers. Government agencies must be aware of his activities and deemed him anti-regime.

Whatever the reason and whoever the killers are, Avijit’s family deserve justice. If justice is not delivered the killers will be encouraged and impunity culture will take more life. Who knows who will be the next target?  

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About Nazmul