Bangladesh bloggers face threats after murders

Bloggers continue to receive death threats in wake of brutal killings of three secular bloggers this year.

Tribute to Bangladeshi bloggers in Kolkata
Three liberal bloggers have been killed this year in Bangladesh, the latest as recent as May 12 [AFP]

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Another Bangladeshi blogger has received a death threat as targeted killings of secular bloggers and personalities have left at least three dead in the past three months.

Ananya Azad told Al Jazeera on Thursday that unidentified suspects in a Facebook message had threatened to kill him and dump his body at a national monument.

Azad, whose father Humayun was attacked by members of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen organisation in 2004, said he would be killed in a “similar manner” in order to silence others like him.

“Since you are the son of the atheist chief, we are tense about you…we will kill you in a similar way, we will cut you to pieces,” the threat read.

Three liberal bloggers have been killed this year in Bangladesh, the latest as recent as May 12.

Atheist blogger, Ananta Bijoy Das, was hacked to death by unknown assailants in the Subid Bazar area of Sylhet city, 240km from the capital Dhaka, as he walked to work.

In March, two men were arrested on suspicion of murder after another activist, Waqishur Rahman, was killed in a similar manner in Dhaka.

Bangladesh blogger Ananya Azad in Dhaka [Mahmud Hossain Opu / Al Jazeera]Bangladesh blogger Ananya Azad in Dhaka [Mahmud Hossain Opu / Al Jazeera]

Avijit Roy, a US-Bangladeshi who was visiting the country to publicise his book criticising religion, was killed in February. Some of the suspects involved in Roy’s death had confessed that he was targeted for his online posts that they said were against Islam.

Both Das and Roy were mentioned in a hit-list published by hardline groups in 2013.

Azad said police were not doing enough to protect bloggers critical of religion given the recent series of killings.

“I was in a talk show on television the day after Das was killed where the chief of the detective branch of the Bangladesh Police, Monirul Islam, was also present. He knows about the threats I am receiving. So why would I tell them again?” Azad said.

Another blogger, Shubhajit Bhowmik, said he had been forced to change the topics he wrote about to end the threats. 

“Ever since 2008, when I began blogging on politics, social issues and faith, I was receiving threats. There were even times when my father was threatened,” Bhowmik said.

Al Jazeera tried to speak to country’s home ministry and the Dhaka Police Commissioner’s office, but they refused to make any comment.

Source: Al Jazeera