Bangladesh vows to ‘hunt down’ blog­ger’s killers

The China Post - - ASIA -

Dhaka vowed Satur­day to hunt down the killers of sec­u­lar blog­ger Niloy Chakrabarti who be­came the fourth such writer to be mur­dered in Bangladesh by sus­pected Is­lamist mil­i­tants this year.

Home Min­is­ter Asaduz­za­man Khan said the na­tion’s in­tel­li­gence agen­cies went straight to work af­ter a gang of ma­chete-armed at­tack­ers hacked the blog­ger to death at his home in the cap­i­tal on Fri­day.

“We hope we’ll catch the killers soon. They’ll be hunted down,” the min­is­ter told AFP, adding that the killers ap­peared to have been wellprepared for the as­sault.

Po­lice con­firmed Chakrabarti, 30, was mur­dered at his home in the cap­i­tal’s Go­ran neigh­bor­hood by a group of four peo­ple who had pre­tended to look for a place to rent.

Asha Moni, wife of the slain blog­ger, later told re­porters that one of the men at­tacked her hus­band shout­ing “Al­lahu Ak­bar (God is great­est).”

The Bangladesh branch of alQaida in the In­dian Sub­con­ti­nent (AQIS), An­sar al-Is­lam, claimed the mur­der and warned of more to come, ac­cord­ing to mon­i­tor­ing group SITE.

Chakrabarti is the fourth sec­u­lar blog­ger to be killed in the Mus­lim­ma­jor­ity na­tion since Fe­bru­ary, when Bangladeshi-born U.S. citizen Avi­jit Roy was hacked to death in Dhaka.

The latest killing sparked out­rage as hun­dreds of sec­u­lar ac­tivists joined protests, de­cry­ing a cul­ture of im­punity in the coun­try.

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional said the gov­ern­ment had to do more to stop “this spate of sav­age killings,” while the U.S. State Depart­ment con­demned it as a “cow­ardly mur­der.”

The home min­is­ter re­jected crit­i­cism that his gov­ern­ment was not do­ing enough for the safety of sec­u­lar writ­ers, adding that it was “try­ing” to pro­tect hun­dreds of them.

In a Face­book post on May 15, Chakrabarti said he had been fol­lowed by two men af­ter protest­ing the mur­der of another blog­ger, Ananta Bijoy Das, but po­lice re­fused to register his com­plaint and in­stead told him to leave the coun­try.

But Khan said the blog­ger “did not file any gen­eral di­ary (com­plaint with po­lice).”

Most sec­u­lar blog­gers have gone into hid­ing, of­ten us­ing pseu­do­nyms in their posts, and at least seven have fled abroad, ac­cord­ing to Canada-based athe­ist blog­ger Farid Ahmed, who has helped sev­eral of them.

Chakrabarti, who used the pen­name Niloy Neel, wrote against Is­lamic and other re­li­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism on a va­ri­ety of an­tire­li­gion web­sites and blogs.

Bangladesh is of­fi­cially a sec­u­lar coun­try, but more than 90 per­cent of its 160 mil­lion peo­ple are Mus­lim.

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