Bangladesh’s spate of blogger killings is a cause for concern
In 2013, “Islamist” groups in Bangladesh circulated the names of 84 “atheist” bloggers in that country who they wanted to be tried for blasphemy.
Niladri Chattopadhyay Niloy, who was brutally killed at his home in Dhaka on Friday, was the fourth blogger on that list to suffer this fate.
All four killings have taken place this year and the masterminds remain unidentified.
Unless something drastic is done to check the trend, a large number of people in Bangladesh remain exposed to what has the look of a wellcoordinated effort to silence those who have been deemed guilty of crossing the line while expressing their opinion.
Many at home and away accuse the Bangladesh government of not realizing just how serious the situation is.
Niloy had complained to the police that he had received threats but media reports say he had got no protection.
Apparently his killers didn’t have to spend too much time planning their act, either.
They approached his house posing as potential tenants, took him to a room, completed the hideous job, and disappeared.
Viewed against the background of the global protest the earlier incidents in which bloggers had been killed had caused, and given the promises made by Dhaka to stand by its avowed secular ideals, this was far too easy an execution of a desire to exterminate the unwanted.
There would be some cautious voices counseling restraint on the part of the bloggers but these must be overwhelmed by the ultimate argument: everything that is said can be countered by words wherever necessary. Violence is less equipped to control thoughts and opinion today than it ever was. There are so many convenient tools of expression available in the era of technology.
Blog-spots are one option that a growing number employ as a very personal means to inform and comment.
They are too numerous and too firmly rooted in modern society. Debate might defeat them. Violence cannot attempt to silence them. This is an editorial published by Dawn on Aug. 10.