Bangladesh: Freedom and death

(From South Asian Intelligence Review)

By S. Binodkumar Singh
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

On May 12, 2015, Ananta Bijoy Das (32), a progressive writer, blogger, editor of science fiction magazine Jukti, and an organizer of Gonojagoron Mancha (People’s Resurgence Platform), was hacked to death, using machetes, by four assailants at Subidbazar Bankolapara residential area of Sylhet city, for writing against religious fundamentalism. Within hours of the murder, a Twitter username “Ansar Bangla 8”, an apparent reference to Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT, Volunteer of Allah Bangla Team), a militant outfit, expressed their delight and claimed responsibility for killing the blogger. The same page, Ansar Bangla 8, later Tweeted: “Al-Qaeda in Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS) is taking responsibility of killing Ananta Bijoy.” AQIS, in another message posted on declared: “We want to say to atheist bloggers! We don’t forget and we will not forget others who insult our beloved Prophet Muhammad and Allah. Another file closed! Stay tuned for next target.”

On the same day, Police Headquarters sent a letter to the Home Ministry suggesting a ban on ABT, citing its involvement in multiple attacks on secular bloggers and writers. If banned, ABT would be the sixth such organization to be outlawed for terrorist and anti-state activities in the country. The other five are: Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B), Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) and Shahadat-e Al-Hikma (SAH). Read more

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