By Press Trust of India
7 August 2015
Niloy Chakrabarty Neel
A 40-year-old secular Bangladeshi blogger was hacked to death at his flat on Friday by five machete-wielding unidentified assailants believed to be Islamist militants, the fourth such brutal murder in the country in less than six months.
Niloy Chakrabarty Neel was killed by assailants inside his fifth-floor flat at North Gorhan in the capital Dhaka.
The five assailants entered the flat after the Friday prayers, pushed his wife and one of his friends aside and then hacked him to death.
The murder sparked protests in the city.
“The assassins used machetes... it appears they hit him repeatedly until he was dead,” Mostafizur Rahman, officer in charge of the police station in the neighbourhood, told PTI.
He said Neel, an official of a nongovernment organisation, used to live in the apartment building along with his family members and was known for his secular write-ups in blogs.
He used the pen-name Niloy Neel.
The blogger recently received numerous threats for his writings and stance against radicalism, Bdnews quoted his close friends as saying.
He had removed all his photos from his Facebook page and used Kolkata as his current city he was living in after he had started getting the threats, it said.
One of Neel’s friends Suprity Dhar told PTI that he used to study in India and returned to Bangladesh a year ago.
The motive behind Neel's murder was not immediately clear and no one claimed responsibility for the death.
Police, however believe that an Islamist group behind the killing of three other bloggers this year could be responsible for the murder.
Neel was an activist of a platform — the Ganajagaran Mancha which waged a massive campaign for the capital punishment for war criminals who carried out atrocities siding with the Pakistani troops in 1971.
“Niloy was also a regular blogger...he was a target of the Islamists,” Imran H Sarker, the Ganajagaran Mancha spokesperson, said while adding that the attackers had entered the building posing as potential tenants.
Media reports said the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) joined the police in collecting evidence related to the incident.
Neel's murder is the fourth such brutal murder in the country.
Machete-wielding masked men in May hacked to death 33-year-old Ananta Bijoy Das, a secular blogger, in Sylhet city.
Assailants in February had killed 45-year old Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born US national, here while his wife narrowly escaped the attack.
A month after Roy's killing, blogger Washiqur Rahman was murdered in similar fashion in Dhaka but people in the neighbourhood nabbed two suspected killers and handed them over to police.
In May, terror group al- Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) had claimed responsibility for the killing of secular bloggers in Bangladesh whom it described as 'blasphemers'.
Radical group Ansar Bangla Team had also claimed responsibility for the deaths.
Two years ago, Mancha activist Ahmed Rajib Haider, another blogger, was hacked to death near his Mirpur home in Dhaka.
Police earlier said they suspected banned Ansarullah Bangla Team was involved in the murders of the secular bloggers in the recent months.
Several suspected operatives of the ABT were arrested after the group claimed responsibility for the murder of three bloggers.
Safe in Bangladesh Only If You Do Not Question Hardliners
By Taslima Nasreen
Niloy Neel's murder in Dhaka, the fourth in a row of intrepid bloggers, is yet another taint on Bangladesh’s dying conscience.
Any secular pretensions that the Awami League government might have had can be buried with Neel’s brutal death at the hands of the fundamentalists, whose whereabouts are not unknown to the Dhaka’s state and police.
No critic of fanatic Islam is safe in Bangladesh.
It’s not a question only having secular beliefs.
If you are privately secular but do not question what hardline Islamist groups, particularly the rabid Ansarullah Bangla Team, you will perhaps be okay.
But the moment you start voicing your opinion and in case they are critical of Islam, your life is in danger.
Both Hindus and Muslims are being targeted for speaking out but it seems Hindus are more in danger.
Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, Ananta Bijoy Das and now Niloy Neel — four men have been hacked to death for criticising Islam.
Also, many of the bloggers are not only secular, some also happen to be atheists.
It began with me, my writing, which questioned Islam at a fundamental level. 21 years ago, they issued a fatwa, tried their best to assassinate me.
But I was lucky to escape their persecution.
International organisations campaigned to safeguard my life.
Nevertheless, I have paid a huge price.
For two decades, I have not been able to go back.
Sheikh Hasina’s government is morally culpable.
I am squarely blaming the state for these massacres in instalment.
Its indifference and so-called inability to rein in the murderous Ansarullah brigade is solely predicated on the fear of being labelled atheists.
The Awami League’s secularism is only on paper.
It’s a sham, because it has done nothing to save these important and urgent voices of reason.
It’s pandering to the lowest of low among Islamist extremists, not arresting machete-wielding killers who roam around in broad daylight threatening anyone who contradicts their obscene, barbaric faith.
Tell me, who has been charged with these serial murders yet?
I heard two were arrested, but no charges have been pressed.
This, when the Ansarullah has openly flaunted the murders on social media. I, too, have been threatened by the bloodthirsty Ansarullah gang.
Most bloggers, whoever can afford it, are fleeing Bangladesh en masse.
Those who are left behind, like Niloy, are being assassinated.
I have heard that Niloy tried to lodge an FIR against Ansarullah, but the cops advised him to leave the country itself if he cherished his life.
I don’t know if Niloy would have eventually left or not, but he did not live to make that heartbreaking decision. (As told to Angshukanta Chakraborty)