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Why do Bangladeshi Bloggers Keep Getting Murdered?

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Niloy Neel became the fourth blogger this year to be murdered for his beliefs in Bangladesh. He was hacked to death by a machete wielding mob in his home the capital Dhaka.

Six attackers tricked their way into his house by saying they were looking to rent a flat. Deputy Police Commissioner Muntashirul Islam said “Two of them then took him to a room and then slaughtered him there.His wife was in the flat but she was confined to another room.”

Neel was from a Hindu rather than Muslim background, but was attacked because of his writings in favor of secularism and rationalism.

His name was on a list of 84 bloggers marked for death, compiled by an Islamist faction and circulated at the end of 2014. The other three bloggers who have been murdered were also listed there.

Before his murder, Niloy Neel had filed a police report warning authorities that he was being hunted, yet the report was not followed up and he was given no protection.

This fits the pattern of government inability or unwillingness to prevent the murders.

In the beginning of March Dr Avijit Roy, an American Bangladeshi blogger, was hacked to death in the middle of the street while visiting a book fair at Dhaka University. Although hundreds of people were nearby, police did not assist Dr. Roy or his wife, who was badly injured in the assault.

At the end of March secular blogger Washiqur Rahman was murdered just 500 yards from his house.

In May Ananta Bijoy Das was set upon and murdered while on his way to work in the city of Sylhet. Shortly before his murder he was denied asylum in Sweden.

According to the BBC, no-one has been charged in connection with any of the murders.

Clarion Project interviewed Bangladeshi blogger Monir Hussein, who is currently believed to have escaped Bangladesh. He spoke about the fears and difficulties he faced living on the run.  

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David Harris

David Harris is the editor in chief of Clarion Project.

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