Yet another Bangladeshi blogger has been hacked to death, the third such murder since February. Annanta Bijoy Das, 32, was killed on May 12 as he left his home on his way to work at a bank. Four masked men attacked him, hacking him to death with cleavers and machetes, according to Sylhet police.
Das’ death comes on the heels of the March murder of Washiqur Rahman and the February slaying of Bangladesh-born American blogger Avijit Roy. Mr. Rahman was hacked to death by two men with knives and meat cleavers just outside his house in the capital of Dhaka. Mr. Roy was similarly killed with machetes and knives as he walked back from a book fair in Dhaka.
Das was an atheist who contributed to Mukot Mona or “Free Thinkers,” the blog founded by Mr. Roy. Bloggers on the site tend to be critical of Islamic fundamentalism and many champion reason and science.
In the last two years in Bangladesh, several bloggers have died, either murdered or died under mysterious circumstances. In 2014, Reporters Without Borders reported that a group known as Defenders of Islam in Bangladesh had published a hit list of writers it saw as opposing Islam. Nine on the list of 84 have already been killed and many others have been attacked.
According to Human Rights Watch Asia director Brad Adams, “This pattern of vicious attacks on secular and atheist writers, not only silences the victims but also sends a chilling message to all in Bangladesh who espouse independent views on religious issues.”
The United States condemns these attacks in the strongest terms. These are acts of cowardice: Real ideas do not require violence to defend them. We stand with the people of Bangladesh as they strive to protect the country’s proud tradition of free thought and discussion.