"When I write, I don't allow the fear of consequences to interfere with the writing process. I have in the past paid for my commitment to the truth and the way I live my life. I am prepared to pay more if I have to." -Taslima Nasrin- author
Ananta Bijoy Das was said to have received death threats from Islamist extremists shortly before his attack Tuesay, May 12th. Das, a Bangladeshi science writer was leaving his home when viciously hacked to death by assailants armed with machetes. The governments reaction in Bangladesh has been disturbingly indifferent. Citizens are furious and frustrated. Two young men were arrested for a previous hacking murder, seized by a crowd of onlookers instead of captured by police. Speaking out in Bangladesh has become more dangerous but the increasingly angry population understands silence is even more treacherous. The courageous men murdered were only guilty of honesty, bravery and the integrity to express their own views.
Das wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona, a progressive website written in Bengali and translated into English which allows freethinkers to contemplate science, humanism, rationalism and all subjects pertaining to human rights and freedom for the people of Bangladesh. Now the entire world is reading and listening. Mukto-Mona was once moderated by Bangladeshi-US citizen, Avijit Roy, himself tragically hacked to death in February of 2015.
Bangladesh is officially secular (or attitudes of no particular religious or spiritual bias). But citizens and critics alike agree the government is blatantly ignoring the rise of blogger murders. The attacks are not being investigated properly or punished.
Death threats against secular writers by hardline Islamists a few years ago, demanded a " blasphemy law " to stop bloggers they perceive to be anti-Islamic from expressing opinions about Islam. So far in addition to Das and Roy, in March of 2015 blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was hacked to death in the Bangladesh capitol of Dhaka.
In an article for Aljazeera, director at Human Rights Watch - Asia, Brad Adams stated:
"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 Bangladesh government needs to act swiftly to bring to justice those responsible for these brutal attacks, and to make clear public statements that attacking freedom of religion and expression will not be tolerated."
For more information regarding protecting human rights and freedom campaigns around the world please check out the Human Rights Watch website http://www.hrw.org/