7 Aug 2015

Bangladesh blogger Niloy Chatterjee hacked to death

Bangladeshi blogger Niloy Chatterjee becomes the fourth critic of religious extremism to be killed in less than six months after being attacked with machetes.

Forty-year-old Chatterjee, who used the pen name Niloy Neel and was in favour of secularism in majority Muslim Bangladesh, was killed in his flat in the capital Dhaka.

Imran Sarker, head of a network of activists and bloggers, said: “We are speechless. He was demanding justice for the killing of other bloggers. Who will be next for demanding justice for Niloy?”

Chatterjee was one of hundreds of bloggers demanding the death penalty for Islamist leaders accused of atrocities in Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened an inquiry into war crimes in 2010. A tribunal has since convicted several senior leaders of an Islamist party, who opposed the split, of various crimes.

Writers targeted

Militants have targeted secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years, while the government has tried to crack down on hardline Islamist groups seeking to make Bangladesh a sharia-based state.

Since February, three other bloggers, Ananta Bijoy Das, Washiqur Rahman and Avijit Roy, have been killed by machete-wielding attackers.

In May, the Indian-born head of al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent, claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Bangladesh and Pakistan, including the death of Roy.