Another Bangladeshi blogger who wrote about the perils of religious extremism was killed on Friday, the fourth this year in the Muslim-majority country.
Unidentified attackers forced Niloy Neel’s wife and sister-in-law into an adjoining room before hacking him to death, sub-inspector of police Mohammad Khairuzzaman said by phone. The others weren’t harmed.
“There is little doubt that these especially brutal killings are designed to sow fear and to have a chilling effect on free speech,” David Griffiths, South Asia research director at Amnesty International, said in an e-mail. “This is unacceptable.”
Neel, 40, had participated in a 2013 demonstration calling for the death penalty for those convicted for war crimes, Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network head Imran H. Sarkar said by phone.
More than a dozen people have been sentenced to death since 2010 for mass killings, abduction, rape and torture during Bangladesh’s struggle for freedom from Pakistan in 1971. Three million people died when Pakistan’s military leader Yahya Khan cracked down on an uprising for autonomy, which culminated in war when India sent in its troops.
Neel’s killing is the fourth since Feb. 26, when blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death. He was followed by Washiqur Rahman in March and Ananta Bijoy Das in May.
“What was already a human rights crisis has now spun entirely out of control,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president of the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York. “It is now long overdue for the government of Bangladesh to take seriously its moral responsibility to protect the lives of its people.” Lindsay’s organization promotes secularism and freedom of expression.