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Another Bangladeshi Blogger Hacked To Death For Secular Views

Ashamoni, wife of blogger Niloy Chakrabati, cries at her house in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Friday after her secular activist husband was hacked to death by suspected Islamist extremists.
A.M. Ahad AP
Ashamoni, wife of blogger Niloy Chakrabati, cries at her house in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Friday after her secular activist husband was hacked to death by suspected Islamist extremists.

Police and others carry the body of activist and blogger Niloy Chakrabati, aka Niloy Neel, downstairs after he was slain in his upstairs apartment.
Abir Abdullah EPA/Landov
Police and others carry the body of activist and blogger Niloy Chakrabati, aka Niloy Neel, downstairs after he was slain in his upstairs apartment.

Niloy Chakrabati, a Bangladeshi blogger who used the pen name Niloy Neel to criticize Muslim extremism, was hacked to death by a machete-wielding gang who broke into his apartment Friday. He is the fourth such social media activist to be killed in the South Asian country so far this year.

"They entered his room on the fifth floor and shoved his friend aside and then hacked him to death," Imran H. Sarker, head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Online Activist Network, or BOAN, tells Agence France-Presse.

"He was the voice against fundamentalism and extremism and was even a voice for minority rights — especially women's rights and the rights of indigenous people," he said.

According to The Associated Press: "Hours after the assault, Ansar-al-Islam, which intelligence officials believe is affiliated with al-Qaida on the Indian subcontinent, sent an email to media organizations claiming responsibility for the killing and calling the blogger an enemy of Allah. The authenticity of the email could not be independently confirmed."

Sarker tells the BBC that Chakrabati, Ananta Bijoy Das, Washiqur Rahman and Avijit Roy — all killed in the same way this year — had been on a list of 84 "atheist bloggers" drawn up and widely circulated by Islamic groups in 2013.

As we reported in February, Bangladeshi-born U.S. citizen Avijit Roy, described as a science writer and blog site moderator, was also hacked to death by a pair of attackers who assaulted him on a Dhaka street. The following month, 26-year-old Rahman was killed. In May, so was Das, 32. All were hacked to death by attackers in crimes in which Islamist groups subsequently claimed responsibility.

In the months before Chakrabati's death, his pleas for police protection went unheeded, according to The Guardian.

The Guardian reports:

"More than 150 writers, including Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Yann Martel and Colm Tóibín, signed a letter condemning the series of fatal attacks and calling on the country's government 'to ensure that the tragic events ... are not repeated'. "All of the victims had been active on social media, criticizing the extremist Muslim ideologies that have gained strength in Bangladesh in recent years or arguing in favour of progressive causes. On his Facebook account, Chakrabarti frequently wrote in favour of women's rights.

Officially, Bangladesh is secular, but 90 percent of the population identifies as Muslim.

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