A group of attackers equipped with the weapon machete viciously attacked and took the life of 26-year-old secular writer Nazimuddin Samad.
Samad was one one in the long list of 84 atheist bloggers who were on the radar of radical Islamic groups for actively being against Islam on the Internet.
The list was submitted to Bangladesh’s interior ministry in 2013 by a group of radical Islamists asking for the writers to be punished for making remarks that belittled the religion and prophet Muhammad. The list was taken as a joke in the beginning, and few writers believed they were seriously in danger, but several writers have already been killed by radical Islamic groups.
“He was on his way back home from his evening classes when he was circled by a group of three to four people,” Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Nurul Amin of the Dhaka Police, said CNN.
“First the attackers hacked Samad with machetes, then shot him.”
Police say the attackers were quick to run off the scene on motorbikes. Police has not been able to make any arrests as of yet.
“At least four assailants hacked Nazimuddin Samad’s head with a machete on Wednesday night. As he fell down, one of them shot him with a pistol from close range. He died on the spot,” deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan police Syed Nurul Islam told AFP.
The incident follows the series of attacks which has been made to country’s bloggers and writers. Another secular writer Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed in the street by religious extremists. Only a month later, he was arrested and put behind the bars for making derogatory remarks about religion. His blog was banned permanently.
Asif later met his attackers in jail, and they told him, “You left Islam, you are not a Muslim, you criticized the Koran, we had to do this.”
Reporters Without Borders stated that Mohiuddin and others have “clearly” been targeted for their “opposition to religious extremism.”
The credentials of the list has been widely discussed in Bangladesh which has put fears into the minds of liberal Bangladesh writers and bloggers.
“Whether the list is credible or not, when people from the list are dying, the threats cannot be taken lightly,” said Shubhajit Bhowmik, a politics and social affairs writer who is also named on the document. “The threats are so frequent and so many that we no longer can count them.”
This includes blogger Ananya Azad who is no stranger to the wrath of Islamic extremists. The Bangladeshi blogger’s father, Humayun Azad was seriously injured after the by assailants with welding machines for his harsh criticism of Islam in his novel, Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad (Blessed Be the Sacred Land, the title of Pakistan’s national anthem) in 2003.
“People have told me to refrain from writing,” said 25-year-old Ananya, who quit his job as a newspaper columnist after Washiqur Rahman became the second blogger on the list to be killed, hacked to death in Dhaka in March. Ananya Das received death threats last week on Facebook. The message he received on Facebook read the following.
“You would be the next person. So be careful.”
Amid these death threats, Ananya has chosen not to write, but he is still continuing to give his views on social media to a closed community of people with similar thoughts.
In 2013-1 atheist blogger killed & 4 were arrested.— Ananya Azad (@Ananya_Azad) April 6, 2016
In 2015-4 atheist & one publisher were killed.
In 2016-1 atheist killed. #Bangladesh
Including Ananya, several other secular Bangladeshi writers are being targeted by fundamental Islamists. Their war against radicalism is not going unnoticed, hundreds and thousands of secular protesters have voiced their opinions against such acts in the country.
[Photo by TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images]