Killing of Blogger Niloy: Is Bangladesh Government to Blame?

The murder of blogger Niloy needs to garner attention in light of the the continuing cycle of violence in Bangladesh

Killing of Blogger Niloy: Is Bangladesh Government to Blame?

Mohammad Hossain – Bangladesh

A media furor has resulted from the murder of Bangladeshi secular blogger Niloy Neel on the 7th of August in what many describe as a grisly murder. The murder has been condemned by the US, UN, EU and all human rights groups, who have demanded immediate investigation and prosecution of those behind the attacks. In the meantime, the issue of blogger Niloy’s murder comes at a crucial time when a widespread deterioration in law and order is being observed in the Bangladeshi society, mainly as government crackdown on any opposition is observed to have intensified. The past few weeks have seen Bangladesh in the headlines for a string of notorious child murders, the most discussed of which was the grisly murder of the child laborer Rajon in Sylhet, where the video shot by his torturers went viral on social media, eliciting widespread international outrage. Courtesy of the widespread media attention, it has become necessary to shed light on the circumstances of the latest blogger death and what it portends for the coming days in the socio-political sphere of the nation.

The murder of blogger Niloy needs to garner attention in light of the the continuing cycle of violence in Bangladesh. Some of the latest symptoms of the deteriorating law and order situation among many in Bangladesh include the widely publicized murder of child Rajan in Sylhet, the shooting of a mother and her unborn child in the womb in Magura during an incident of infighting between rival factions of ruling party student organization Chhatra League and the arrest of 119 pupils, most of them below 16 years of age, from a fresher reception in a madrassah by law enforcement agencies, on the still unverified claims that they were opposition activists. The murder of blogger Niloy only seems to be further proof of the fact that vested interests are trying to take advantage of this deteriorating law and order situation and inflame it further.

The murder of Niloy gained much more importance after an email was purported to be have been sent to the media in the aftermath of his brutal murder on Friday by a group calling itself Ansar-Al-Islam, the Bangladesh chapter of al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent, where it claimed responsibility for the killing. The email was issued by a Mufti Abdullah Ashraf, who claimed to be the spokesman of Ansar-Al-Islam. Seemingly corroborative with recent claims by US experts, Bangladesh police seem as confused as ever regarding the sender of the email and appear no near to nabbing anybody than they are regarding the previous murders of the other bloggers, including Avijeet Roy (killed on January 26th), Oasiqur Rahman Babu (killed March 30th) or Ananta Bijoy Das (killed May 12th), despite having shown stellar performance in nabbing online activists criticizing the premier Sheikh Hasina, or in rounding up and killing more than 100 opposition members ‘extrajudicially’ within six months. Taking past history and the above into account, experts like Taj Hashemi have surmised that it is more often than not ridiculous to claim that terrorist groups like al Qaeda, which are sophisticated in weaponry and crave more grandeur in their terror attacks than wielding meat cleavers to kill relatively inconsequent people such as the bloggers, to be behind such attacks.

But reason is far from the minds of those who thrive on the aura of hate incited by such horrendous incidents. Take for example the shocking case of the Indian website ‘Daily O’, which has been accused of

trying to incite Islamophobia and hatred in the wake of the murder of blogger Niloy. In an article originally titled 'Avijit, Washiqur, Ananta. Is Bangladesh becoming Pakistan?', the article which was posted on the 14th of May now bears the headline ‘Niloy, Avijit, Ananta. Is Bangladesh becoming Pakistan?’ Eyebrows have been raised as questions have been asked as to why or even when the headline was changed in an Indian news piece written less than three months before the murder of a blogger in Bangladesh. Either way, the message, a mixture of communal and Islamophobic incitement, being sent by the headline is clear, that ‘Islamic fundamentalists’ are behind the murder of ‘Hindu’ bloggers. Surprisingly, there has been absolutely no alarm regarding the recent statements by Awami League veteran Suranjit Sengupta in Dhaka regarding allegations of land grabbing belonging to minorities by 'influential ruling party men' from his own Awami League party, raising questions behind motives of numerous inherently Islamophobic media outlets such as the ‘Daily O’.

As many have pointed out, suspect is the fact that Bangladesh police had refused to give any protection for blogger Niloy when he asked for it, advising him to ‘leave the country’ instead, refusing to even receive his complaint. So was there anything the Indian news outlet ‘Daily O’ and the police knew that we don’t? Or is it that deaths such as Niloy’s are simply chess moves that are being used to turn away attention from serious issues in Bangladesh. Perhaps it is high time we give more credence to that extraordinary statement by the spokesperson of the pro-government Shahbag movement, Imran H Sarkar, who despite being a fierce supporter of the Bangladesh government, had the slip of tongue during a recent rally after one of the blogger murders, to allege that perhaps after all, government insiders could be behind the blogger murders.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ağustos 2015, 12:38