Avijit murder bears extremist hallmark

Citizens mourn the free-thinking blogger, Ansar Bangla-7 gleefully delights in the killing

Ganajagaran Mancha brings out a procession carrying torches in Dhaka  Friday evening protesting at the gruesome killing of  writer Avijit Roy. — New Age photo

People from different walks of life condemned the killing of writer and blogger Avijit Roy and said that communal forces and extremists had made free-thinking activists their targets time and again but the government had failed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
As police are yet to establish any clue and identity of the perpetrators, the protesters urged the government to immediately find out and arrest the killers and plotters and warned that the government would be held responsible if it failed to do so.
Physicians and police said that trained killers had used very sharp weapons in the attack on Avijit and his wife. Family members and police suspected that an Islamist radical group backed by Jamaat-e-Islami was behind the murder as Avijit had received death threats from the group several times before.
Armed assailants attacked Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born US citizen, also the founder of the popular blog, Mukto-Mona, and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya on Thursday night at the Teachers Students Centre on the Dhaka University campus after the couple came out of the Amar Ekushey book fair. They struck Avijit and his wife repeatedly with machetes before a dumbstruck crowd before leaving the spot. Avijit died after being taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Progressive Student Front, a combine of left leaning student organisations, called a general strike at Dhaka University for Monday in protest at the killing.
Ansar Bangla-7 believed to be an Islamist outfit, has claimed responsibility for killing Avijit Roy, the police said on Friday.
A twitter account in the name of Ansar Bangla-7 gleefully delighted in the murder of Avijit Roy as an ‘achievement’. A series of tweets since the murder described it as a punishment for Avijit’s ‘crime against Islam’.
Ajay Roy, father of Avijit, filed a case of murder with the Shahbagh police on Friday without naming anyone as suspects.  After lodging the FIR, Ajay Roy, a retired professor of Dhaka University, told reporters that his son was killed by extremist and communal groups backed by Jamaat adding that Avijit had received death threats several times for posting his views on blog. Jamaat-e-Islami protested at the statement of Ajoy Roy and demanded punishment of the killers.
The case was shifted to Detective Branch for interrogation, said officials.
DMP (DB south) deputy commissioner Krishnapada Roy said that the investigation was at the primary stage and the police were yet to find a significant clue.
Shahbagh police officer-in-charge Sirajul Islam said that the assailants had suddenly appeared on the spot and attacked the couple before leaving the spot in two minutes.
Quoting a witness, the police said that the two attackers, aged between 30 and35, were in white shirts and black coats.
Sirajul Islam said, ‘The nature of the attack suggests a fanatic group might have been behind the murder.’
He said that the attacks on writer Humayun Azad in 2004 and blogger Rajib Haider in 2013 were carried out in the same manner.
The blogger’s body was kept in the Dhaka Medical College Hospital mortuary. His wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya was undergoing treatment at Square Hospital, said the family.
Square Hospital’s associate consultant of neurosurgery, AM Rezaus Sattar said that Rafida’s condition was stable.
Family members said that Avijit’s body would be kept at Aparajeya Bangla on the Dhaka University campus for two hours from 10:00am on Sunday for mourners to have a glimpse and pay their last respect to the slain writer.
The body will be handed over to the Dhaka Medical College for research work.
DMCH forensic doctor Sohel Mahmud, who conducted the autopsy, said the attack by sharp weapons cut deep into Avijit’s brain and there were also marks of deep slashes his left shoulder.
Sohel said that the slashes were deep and half inches from each other which caused excessive bleeding.
Politicians, educationists, rights activists, publishers and bloggers on Friday urged the government to immediately find out and arrest the killers and put them on trial.
Several hundred people from different strata attended a protest rally under the banner of Protibadi Chhatra Shikkhak Nagorik at Raju Square on the DU campus.
The rally said that free-thinking people were under attack and urged all secular and progressive groups to build up resistance against the evil forces. It demanded exemplary punishment for Avijit’s killers.
Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim said that the fundamentalist and communal forces who had killed blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider and writer Humayun Azad, were behind the murder of blogger Avijit Roy.
Left politician Pankaj Bhattacharya, Ganasanghati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki, Bangladesh Liberation War Museum trustee Sarwar Ali, rights activists Khushi Kabir and Hamida Hossain, International Crimes Tribunal prosecutor Rana Dasgupta, cultural personality Kamal Lohani, DU teachers MM Akash, Anwar Hossain, Gitiara Nasreen, Kaberi Gayen, Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan and Robaet Ferdous, Dhaka University Teachers’ Association general secretary SM Masud Kamal, rights defender Rahnuma Ahmed, lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua, columnist Syed Abul Maksud, blogger Parvez Alam, Shrabon Publication’s Robin Ahsan and Shuddha Swar publication’s Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury also attended the rally.
Activists of Ganajagaran Mancha led by Imran H Sarkar have been staying in front of the National Museum since Friday morning vowing to continue the sit-in until Avijit’s killers were arrested.
Sampradayikata-Jangibad Birodhi Mancha coordinator professor Ajay Roy and joint-coordinator Ziauddin Tariq Ali, Sammilita Samajik Andolan chairperson Ajay Roy and general secretary Saleh Ahmed and Jatiya Mukti Council president Badruddin Umar and secretary Faizul Hakim condemned the killing in separate statements.
Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Trial of War Criminals of 1971 in a statement urged the government to ban all fundamentalist parties and terror groups.
Revolutionary Workers’ Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Juba Maitri, Bangladesh Online Activist Forum and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad also protested at the killing.
Sammilita Sangskritik Jote will hold a protest rally in the city today.
Threats were issued several times earlier to Avijit that he would meet the fate of Humayun Azad, a DU teacher who was stabbed by Islamist militants on the night of February 27, 2004 in a similar attack. Humayun recovered but later died of a heart attack in Germany.
The US embassy in Dhaka in a press statement said, ‘We offer our deepest condolences to Avijit Roy’s family and friends. The [embassy] officials are in contact with the family and are providing consular assistance.’
The Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh condemned the brutal assault and killing of blogger Avijit Roy and wounding of his wife. ‘The EU iterated its strong attachment to freedom of expression which constitutes an essential element of a democratic society and calls for a prompt investigation to bring perpetrators to justice.’

Source: New Age

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