Threatened for quite a long time, Blogger Ananta Bijoy was trying to leave Bangladesh for the last two months, Bijoy’s friend and colleague Asif Mohiuddin told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Ananta Bijoy, a banker by profession, was hacked dead in a machete attack this morning, the latest casualty in a series of barbaric assassinations of free thinkers, allegedly carried out by Islamist fundamentalists.
“I was helping Bijoy get out of the country for the last two months. I got his papers together and submitted them to some organisations in order to get him out.
“He was being threatened for a long time. He told me many times that he was on the [terrorists’] hit list and that he was still at home because of the threats. Some people attacked his house a few months ago. He was afraid and panicking. I told him not to leave his house, but he had to go to work,” said Mohiuddin, a scholar now in Germany who survived both a similar attempt on his life in 2013, and being jailed here in Dhaka.
“He was a very good friend and I am very upset,” he mourned.
Asif then expressed his opinions on the series attacks on online activists, thinly veiling a hint that government could be supporting the fundamentalists by being reluctant to act: “Maybe they don’t care, or maybe they are afraid of them[fundamentalists]. I don’t know. But after the death of Avijit Roy, the prime minister spoke to his father Ajay Roy. This was never mentioned in the media. It was a secret call to apologise; our prime minister thinks that her support for atheists would project a bad image for her party.
“Our leaders don’t want to be seen as supporters of secularists or atheists. They want to show that they are very Islamic; this is why fundamentalists have the courage to kill bloggers,” he concluded.
He then revisited the attack he survived: “When they attacked me, it lasted barely 30 seconds, but I was badly injured in that short time. Avijit Roy’s wife told me that their attack lasted a minute at most. Before people around the victims could react, the murderers made away.”
“The killers, usually from Ansar-ul-Bangla [linked to al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent], have a strong base in Bangladesh. They operate through ‘sleeping cells’ that react occasionally or stays in hiding otherwise. Imams of the mosques in Bangladesh belong to the Ansar-ul-Bangla, but the men who actually execute the killings know nothing about al-Qaeda.”
Source: Dhaka Tribune