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Home > fundamentalism / shrinking secular space > Bangladesh: Secular humanist Avijit Roy hacked to death in Dhaka (...)

Bangladesh: Secular humanist Avijit Roy hacked to death in Dhaka -

Friday 27 February 2015, by siawi3

Statements and Reports


Dhaka Tribune 26 February 2015 (22:45 hrs)
Writer Avijit Roy hacked to death

DU Correspondent , DMCH Correspondent

His wife blogger Bonna also sustains severe injuries in the attack
Blogger and writer Avijit Roy has been killed and his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonna, severely injured when unidentified miscreants hacked them at TSC of Dhaka University on Thursday night.

Avijit, son of DU teacher Dr Ajay Roy and also the founder of Mukto-mona Blog, and his wife have been admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital in critical condition immediately after the attack.
Later, he died while undergoing treatment around 10:30pm, said Shahbagh police station OC Sirajul Islam.
Bonna told the Dhaka Tribune: “Two miscreants attacked us with cleaver near TSC intersection around 8:45pm.â€
Witnesses said some unidentified miscreants swooped on the bloggers and hacked them mercilessly between 8:30pm and 9pm while they were returning from the book fair, leaving them critically injured.
OC Sirajul said: “We do not have any clear idea about the attackers. But, the police is suspecting that those, who attacked Humayun Azad, might be behind this as the attacking style suggested similarity.â€
On February 27, 2004, professor Humayun Azad was attacked on the way back from book fair, in the following August he died in Germany.
Miscreants also exploded two crude bombs outside of the DMCH around 11:30pm, immediately after the news spread in the city.
A group of people have staged a protest in front of the DMCH, protesting the killing.
DU Proctor Amjad Ali said: “I came to know the writer had been receiving threats from militants because of his anti-communal activism.â€
Among the teachers of Dhaka University who rushed to Dhaka Medical College hospital hearing the news of the attack, were Professor Dr Abul Barkat, Professor Anwar Hossain.
Professor Anwar Hossain said those who are against the country’s liberation, democracy, free thoughts and attacked Humayun Azad, have perpetrated this.
Liton Nandi, Dhaka University Chhatra Union president, told the Dhaka Tribune they were set to bring a torch procession, protesting the attack and killing in a short time.
Dhaka University teacher Robayet Ferdous told the Dhaka Tribune that the teachers and student of Dhaka University will hold a rally at TSC in protest against the killing at 11am Friday.
Dhaka city unit Political Affairs Secretary of Students’ Federation Refat Salam told the Dhaka Tribune:“we will bring out a protest procession on DU campus around 11am Friday.”
Earlier in 2014, online bookstore stopped selling books by the well-known writer after an Islamic militant issued death threats on Facebook to the website’s owner.
The decision to withdraw his books was prompted by death threats posted to Facebook by Farabi Shafiur Rahman, an Islamist extremist allegedly linked to Jamaat-e-Islami.
Farabi accused Avijit of defaming Islam and the “prophet†Mohammed and accused chairman Mahmudul Hasan Sohag of “promoting atheism†by selling his books.
In his Facebook post, Farabi specified the office address of and called upon his “Islamist friends†in the adjacent locality to attack.
He also told Sohag that he would suffer the same fate as Ahmed Rajib Haider, a popular blogger known by the psuedonym Thaba Baba, who was hacked to death last year by machete-wielding Islamic militants.
Avijit, a Bangladesh-born engineer, who was living in the United States, rose to prominence with his books on philosophy, scientific thought and human rights issues.
Among his books are Biswas and Bigyan (Belief and Science), Abishwasher Darshan (philosophy of atheism), Samakamita: Baigyanik ebong Samajmanastattik Anusandhan (Homosexuality: Scientific and socio-psychological intervention), Satantra Bhabna o Buddir Mukti (individual thoughts and freedom of thoughts) etc.
Avijit and his wife came to Bangladesh to attend the book fair as two of his books came out in the fair.


Avijit murdered by extremists: Family
Staff correspondent,
Published: 2015-02-27


Dhaka Tribune, 15:49 february 27, 2015
Immediate arrest of Avijit killers demanded
DU Correspondent

Protesters have demanded immediate arrest of the killers of blogger and writer Avijit Roy.
People from social, cultural and political sphere, including different student organisations, DU teachers, journalists and writers, thronged on Raju Bhaskarja premises in Dhaka University around 11:15am on Friday to protest the killing.
They said the attack was aimed at the freedom of speech and democracy.
Talking about Humayun Azad, Rajib Haider and others who became prey of fundamentalism and militancy in similar attacks, the speakers termed the incident as an unacceptable failure of the government and the state.
The speakers said the incident saw yet another recurrence, only because none of the previous ones were tried.
Human rights activist Dr Hameeda Hossain said: “It is very frustrating that the policemen and people around the spot did not come forward to help Avijit and his wife during the incident.”
She also stressed the need of united resistance in order to avoid the repetition of such brutal attacks.
Journalist Kamal Lohani said: “Now the task for all of us is to raise resistance against these criminals, who had perpetrated the heinous act.
“It is a surprise how it could take place before the eye of the law enforcers when they had already boosted security in that area.â€
Professor Anwar Hossain said: “There must be a link between the ongoing anarchy in the name of BNP-Jamaat’s strike with the attack. The government can not avoid its responsibility as it has failed to try similar crimes before.â€
Professor MM Akash said the evil force is actively working against the free thinking and trying to subvert against the free thoughts which come through writings mainly.
Human rights activist Khushi Kabir said the masterminds behind such heinous killing want to resist free thinking, independence and democratic atmosphere.
“Using religion in the attempt of resisting free thinking would not be accepted,†she said.
Khushi questioned the responsibility of on-duty police who were reportedly seen inactive during the attack.
International Crime Tribunal Prosecute Rana Das Gupta said the on-duty policemen must be brought to book as they were careless.
He demanded exemplary and immediate punishment of the attackers.
DU Professor Robayet Ferdous urged for impartial investigation of the attack immediately.
Among others, DU professor Shafiul Alam Bhuayan, Junayed Saki and leaders of left-leaning student organisations including Chhatra Union, Chhatra Federation, Chhatra front were present.
Meanwhile, Gonojagoran Moncho activists also staged protest in front of the national museum in Shahbagh.
Imran H Sarkar said the nation lost another great child to the militants.
Unidentified miscreants hacked blogger and writer Avijit Roy to death and seriously injured his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonna at the TSC roundabout on Dhaka University campus on Thursday night.


Post by Taslima Nasreen on her Blog
Free thinker humanist Avijit Roy was killed by Islamic terrorists today.
Avijit Roy (42) was an engineer, science writer, blogger, atheist, feminist, humanist, freethinker, human rights activist, courageous defender of reason and free speech, and the founder of mukto-Mona blog site for Bengali free thinkers. He lived in the USA, but came to Bangladesh for a week or so to attend the inauguration of his new books at the national book fair in Dhaka. After the inauguration of his book tonight he and his wife left the book fair at around 9 pm.
And then when they were on their way to home and not far from the book fair, Islamic fanatics stopped their rickshaw, dragged them onto a sidewalk and hacked Avijit to death. The wife has been severely injured.
Avijit’s father Dr Ajoy Roy is a former professor of physics at the Dhaka university. He is also a writer and free thinker.
Avijit Roy was an extra ordinary talented person. He dedicated his life to enlighten people who live in the darkness of ignorance. I knew him for twenty years. I admired him so much. It is so painful to accept that he is no more. Bangladesh has become a secret ISIS land. Islamic terrorists can do whatever they like. They can kill people with no qualms whatsoever. Avijit Roy has been killed the way other free thinker writers were killed in Bangladesh. No freethinker is safe in Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi Islamists have been killing atheist and humanist bloggers and writers. » « My obituary
Taslima Nasreen
February 27, 2015

Humanists appalled at the murder of secular activist and writer Avijit Roy
[26 February 2015]

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is sickened and appalled to hear that secular blogger Avijit Roy has been murdered in Bangladesh a few hours ago.
“Abhijit Roy lives in America and so, it is not possible to kill him right now. He will be murdered when he comes back.â€
These were the words of an Islamist activist referring to Avijit (or Abhijit) Roy early last year. The man making the threat, who is well-known to the authorities, has repeatedly and openly talked about wanting to see secular and freethought writers dead, and those under threat have complained that authorities have ignored his threats and incitement, despite his credible links to Islamist extremists and similar murders taking place.
Tonight, IHEU joins with freethinkers and humanists from Bangladesh in calling for an end to this fatal appeasement of death threats by the authorities in Bangladesh.
Avijit Roy was a well-known writer, founder of the freethought blogging platform Mukto-Mona, which he described to IHEU as “an Internet congregation of freethinkers, rationalists, skeptics, atheists, and humanists of mainly Bengali and South Asian descent†. He had previously provided IHEU with analysis around the arrest and threats against “atheist bloggers†in Bangaldesh in 2013. [. . .].

Center for Inquiry Statement on the Murder of Dr. Avijit Roy, Bangladeshi Ally and Friend
February 26, 2015
* * * UPDATE: Read Dr. Roy’s final article for Free Inquiry, to be published in the upcoming April/May issue: “The Virus of Faith.†[PDF] * * *

We at the Center for Inquiry are shocked and heartbroken by the brutal murder of our friend Dr. Avijit Roy in Bangladesh, it is speculated at the hands of Islamic militants. Dr. Roy was a true ally, a courageous and eloquent defender of reason, science, and free expression, in a country where those values have been under heavy attack.
[Roy] Dr. Roy was the founder of the website Mukto-mona, an online network of freethinkers of mainly Bengali and South Asian descent, as well as the author of several books, and a contributor to our own magazine Free Inquiry and our Free Thinking blog. When seven Bangladeshi atheist bloggers were arrested in blasphemy in 2013, Dr. Roy worked closely with us to connect us with the bloggers and their families, focus the international community’s attention on the injustice, and help organize and promote protests around the world.
According to news reports, Dr. Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonna, also a freethought writer, were attacked while leaving a book fair at Dhaka University by several unidentified assailants, who witnesses say “hacked at them mercilessly.†Both were brought to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where Dr. Roy died, and Bonna is being treated for her severe injuries. Dr. Roy has long been at the receiving end of death threats, been publicly accused of “defaming Islam,†and violence against him has been encouraged by Islamic militants.
“I cannot overstate how great a loss this is,†said Michael De Dora, CFI’s chief UN representative and friend of Dr. Roy. “Avijit was brilliant, yes, and a devoted advocate of free expression and secularism, but also just a very good person. Avijit was an inspiration to countless other freethinkers, in Bangladesh and around the world, and he was an inspiration to me. I valued our friendship deeply, as I valued his contributions to our shared mission. I will miss him, and the global freethought community will feel the impact of his loss. His example will no doubt continue to shine.â€
The Center for Inquiry urges the authorities of Dhaka and Bangladesh to thoroughly investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice. While it is not known for certain what motivated this attack, surely this tragedy must spur a serious discussion among officials in Bangladesh about free expression, and the roots of the kind of violent extremism that would so brutally take away such a valued member of its society.
We extend our deepest condolences to Rafida Ahmed Bonna, and we sincerely hope she receives both justice and a quick and full recovery.

Read Dr. Roy’s Free Inquiry article, co-authored with his daughter Trisha Ahmed: “Freethought Under Attack in Bangladeshâ€

Read Dr. Roy’s guest post at our Free Thinking blog: “No Flag Large Enough to Cover the Shameâ€

Letter to the International Journal of Cardiology
by Avijit Roy