SITE Intelligence Group reported that the Ansar al-Islam, the Bangladesh branch of the al-Qaeda in Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS), claimed responsibility for the death of secular blogger Niloy Chakrabartu, who used the pen name Niloy Neel.
In a communique issued in Bengali and English, and posted on its Facebook and Twitter accounts on August 7, 2015, Ansar al-Islam declared the attack to be “vengeance” for the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, and vowed similar operations in the future against its enemies. The group threatened: “If your ‘Freedom of Speech’ maintains no limits, then widen your chests for ‘Freedom of our Machetes’”.
BDNews24 conveyed that an email allegedly sent from Mufti Abdullah Ashraf, the spokesman for the branch, to Bangladesh media also said that AQIS committed the murder.
Chakrabartu and three other secular bloggers were murdered in Bangladesh so far this year. AQIS took credit for the deaths of Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das. The Bangladesh police claimed they do not know if AQIS is connected. In May, the U.S. State Department could not confirm if the group slaughtered U.S. citizen Roy.
In September 2014, al-Qaeda announced new chapters in the Indian subcontinent. Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri pushed Muslims “wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty and to revive its caliphate.” Terrorism experts believe the expansion was “to compete with the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS),” who also desire a growth in the Indian subcontinent.
Despite all this evidence, the police have lashed out at the blogger community.
“Do not cross the limit. Do not hurt anyone’s religious belief,” exclaimed Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque.
Hoque also warned the bloggers “that hurting someone’s religious sentiment is a criminal offense.” But he also insisted the murder of Chakrabartu is a top priority for the police.
A mob hacked to death secular blogger Niloy Chakrabartu, who used the pen name Niloy Neel, on Friday in Bangladesh. He recently posted on Facebook that two strangers followed him after he attended a protest over Ananta Bijoy Das’s murder, the secular blogger murdered in May. He claimed the police “refused to register his complaint.”
“He was critical against religions and wrote against Islamist, Hindu, Christian and Buddhist fundamentalism,” stated Asif Mohiuddin, a blogger who survived an attack in 2013.
He also said Chakrabarti was an atheist.
A protest occurred at the Shahbagh Square after news spread about Chakrabarti’s murder.
“We’re protesting a culture of impunity in Bangladesh,” exclaimed Sarker. “One after another blogger is being killed and yet there is no action to stop these murderers.”