The Ansar al-Islam, the Bangladesh branch of the al-Qaeda in Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS), has claimed responsibility for the death of at least three secular writers hacked to death in the past year, including the murder this week of the editor of an LGBT magazine.
BDNews24 conveyed that an email allegedly sent from Mufti Abdullah Ashraf, the spokesman for the branch, to Bangladesh media said that AQIS committed the murder of Niladry Chattopadhya, a secular writer. His widow told The Guardian she lives in hiding. “I cannot lead a normal life. I am afraid of traveling alone,” explained Asha Mone. “Each new killing is only increasing the sense of fear.”
In August, she watched extreme Islamists butcher her husband Chattopadhya, also known as Niloy Neel, in their apartment. The men told the couple they wanted to rent a flat but attacked him when they entered the home. Officials told AFP that Mone “was confined to another room” where she screamed, “Save us!” but no one answered.
“We generally find our homes safe, but are we really safe?” she said.
Officials have arrested suspects for his death, but have made minimal progress in the investigation “in the killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider.”
“We are losing hope. I have no contact with the police or even any update of the case,” continued Mone. “The progressive minds are being suppressed with machetes and cleavers. Unless the government brings the perpetrators to book, these incidents will continue to happen.”
She added: “I feel guilty at times that I couldn’t protect him. But now I think I have to survive to seek justice.”
Three attackers have killed three more people in Bangladesh since these murders, including the editor of the country’s only LGBT magazine.
Xulhaz Mannan also worked at the U.S. embassy. A mob killed him and another man at a Dhaka flat, leaving one injured. At least five or six men arrived at the flat “posing as couriers.” They claimed to have a package for Mannan. When they entered, the men hacked Mannan and his friend Majumdar to death with machetes.
Al-Qaeda also took responsibility for these deaths. They went after these men because they saw them as “pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality.”
This news broke just a day after authorities apprehended a student in connection to the hacking death of an English professor.
“We haven’t arrested him or brought any charges against him yet,” explained Rajshahi police commissioner Mohammad Shamsuddin. “He is a suspect, and we’ve taken him to our custody for interrogation.”
English professor Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, worked at Rajshahi University. Someone attacked him from behind as he waited for a bus. The attacker stabbed him in the neck.
Earlier this month, men attacked and hacked to death liberal blogger Nazimuddin Samad with machetes after he left his law classes at Jagganath University. Samad often criticized religion on his Facebook page.