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Machete Now Silences the Blues

August 9, 2015

Another Bangldeshi blogger was gruesomely murdered at his rented flat located on the Eastern fringes of  Dhaka. Niloy Chatterjee’s only fault was blogging, he was an NGO worker by profession and president of ‘‘Bangladesh Bigyan O Juktibadi Samiti’’, an association for rationalists. He used to write for many Bangla blogs including slain Avijit Roy founded Mukto-Mona under the pen-name “Niloy Neel” (Abode of Blue).

I have not read yet any of his writings or Facebook posts, so I could not say for which ‘sulfurous comments’ these ‘head and neck specialists’ actually demonstrated their ‘surgical skills’ on this poor blogger at the Friday noon when most of the Muslims were saying their weekend prayers. This is the 4th of such ‘surgical demonstrations’ they carried out this year in broad daylight. They inflicted 14 injuries, stemmed from repeated machete attacks, on his head and neck. The acts bear the hallmarks of perverts whose hearts are filled with hatred.

On Bangla blogosphere many bloggers wrote that Neel had been followed by some people on his way back home after attending a protest rally organized in commemoration of slain blogger Ananta Bijoy, whose cell phone containing identities of Mukto-Mona bloggers had also been taken away by the assailants. Neel, tracked by the killers searching the identities,  was one of these bloggers who blog under pseudonym.He tried to lodge a General Diary at a police Station. The officer-in-charge advised him to flee the country instead.

Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed the responsibility of the attack in a statement sent to media outlets. Earlier attacks had also been claimed by Ansarullah Bangla Team, an offshoot of al-Qaeda, through multiple twitter accounts. Their authenticity has not been proved yet.

Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden considers the act of al-Qaeda as elitist one and  that of ISIS as populist one. He expressed the views in an interview with Fareed Zakaria following the beheading of a guard in an industrial installation in France.

What I construe from his views is that al-Qaeda likes to stage terror acts that are unthinkable, very big in nature, and leave the highest level feeling of shock-and-awe that sends a chill down one’s spine.  The 9/11 attack, London tube rail bombing, killing of Daniel Pearl and attack on USS Cole are the acts of an elite terror organization. On the other hand, ISIS and like-minded organizations’ terror conducts are large scale in nature and aim to flex muscle and to gain popularity and support from people sharing their ideology. Public beheading in Iraqi beaches, abduction of school girls by Boko Haram and the attack on Charlie Hebdo could be cited as examples.

Murders of bloggers here not seem to be the acts of an elite terror organization as per the views by Gen Hayden. Butchered bloggers were not some high profile academics or investigative reporters like Humayun Azad and Daniel Pearl.

Moreover, the murder took place at a moment when incumbent party’s popularity is plunging and apex body of minority communities pointed finger at ruling party leaders and activists for appropriating their property.

AL always boasts that it is the only political force capable of fighting religious extremism. Nevertheless, all the major terror acts took place in this country benefitted AL at the time when it was politically vulnerable.

On August 7, the day the murder of Niloy took place, a BJP spokesperson and a high profile leader of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) attended a seminar at Ramna Kali Temple. Amid fresh allegations against AL for its anti-Hindu stance, Neel’s murder just renewed the importance of AL as anti-religious extremist force to BJP and VHP representatives.

However, its fight against extremism is only limited to rhetoric. Had it been a formidable force against extremism, its interests and high profile public figures would have been targeted by the fundamentalists. It was not the case. In reality, it has cut some sort of deal with the extremists. In fact, their financial institutions have swollen since AL came to power.

It has already installed a firm grip of control over media houses through repressive laws and ownership. So, critical views about government policies and investigative reports on its corruption do not get across at wider section of the people.

Bloggers often lay bare this unholy alliance and wrongdoings. By doing so, they eventually incur the wrath of ruling regime. Upsurge of serial killing of bloggers will intimidate them and will make them quiet about government wrongdoings.

Like its eagerness to try the culprits of recent petrol bomb campaign, government is less interested to bring the killers of bloggers to the book. It fears such step could dub it ‘government for the atheist’.

At the same time, as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, it seems the Jawahiri video message, whose authenticity has not been confirmed yet, and the blogger killings may be used to stop the Islamists rallying behind the opposition block and stirring trouble into the streets.

We do not know when the barbarous machete will cease quenching its thirst for Spartan bloggers’ blood. We do not to know when the blues of mundane life of another blogger will be silenced. We do not know the identities of these shadowy ‘surgeons’. But we know that on August the 7th at that Goran flat, religion of peace was once again attacked and humiliated. This was done in deliberation to turn abode of blues into an abode of war.

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From → Analysis

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