In January 2009, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took office. The election results had created a controversy, with many in the opposition unhappy about the nature of these results. Though Hasina’s reign has been marked with relative ups and downs, the country did witness many important positives. However, Islamic extremism has once again reared its ugly head on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. A local Bangladeshi publisher, who had published the work of slain popular atheist blogger and writer, Avijit Roy, was hacked to death by a mob of unidentified Islamic extremists. In a central Dhaka locality, on the 3rd floor of his office, Faisal Dipan, a 43-year-old man was killed. The local publisher was killed very near the spot where demonstrators were demanding capital punishment for the Jamat-e Islami leaders and other rabid fundamentalists, who had collaborated with the Pakistani troops during Bangladesh’s war of liberation Bangladesh in 1971. Muntasirul Islam, spokesperson of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police spoke to the media stating that Dipan died after suffering from multiple stab injuries. Dipan’s father, Abul Kashem Fazlul Haq, a well-known writer himself confirmed to the media that he was shocked to come into the office and find his son lying in a pool of blood. However, Dipan was not the sole victim of such a vicious assault. On the same day, a mob attacked a bunch of secular writers and another publisher of US national Roy’s books, leaving one of them extremely critical.
Bangladesh has been shaken by a series of attacks this year for which Islamic extremists have claimed responsibility, including the blogger murders and, more recently, the killing of two foreigners – an Italian aid worker and a Japanese agricultural worker. On October 24, there were a number of bomb attacks spread across the country, causing the death of a teenage boy from Dhaka along with brutal injuries to more than 100 others. There have been murmurs circulating the media that these attacks were conducted with the support of the Al-Qaeda. The terrorist organisation was apparently extremely upset with the anti-Islamic behaviour of Bangladeshi nationals. Such an attack, they argue, was punishment.
The pattern has now become of radical importance as it is now that three atheist writers and bloggers have been attacked one after the other. In spite of these attacks, the Hasina-led Government has surprisingly not been able to bring the guilty to book. The attackers are far from being identified and there does not seem to be any plan that has been brought forth by the authorities. Local police chief, Jamal Uddin Meer in order to justify their dedication and sense of protection made the most outrageous statement. He addressed the media stating that the police have been extremely responsible as they have successfully released a number of writers who were assaulted as the extremist groups had a pattern of locking them up after the assault. Things just seem to enter a dark phase where security has now gone for a toss. It’ll be interesting to see how neighbouring nations especially India react to these attacks and how Hasina really seeks to counter them.