Condemning the murder of a fourth blogger in the last six months in Bangladesh, New York-based secularist group Center for Inquiry (CFI) yesterday demanded that the Bangladeshi government and the wider international community overcome their ambivalence toward the acts of terror and act decisively to protect people's rights to free expression.
"What was already a human rights crisis has not spun entirely out of control, and it is now long overdue for the government of Bangladesh to take seriously its moral responsibility to protect the lives of its people," said Ronald A Lindsay, president and CEO of CFI, in a statement.
"The rights to free expression and dissent must be protected and cherished, and these killings must be stopped now," he said.
The same statement quotes CFI's main representative to the United Nations, Michael De Dora, as saying, "These acts of terror, largely motivated by an absolute intolerance for any kind of religious dissent should mobilize the world community to end what is an outright challenge to civilization."
Secularist blogger Niladri Chattopadhyay, who discussed atheism and religion on Facebook and helped found the Bangladesh Rationalist Society, was hacked to death in his apartment in Dhaka yesterday, by Islamist militant suspects posing as prospective tenants.
Meanwhile, referring to the incidents of police declining to record a general diary by the slain blogger after he had received threats on his life, the faction of anti-war crimes platform Gonojagoron Mancha led by Imran H Sarker said the government had failed to protect the lives of the people, and its role was contradictory.
Addressing a protest rally at the capital's Shahbagh, Imran said, "The people who reproach the prime minister or ministers are arrested immediately. But no steps follow even if bloggers are being threatened openly in social media."
In a statement, the United National Awami Party (UNAP) said the killing reflected the failure of the government as well as the state.
Similar murders are recurring because the previous killers were not brought to book, it said.
The Bangladesh Online Activist Forum demanded exemplary punishment for the killers of Niladri, who wrote under the penname Niloy Neel.
In a statement, the platform said the assassins were encouraged by the silence and disunity of bloggers and delay in prosecution.