ANOTHER gruesome assassination of blogger and an organiser of local Gonojagoron Mancha, Ananta Bijoy Das in Sylhet illustrates that the systematic killing of free thinkers is still on the extremist agenda. The manner in which Das was killed points to a pattern similar to the killings of other bloggers – Rajib Haider in 2013, Avijit Roy this February and Oyasiqur Rahman Babu in March. Extremist group Ansarullah Bahini Team have claimed responsibility for the previous killings; Al Qaeda has also done the same regarding Avijit's murder though the video's authenticity is yet to be established. But it is evident that fanatics are behind the brutal murders of these bloggers, a frightening trend that seems to go on unabated.
In Avijit's case the lackadaisical attitude of the law enforcers in finding the killers and their seeming reluctance to push for the investigation to be carried out quickly is a cause for concern. Unless these cold blooded murderers are exposed and brought to book, the killings of individuals, whose opinions fanatics cannot tolerate, will not stop. Apathy from the authorities only serves to encourage fanatics and gives out the message that they can continue their diabolical operations to silence free voices with relative impunity.
There seems to be a sliver of hope in the fact that blogger Rajib Haider's murder case will be sent to a speedy trial tribunal. A quick, transparent disposal of this case may be seen as a precursor to proper investigation, arrest of the killers and trials for all the other cases including Ananta Bijoy Das's murder.