Bangladesh Publishers Targeted

BenarNews Staff
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Men carry the body of Bangladeshi publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan after he was attacked in his office in Dhaka, Oct. 31, 2015. [AFP]


Relatives of slain publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan react after seeing his body in Dhaka, Nov. 1, 2015. [AFP]


Faisal Arefin Dipan’s wife clings to his covered body in Dhaka, Nov. 1, 2015. [AFP]


A Bangladeshi policeman stands guard at the office where publisher Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, blogger Tareq Rahim and writer Ranadipam Basu were targeted in a separate attack in Dhaka, Oct. 31, 2015. [AFP]


Injured publisher Ahmedur Rashid Tutul is assisted by his wife as he sits at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Nov. 3, 2015. [AFP]


A banner bearing the picture of slain publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan hangs in front of closed shops at the Aziz Market in Dhaka, where he was slain inside his office, Nov. 2, 2015. [AFP]


Bangladeshi writers and bloggers set fire to their books during a protest in Dhaka against the killings of publishers and bloggers, Nov. 1, 2015. [AFP]


Cultural activists, writers and members of the Gonojagoron Moncho (Mass Awakening Platform) movement take part in a torchlight protest in Dhaka against the attacks on publishers and bloggers, Nov. 2, 2015. [AFP]


An activist helps carry a coffin during a protest in Dhaka calling for perpetrators of attacks on bloggers and publishers to be brought to justice, Nov. 5, 2015. [AFP]


Bangladeshi police block secular activists as they march with coffins in Dhaka, Nov. 5, 2015. [AFP]

Bangladesh is a South Asian nation with a secular constitution, but the year 2015 has proved so far that people who question religion risk losing their lives, especially if they dare voice atheistic opinions or challenge home-grown Islamic fundamentalists.

On Oct. 31, suspected Islamists carried out a pair of machete attacks in Dhaka that left one publisher dead, as well as another publisher, a blogger and a writer seriously wounded. The twin attacks targeted publishing houses that had printed the works of slain Bangladeshi-American secular blogger Avijit Roy.

Roy was one of four secular bloggers hacked to death with machetes this year alone, and one of five killed altogether since February 2013. Saturday’s attacks, which took the life of publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan, were the first in which publishers of secular literature were victimized in such a way.

They also took place amid growing concerns about Islamists wreaking havoc to law and order in Bangladesh. The latest attacks  followed the recent killings of two foreigners in separate shootings and a bombing of religious procession in Dhaka, which targeted members of the minority Shiite community. Two people died in that bombing.

The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for those attacks, as well as the killing of a policeman near Dhaka on Nov. 4, but the government has repeatedly rejected claims that IS operates in the country. Instead, the country’s home minister has pinned the blame on home-grown Islamist groups, saying that all of these attacks – including the ones targeting bloggers and publishers – are “inter-linked.”

The pictures that follow tell the story of the turmoil and public anger unleashed by the attacks on the publishers. BenarNews cautions readers that some of these images are graphic.


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