Guest Post: Sabbir Hossain
The plight of secular activists & writers ran from the very the beginning of Bangladesh. Poet Daud Haider had to leave Bangladesh due to the pressure from Islamists in 1974. In 1990’s feminist writer Taslima Nasreen left country to save her life from Islamists. Islamists demanded to the authority to arrest Freethinker Professor Ahmed Sharif in last decade of 20th century. Poet Shamshur Rahman was attacked at his home by Islamists in 1999. Non-conformist writer Professor Humayun Azad was hacked by islamists on the way to return from Bangla Academy Book Fair in 2004. Cartoonist Arifur Rahman had to leave the country due to threat of Islamists. Atheist & Secular Blogger Asif Mohiudddin was hacked & severely injured by Islamists in 13 January, 2013. Not only secular writers & activists, Islamists also attacked the progressive politicians & mass people. Islamists attempted to kill present PM of Bangladesh Sheik Hasina with grenade-attack in a public meeting at Bangabandhu Avenue in 2004. Islamists blasted bombs in 63 districts out of 64 at a time in 17 August, 2005. Islamist Student Political organisation ‘Shibir’ killed more than thousand student activists of Bangladesh Student Union, Bangladesh Student League & other progressive student organisations.
Islamists were never actually confronted by Authority; rather they were sponsored by autocratic regime of Zia & Ershad and democratically elected government of right-wing party BNP & islamist terrorist party Jamat during 1975-1995 & 2001-2006. At present, Islamist terrorism is fully sponsored by BNP-Jamat. There are several islamist terrorist groups are active in Bangladesh; such as Jamat-e-Islam, Islam-e-Chatra Shibir, Hefajat-e-Islam, Ansarullah Bangla Team, Jamayetul Mujahedin, Hamza Brigade, Hizbut Tahreer. The new & extreme wave of Islamists’ terrorism begun in Bangladesh after the Awami League Government took initiatives to try the war crimes of collaborators of Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. Almost all collaborators accused for war crimes were engaged in Islamist terrorism. People of Bangladesh is also demanding the trial and based on this demand, there begun a public movement called- Shahbagh Movement. Shahbagh Movement was organized by Secular Bloggers, Writers & Activists. To halt the trial, Islamist terrorists has started a series of attack against the Seculars. Blogger Razib Haider was hacked to death on 15 February, 2015 by Islamists. This was the begin of series killing spree by Islamists & the targets are Secular & Atheist Bloggers & Activists. Activist Jagatjati Talukdar was killed in Sylhet on 02 March , Activist Saniur Rahman was attacked & wounded in Dhaka on 09 March, BUET student & Activist Arif Raihan Dip was killed at BUET Campus on 09 April, another BUET Student & Activist Tonmoy Ahmed was attacked & severely wounded on 11 August in 2013. Next year in 2014, attack on seculars by Islamists was going on; Rahi & Ullash, two college students were beaten for their progressive views by Islamist organisation ‘Shibir’ on 30 March, Activist Rakib Mamun was attacked & severely injured on 24 June, Activist Ashraful Alam was killed in Savar on 30 September, Non-conformist Professor Dr. Shafiul Alam of Rajshahi University was killed on 16 November. Following year, the 2015 will be marked as the most bloody year for Secular & Atheists of Bangladesh; Lecturer Anjali Debi Chy was killed in Chittagong on 11 January, Science Writer, Freethinker & Founder of Mukto-Mona Dr. Avijit Roy was hacked to death in Bangla Academy Book Fair on 26 February, his wife freethinker writer Bonna Ahmed was also hacked & severely injured in that attack, Activist Washikur Babu was killed in Dhaka on 30 March, Science Writer Ananta Bijay Dash was killed in Sylhet on 12 May, Activist Nijoy Nil was killed at his home in Dhaka on 07 August, Secular Publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan of Jagroti Publication was killed at his office in Dhaka on 31 October, on the same day another secular publisher Tutul of Shudhashar Publication was hacked & injured along with Secular Blogger Ranadipam Basu & Poet Tareq Rahim. And most recently Activist Nazimuddin Samad was hacked & gunned down to death by Islamist in Dhaka on 06 April, 2016. After each & every attack on seculars & atheists, Islamists confirmed their liabilities & branded the victims as enemy of Islam and therefore, subject for killing.
The government of Bangladesh still doesn’t take any necessary actions to stop these fundamentalists. Rather, to ease the situation & Islamists, Government imposed & used Section-57 against secular & atheists bloggers, writers & activists. Several Ministers also made comments against Seculars. The situation is that- Govt. remains silent against Islamist terrorism but taking actions & blaming the seculars for their writings. Even police is unhelpful to the atheists. Therefore, Bangladesh becomes hell for Seculars & Atheists. To save life from attack of Islamist Terrorists, many seculars & atheists left country, many went underground & the sufferings of Seculars & Atheists goes on in Bangladesh.
So, what will be the future of Bangladesh?
It can be easily predicted that if this situation is going on & Islamists are not confronted by any means necessary by Authority, then the Bangladesh will become an heaven for Islamist terrorists, and as consequence, she may suffer as the same fate of Afghanistan, Pakistan & Nigeria. Authority should take the necessary steps before it’s too late. But still there is no message of hope from Authority & People, thus the torment of Seculars in Bangladesh is becoming unbearable.