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Avijit Roy murder reflects filth, stench of Bangladeshi political, social environment: Osman Siddique

Roy was hacked to death on the streets of Dhaka.

By Raif Karerat

WASHINGTON, DC: Strong condemnation is pouring in over the brutal murder of Bangladeshi American secular blogger Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death by machetes on the streets of Dhaka by suspected religious fundamentalists. His wife, Rafida Ahmed, also a blogger, was also injured, and is in critical condition.

Osman Siddique, former U.S. diplomat and prominent Bangladeshi American, told The American Bazaar that the attack was “sickening”.

“This is very sickening. It truly reflects the filth and stench of the current Bangladeshi political and social environment. I’m at a loss for words,” said Siddique, who served as American ambassador in multiple countries, including the Republic of Fiji.

The Center for Inquiry, a US-based charity promoting science, reason, and humanist values, said it was “shocked and heartbroken” by the brutal murder of Roy.

“Dr. Roy was a true ally, a courageous and eloquent defender of reason, science, and free expression, in a country where those values have been under heavy attack,” it said in a statement.

Exiled writer Taslima Nasrin, who received death threats in the 1990s, and thereafter left Bangladesh, wrote on her blog: “Avijit Roy has been killed the way other free thinker writers were killed in Bangladesh. No free thinker is safe in Bangladesh.”

Roy, an American citizen, had founded a popular Bengali-language blog, Mukto-mona, or Free Mind, which featured articles on scientific reasoning and religion. He had received threats from Islamic hardliners who were opposed to his secular rhetoric.

Roy was murdered on Friday in Dhaka as he walked back from a book fair with his wife.

“He died as he was brought to the hospital. His wife was also seriously wounded. She has lost a finger,” local police chief Sirajul Islam told AFP.

According to the local media, the couple, who were scheduled to get back to the US next month after a vacation, were walking to a tea-side stall on the way back from the book fair. A group of assailants ambushed them and at least two of them attacked the couple with machetes, before dropping the weapons, and running away.

No arrests have been made but police say they are investigating a local Islamist group that publicly praised the murder.

A previously unknown militant group, Ansar Bangla 7, claimed responsibility for the attack, Assistant Police Commissioner S.M. Shibly Noman told the Prothom Alo newspaper.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protestors rallied in Dhaka to denounce the murder, chanting slogans including “we want justice” and “raise your voice against militants,” reported the Guardian.

Roy, who was 42, is the second Bangladeshi blogger to have been murdered in two years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since 2004. A similar fatal attack was done on atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider in 2013.

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