Spectre of blogger killing continues

Publisher dead, three badly wounded in 2 daring attacks

Staff Correspondent
Faisal Arefin Dipan, Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, Ranadipam Basu, Tareq Rahim

Faisal Arefin Dipan, Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, Ranadipam Basu, Tareq Rahim

One secular blogger and publisher was hacked to death and three other bloggers injured at their workplaces in separate incidents in the capital’s Shahbagh and Lalmatia Saturday afternoon.
With the latest attacks on Saturday, at least five bloggers have been killed and four others injured alone this year in similar incidents since the killing of Bangladeshi-origin American blogger Avijit Roy and injury to his wife near Dhaka University on February 26.
The latest two incidents on Saturday took place after the police, last few months, have been claiming adequate measures have been taken for bloggers and many were given police protection.
The so-called Ansar Al Islam at about 9pm tweeted claiming responsibility for the killing and attack on secular bloggers.
Mufti Abdullah Ashraf, spokesperson of Ansar Al Islam which claimed to be the part of the Al Qaida Indian Subcontinent, also explained why the targeted attacks were carried out, according to the statement on the tweet. It also explained the ‘crimes’ of publishers and accused them of patronising ‘anti-Islamic’ writers.
Condemnations by different foreign missions in Dhaka and other local socio-cultural groups continued following the killing and attacks on free-thinkers.

Left, Ganajagaran Mancha brings out a procession in Dhaka on Saturday night in protest at the killing of a publisher and attacks on three others on the day while, right, relatives of slain owner of Jagriti Prokashony Faisal Arefin Dipan come to Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Saturday. — Sony Ramany

Left, Ganajagaran Mancha brings out a procession in Dhaka on Saturday night in protest at the killing of a publisher and attacks on three others on the day while, right, relatives of slain owner of Jagriti Prokashony Faisal Arefin Dipan come to Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Saturday. — Sony Ramany

On Saturday, the police found the body of Jagriti Prakashani publisher, Faisal Arefin Dipan, in a pool of blood at his office on the second floor of Aziz Super Market in the afternoon.
Forty-year-old Faisal was a blogger and publisher of the book of slain blogger Avijit Roy titled Biswasher Virus (Bengali for The Virus of Faith).
His father Abul Kashem Fazlul Haque, a Bangla professor of Dhaka University, told reporters at Aziz Super Market that he discovered the body of his son at his office some two and a half hours after he went out of the house without saying where he was heading.
‘After he did not respond to our repeated phone calls since 3:45pm, I went to his office and found light coming from inside…’ the father said, ‘I went his office again as his wife was worried following the  attack on three others [Lalmatia].’

The father said he along with few others opened the shutter of the office at about 5pm and found his son lying in a pool of blood on his back,’ Kashem said.
The police officials said the assailants split his throat.
‘The attack on three others at Lalmatia took place around a similar timeframe and both incidents are connected,’ said Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ramna crime division’s additional deputy commissioner Jashim Uddin.
Faisal’s father said he did not want any justice as ‘it is not unclear who is behind the killing.’
He said Faisal, a father of two with his physician wife Razia Rahman, was a close friend of slain blogger Avijit Roy. The family were living at Dhaka University campus.
Almost at a similar time, the unidentified attackers hacked Ahmed Rashid Tutul,40, another publisher of slain blogger Avijit Roy, along with two other writers and bloggers — Rono Dipam Basu, 52, and Tareq Rahim, 40—storming into the office of the publishing house at Lalmatia at about 2:30pm.
Rahim is a software engineer by profession but has earned a reputation for his poetry and blogs while blogger Rono Dipam Basu was an employee of Grameen Bank.
One of the witnesses, Wafikul Haque Shakti, told New Age that a man, aged about 40, knocked the door of the office at about 2:30pm and said he was here from Sylhet to buy some books.
‘As he entered into the office, a teenager also entered behind him with a rucksack. The teenager brought out a firearm and kept us at gun point,’ said Wafikul, a production assistant of a city-based publication house.
‘Soon after the two entered, a third man, probably also a teenager, joined them and the first and the third men stormed into the room and started stabbing at the victims. We could not see the whole episode,’ he said, adding, ‘as the armed man went into the room where they were attacking, I managed to escape.’
Wafikul said he managed the number of DMP’s Tejgaon division deputy commissioner Biplob Kumar Sarker and sent a text ‘please help us.’
Biplob Kumar told reporters said that he sent his team immediately.
After the brutal attack inside the office located on the third floor of the four-storey building, the police said the attackers locked the door of the office of Shuddhaswar publication. Shuddhaswar had published a number of books of Avijit Roy.
On information, a patrol team from nearby Mohammadpur police station led by subinspector Abdullah Al Mamun rushed to the building, broke the lock and sent the three, along with the two witnesses, to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
‘The attackers brought the lock they used when they left after the attack,’ Biplob said.
Neighbours said they heard screams coming out from the floor and one of the injured calling out for help.
Biplob Sarkar said the marks of injury indicated the attackers used ‘sharp weapons.’
The police investigators also recovered a cartridge and one ‘bullet’ from the crime scene, which is under examination by the Criminal Investigation Department.   Bloodstain was seen at the crime scene and also staircase through which the injured were taken to the police van.
‘We are not sure about the motive but are investigating into it,’ Biplob Kumar told reporters after visiting the crime scene.
But a number of the DMP’s detective and criminal intelligence division officials told New Age the attack is similar to the attacks that took place on other bloggers and writers.
‘They have used firearms only to scare people and for their personal safety,’ said a detective investigator.
A detective official took away a number of books from the publishing house as part of their investigation.
The DMCH physician Reaz Morshed said the conditions of Tutul, who was hit on his head, jaw and arm, and Tarek, who sustained bullet injuries on his abdomen beside hits from a sharp weapon, were critical while Rono was apparently was out of danger.
Mustafiz Shafi, a journalist and writer, said he received a call from Tutul’s phone where Russell was seeking help for rescue.
Mustafiz told New Age that Tutul had filed a general diary with Mohammadpur police station after assailants threatened him after the killing of Avijit Roy.
‘Policemen were deployed at the office of the publishing house for a few months though recently they stopped coming,’ said writer Shafi, who maintained close contact with publisher Tutul.
‘I am not sure about any GD since I came here recently,’ Mohammadpur police station officer-in-charge Jamal Uddin Mir told New Age.
The detective officials told New Age the manner and apparent motive of the murder of Faisal and the brutal attack on three others look similar to the killing of   Niloy Chakrabarti, who used the pen name Niloy Neel, in Dhaka on August 7,   Ananta Bijoy Das in Sylhet on May 12, Oyasiqur Rahman at Tejgaon on March 30, Avijit Roy near Dhaka University on February 26.
A similar attack had left Ahmed Haidar Rajib dead in February 2013 while many others, including Asif Mohiuddin, came under attack. Many secular bloggers left the country fearing attack.

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