Online activist killed over ‘anti-Islamic’ writings

Staff Correspondent
Locals catch two suspected killers of blogger Oyasiqur Rahman after they hacked him at Begunbari of Tejgaon in Dhaka and hand them over to police on Monday. — New Age photo

Locals catch two suspected killers of blogger Oyasiqur Rahman after they hacked him at Begunbari of Tejgaon in Dhaka and hand them over to police on Monday. — New Age photo

An online activist was hacked to death in the capital’s Tejgaon Industrial area on Monday morning for what the assailants claimed his ‘anti-religion’ and ‘anti-Islamic’ write-ups on social media.
Three assailants, all madrassah students, attacked him on his way to work and struck him repeatedly with machetes before a dumbstruck crowd of pedestrians leaving him dead on the spot. Locals captured two of the alleged killers and handed them over to police while a third fled the scene.
The deceased was identified as Oyasiqur Rahman Mishu, 27, a trainee employee at a travel agency at Motijheel in the capital.
Oyasiqur  had been writing on facebook as Oyasiqur Babu on various issues, including Islam, religion and atheism.
He was recently writing a series of satire titled Nastikder Katuktir Biruddhe Dat Bhanga Jawab (appropriate response to blasphemous remarks of atheists) on his facebook page, said his friends.
The online activist’s facebook page had several posts regarding Islam and atheism.
In a post on February 26, he wrote, ‘Death of a Thaba Baba (blogger Rajib Haider) had given birth to hundreds of Thaba Baba/ Death of an Avijit Roy will also give birth to hundreds of Avijit Roy. Writings will continue until the death of your beliefs. Down with Islam…’
Locals detained two alleged killers on the spot and handed them over to police.
The duo – Jikrullah, a student of Hathazari Madrassah in Chittagong and Ariful Islam, a student of Darul Ulum Madrassah at Mirpur in the capital – have primarily confessed to committing the murder, said Biplab Kumar Sarkar, deputy commissioner of DMP Tejgaon division.
Jikrulla told New Age in police custody that he was one of the three who had been involved in the killing. Someone named Masum had asked them to kill Oyasiqur as ‘he was writing against Islam and the Prophet(SM)’.
He said that they had not seen Oyasiqur before and were not aware of his write-ups. They just heard from their ‘senior’ that the person was writing against Islam, Allah and the Prophet(SM).
He said that Masum had given them three machetes on Sunday afternoon in Hatirjheel area and asked them to kill Oyasiqur showing them his photograph and giving them his address.
The grisly murder took place a month after US-based Bangladeshi writer and blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death in a similar attack by religious extremists in the TSC area on the Dhaka University campus on February 26.
Oyasiqur’s brother-in-law Helaluddin said that the online activist had lived with his father Tipu Sultan in a flat at Dakhin Bagun Bari in Tejgaon industrial area.
Locals said that Oyasiqur  was on his way to work when at about 9:00am three youths attacked and struck him in the face repeatedly with machetes.
The three tried to flee the spot after Oyasiqur fell on the ground unconscious.
Locals chased the assistants and caught two of them while the third whom his two accomplices identified as Abu Taher, fled the scene, the police said.
Police seized three machetes from the scene.
Tamanna Shetu, a friend of Oyasiqur , told New Age that she had been in touch with Oyasiqur  for last two years through facebook.
Oyasiqur used to write satires on his account against religious fanatics which might have led to the killing, the police said.
His friends said that Oyasiqur was also a member of a facebook group called ‘Atheist Bangladesh’, an online platform of atheists in the country.
Oyasiqur had joined Fareast Aviation, a travel agency, one year ago after taking a bachelor’s degree.
He came from Lakhmipur’s Ramganj upazila.
On February 26, freethinking blogger Avijit Roy, a US citizen and bioengineer by profession, was hacked to death at the heart of the Dhaka University campus. He was the founder of the blog ‘Muktamona’ (free-thinkers).
Police arrested an extremist blogger, Shafiur Rahman Farabi, over the murder, but were yet to crack any significant clues.
His wife and fellow blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonya was grievously injured in the attack.
Ahmed Rajib Haider, another blogger, was killed in 2013 when the Shahbagh movement was at its height campaigning for a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and death sentence to all the 1971 war criminals.
Evidence revealed that Islamist fundamentalists were linked to Haider’s murder.

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