Personally, I have received no threats in spite of writing some scathing articles, just some insults by those who think that everyone who disagrees with them must be evil. But there are many bloggers who are not so fortunate.
For instance, in the news today:
|Bangladeshi secular activists take part in a procession to protest against the |
killing of blogger Niloy Chakrabarti. PHOTO: AFP
A social activist, feminist and atheist writer, Haque rarely ventures outside her home in the capital and receives 24-hour police protection, fearful of being next on the list of machete-wielding attackers.
“I cannot close my eyes without having sleeping pills. Even the noise of the window shutters scares me,” the 22-year-old university student told AFP recently in Dhaka.
Bangladesh’s bloggers and secular activists have been in hiding or fled the country since the murders — including that of Niloy Chakrabarti, a vocal critic of Islamic fundamentalism, in his home in August.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s secular government has vowed to hunt down the killers, following international outrage and accusations it failed to stop the attacks, wary of a political backlash from extremists.
A string of arrests have been made, and police this week charged five militants of banned extremist outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team over the murder of Washiqur Rahman, the first blogger killed in January.
“At least 12 atheist bloggers have fled the country this year. And 70 bloggers have asked for assistance for migration as their lives are at stake,” said Berlin-based atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin.
Mohiuddin left Bangladesh after surviving a machete attack in 2013. Police have accused several of Mohiuddin’s attackers, who were released on bail, of later murdering Chakrabarti.
“I am not sure whether the government is sincere in protecting the bloggers. If that was the case, these murderers could have never got bail and continued their killing spree,” said Mohiuddin.
Extremists have long clashed with young secular activists whom they consider infidels for criticising Islam on social media, some of them under pen names.
But the gruesome killings have shaken many in Bangladesh which prides itself on being a mainly moderate Muslim country.
How 'moderate' is Bangladesh when the government is concerned about alienating the 'extremists'. It seems the 'extremists' may account for a large segment of the Bangladeshi population.