Earlier this week, a young blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was hacked to death outside his Dhaka home. This is the third such attack— gruesome butcherings by machete—in the past two years, and all three have targeted “atheist bloggers.” With a third murder, we can no longer see these as purely isolated incidents; rather, they now form a chilling pattern.
This development stuns us because Bangladesh has not suffered from the acute terrorism problem tearing Pakistan apart. Until 1971, they were the same country; following Bangladesh’s independence, the two have taken notably divergent trajectories. Dhaka has done well in recent years cracking down on terrorist groups, and has been able to focus its attentions on economic growth and human development needs. In a society that has long been noted for its tolerance—the country is routinely described as “moderate”—the idea that radicals would murder writers because of their ideas comes as a shock.
In Huffington Post India, I explain why these murders—effectively ideological assassinations—go against the idea of Bangladesh. For more, read the article: Murdering the Idea of Bangladesh.
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