Leftist Publisher Shot Dead as Blogger Deaths Return to Haunt Bangladesh (Avani/news)
Over the past few years, Bangladesh has proven to be deadly for
bloggers and online activists. In the latest incident on June 11, after a
brief lull in the violence, unidentified assailants shot dead a
prominent writer and publisher in central Bangladeshʹs Munshiganj
Shahzahan Bachchu, 60, was the owner of Bishaka
Prokashoni, a publishing house that specialised in poetry, and the
acting editor of weekly Amader Bikrampur. His publishing house is based
in Dhakaʹs Banglabazar area.
According to the Dhaka Tribune,
Shahzahan had gone to meet friends at a pharmacy near his home in his
ancestral village of Kakaldi before Iftar, ʹwhen the assailants came
into the area. They blasted a crude bomb outside the pharmacy, creating
panic. They then dragged Shahzahan out and shot himʹ, a senior
superintendent of police was quoted as saying by the daily.
no group has claimed responsibility, the police has said that the
counter-terrorism department is investigating the murder as a possible
targeted attack by Islamist extremists.
Known to be a
free-thinking writer who encouraged creativity and healthy dissent,
Bachchu had previously received threats for his outspoken manner.
International Federation of Journalists has demanded that immediate
action be taken to arrest and punish those responsible for the murder.
Bellanger, the general secretary of IFJ said: ʹThe IFJ is deeply
saddened by the the cold-blooded murder of blogger and publisher
Shahjahan Bachchu. Such attacks on writers and publishers in full public
view have a chilling effect on freedom of expression are a stark
reminder of the lack of security for journalists and writers.ʹ
death is the latest in a string of murders that have shaken Bangladesh
and the international community. It began in February 2015, when atheist
writer and blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death as he was walking him
with his wife after attending a book fair in Dhaka. The very same year
in October, Royʹs publisher Faisal Arefin Deepan was also hacked to
death at his office in central Dhaka.
Earlier, on the very same
day that Deepan was killed, publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul was attacked in
the office of the Shudhdhoswar publishing house and seriously wounded.
Two writers were also wounded.
Then in April 2016, 28-year-old
Nazimuddin Samad was brutally killed in public view in the the crowded
Sutrapur area by militants chanting ʹAllahu Akbarʹ.
news today of Shahzahan Bachchuʹs murder is a grim reminder that the
severe threat to individuals who express dissident views in Bangladesh
remains unacceptably high,ʹ said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director of the
Free Expression at Risk Programme at PEN America.