Int'l condemnation pours in, students plan agitation on FridayMamunur Rashid
Intelligence agencies are trying to find the motive and nab the killers of Nazimuddin Samad, an organiser of the Ganajagaran Mancha, a group of campaigners and secular writers, who was murdered by machete-wielding attackers on Wednesday night in the city.
Samad, identified by police as a masters student at Jagannath University, is the sixth secular writer or publisher to have been murdered in Dhaka in the last 16 months. Police called the murder a pre-planned attack.
Unknown assailants hacked and shot dead Nazimuddin Samad, 27, an evening-batch Law student, at Ekrampur in Sutrapur at night.
"He was on his way back home from his evening classes when he was circled by a group of three to four people," Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Nurul Amin of the Dhaka Police, told the Daily Observer on Thursday. "First the attackers hacked Nazimuddin with machetes and then shot him dead." Police say the attackers then fled the scene on motorcycle. No arrests have yet been made.
Meanwhile our JnU correspondent said that the students of Jagannath University have announced ceaseless agitations in protest against the murder of a fellow student and online activists Nazimuddin. They declared the programme at a rally in front of the university in old Dhaka on Thursday, a day after Nazimuddin was murdered at Sutrapur.
Chhatra Union's university unit General Secretary SK Shuvo said, "General students will stage protest tomorrow (Friday) at 3:00pm at Shahbagh."
Imran Sarker, who leads a blogging and online network in Bangladesh, described Nazimuddin as a "very active secular activist." "He was very vocal on issues of religious fundamentalism, war crimes, minority issues, corruption and injustice against women," Sarker said. "He used to regularly post notes on Facebook expressing his views.
The United Nations renewed its call for the security authorities in Bangladesh to 'adequately protect' online activists who might be at risk.
In a statement, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Robert D Watkins said the UN in Bangladesh is appalled by the killing of Nazimuddin and condemned the brutal crime.
Besides, European Union Ambassador to Bangladesh Pierre Mayaudon has strongly condemned the killing of Nazimuddin. The UN also urged the security authorities to bring about a speedy closure to this most recent atrocity as well as to the other investigations underway.
Watkins laid emphasis on protecting the online activists adequately to ensure continued freedom of expression and opinion in the country as they are the foundations of a democratic society.
The UN has been raising its concerns about these incidents since the first killing three years ago and continues to call for thorough investigations to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice, Watkins said.
"In spite of the recent pause in the assassination of online activists, this attack demonstrates that this new killing is clearly part of a growing trend which undermines the freedom of expression and opinion in Bangladesh," he said.
The UN, Watkins said, recognises that the courts have delivered a verdict in the Rajib Haider murder case in January this year, two years after the killing.
In a statement, EU Ambassador Mayaudon from the EU Delegation to Bangladesh today reminded that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and emphasised the need for tolerance and respect for differing views.
He said the EU supports all efforts to ensure that citizens of Bangladesh may express their views freely and without fear.
Ambassador Mayaudon conveyed his condolences to the family of Nazimuddin and hoped that thorough investigation will bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.
Mukto Mona's founder, a US-based Bangladeshi writer named Avijit Roy, was murdered by machete wielding attackers outside an annual book fair in Dhaka in February 2015. Press freedoms groups have been sounding the alarm about the campaign of violence against writers in Bangladesh.
"Bangladesh has been ravaged by a spate of bloody attacks on bloggers and other writers who espouse secular viewpoints," said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director of Freedom of Expression Programmes at PEN America.
The group urged the US government and other countries to provide shelter to writers at risk of being attacked.