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Mukta Mona Statement on the murder of writer and rationalist Niloy Neel in Bangladesh

7 August

Following the murders of Rajeeb Haider, Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahmna, and Ananta Bijoy Das, today, the Mukto-Mona writer, blogger, and activist Niloy Neel has been hacked to death. He wrote in Mutko-Mona as well as in Istishon, and Facebook under the name of “Niloy Neel” (twitter: #NiloyNeel). In addition to writing, Niloy Neel was involved in various social justice movements and was the founder of the Bangladesh Science and Rationalists Association.

Ansar Al Islam, the Bangladesh branch of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has claimed responsibility for murdering Niloy Neel in his own home, in front of his family, because of his writing. The fundamentalists continue in their tradition of responding to the pen with machetes; the government of Bangladesh continues to supply the fundamentalists with all that is necessary to keep their machetes honed. One by one the enlightened, the freethinking writers, and activists of Bangladesh, are being brutally murdered. Their only crime is taking a stand against injustice, and superstitions prevalent in society. A machete may kill, in a cowardly manner, a human being of flesh and bone; it cannot kill their ideology. Our fight will continue. With all our strength we will continue to speak our minds, our dreams. For as long as there is even a single member of the freethinking community alive; for as long as a single sentence written by freethinking writers survives.

Niloy Neel’s FB status regarding lack of safety:

“Two men were following me two days ago. This happened when I was on my way back from attending the rally organized to protest “The Murder of Ananta Bijoy Das.” First, when I reached a certain place via public bus, they came with me to the same spot. Then, when I got on to a Laguna to reach my destination, one of them climbed aboard the Laguna with me. On the Laguna I realized this was the same guy who was on the bus with me, but there were two of them then. I thought to myself, well, it’s possible; perhaps one of them was going somewhere else so he took a different route.

Until then it seemed as usual. But on the Laguna, the young man was continually texting from his cellphone which made me suspicious. When I exited the Laguna before I reached my actual destination, he got off with me. I was quite scared, and hurried into a unfamiliar alley. Later when I looked back, I noticed that another young man, who had also been on the bus, had joined this young man, and they had not followed me into the alley; they were waiting at the alley entrance. Then I was quite certain that I was being followed. Because even if their destination was the same, they reached their through separate routes, following me. I went farther into the alley, and took a rickshaw keeping the hood up, and traveled to my destination. I reached in apparent safety with the help of a friend nearby.
When I tried to lodge a General Diary about this incident, I faced an even more bizarre situation. A police officer had told me in confidence that the police do not want to accept General Diaries like this because the officer who accepted such a General Diary, related to the personal safety of an individual, remains accountable to ensure the personal safety of said individual. If the said individual faces any difficulty, then the relevant police officer may even lose his job for negligence in duty. This is what I saw when I visited the thanas to file a General Diary. When the surveillance on me had occurred, I had had to pass by several thanas, and so today when I visited one that had been in the vicinity, they refused to accept my General Diary. They told me this isn’t under our jurisdiction, go to this other thana, it’s their jurisdiction, and also, leave the country as soon as possible.”

On May 15, 2015, Niloy had been followed by some people when he was returning from participating in a protest rally for the murder of Ananta Bijoy Das. When he realized what was happening, he had gone to the police station to file a General Diary (GD). His GD was not accepted. He posted in detail about this incident on Facebook, where he expressed fear that his life was under threat. With his life he has proved that people who are atheists, non-religionists, secular, anti-fundamentalist, and pro-freedom-of-speech are not safe in Bangladesh; as if they have no other choice than to leave their country. They are not safe even in their own homes—Niloy Neel was murdered in his house. One man gained entrance to his house by pretending to be there to rent an apartment; then others entered, locked everyone in the house in one room, while hacking Niloy to death in the other. Niloy died right there; his blood spattered over all the books he loved, his computer.

The Mukto-Mona family will always remain by the side of Niloy Neel’s family. The pain of losing a child or a husband in this untimely and brutal manner is not to be forgotten. But know that there are thousands of us beside you—and we will be there forever. To send any information about Niloy Neel, and for Niloy’s family to contact Mukto-Mona for any support, please write to: [email protected]

Mutkto-Mona strongly condemns the continuing murders of writers, bloggers, and humanists. We call to the government of Bangladesh: Do not pander to fundamentalism anymore. Because no state has been spared by compromising with fundamentalists. Take immediate and effective steps to quell fundamentalism, and to create public awareness against it.

The above statement is reproduced here in solidarity with Mokta Mona

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