Dhaka Tribune - April 25, 2016
It doesn’t matter what they say
The government is failing to fulfill its duty to protect its citizens.
This is the main lesson that can be drawn from Saturday’s brutal murder of Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique in Rajshahi.
Fanatics are pursuing a single minded campaign to target secular writers and intellectuals for cold blooded murder in Bangladesh. And the government is failing to stop them.
It didn’t matter to Professor Siddique’s killers that his colleagues say he was not active in politics and was alert not to hurt religious sentiments. Or that his cousin says Professor Siddique donated to many mosques and madrassas.
What matters is that religious extremists claimed he was involved in “calling to atheism” and say that this gives justification for killers to act as judge, jury, and executioner.
Not only has the government failed to stop such killings or bring the perpetrators to justice, it has appeased their supporters by pointing fingers at victims and feeding the mind-set that people need to watch what they say and write, or suffer the consequences.
It doesn’t matter what the victim’s beliefs were. It does not matter what anyone says or writes. It is never acceptable to kill someone for his or her words.
It doesn’t matter what the victim’s killers claim as reasons to justify their actions.
What matters is that such fanatics are targeting individuals in Bangladesh to be slaughtered in public in cold blood. And they are acting with impunity.
They are murderers who need to be brought to justice.
It doesn’t matter whether they are from transnational terrorist groups like IS as they have claimed, or part of locally based militant networks, as the government argues.
Their aim is to create fear and hatred. They need to be stopped.
Appeasement will not stop such murders. The government must catch the killers and fulfill its duty to protect all citizens.
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The Independent (Bangladesh), 25 April, 2016
Deplorable killing of RU professor
The recent killings have sparked outrage at home and abroad, with national and international rights groups demanding that the ruling government to protect freedom of speech in Bangladesh
Deplorable killing of RU professor
The killing of Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique of Rajshahi University bore the hallmarks of previous serial killings of bloggers by Islamist militants. In a span of 12 years he is the fourth victim from the same university. We are horrified and condemn his murder. His killing is inexcusable and those responsible must be held into account.
Given the gruesome killings of our university professors over the past years they should have been provided with additional safety and security measures. That didn’t happen and also it hasn’t been confirmed whether the Islamic State (IS) is actively operating within our borders. Worth mentioning, the IS previously had also claimed responsibility for the killings of two foreigners, and attacks on mosques and Christian priests in Bangladesh happened since last September. But our law enforcement agencies have denied IS’s involvement and stated that local militant group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, was behind those attacks. If that unverified claim is true, who are the perpetrators claiming responsibilities under the banner of IS? And also how is Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen operating?
The gruesome killing on Saturday triggered grief and anger over government’s repeated failures to stop the killings of our academicians. Not only are our teachers architects of future generations but valuable national assets. Failing to protect teachers’ clearly indicates that the authorities have become powerless in the face of extremist onslaughts happening domestically.
The pattern of the slain professor’s killing may have been similar to that of many recent murders of bloggers and other secular activists, but we fail to comprehend why is the police is failing to stop such killings? Moreover, the rate of police failures to protect the citizens has reached an all time high and this is no longer tolerable.
Based on recent killings, there now is a growing concern among free thinkers as to whether it’s possible to express their beliefs any longer with the same freedom that they once had. Moreover, the recent killings have sparked outrage at home and abroad, with national and international rights groups demanding that the government should protect freedom of speech in Bangladesh. The country’s international image continues to be tarnished with growing radicalism which must be stopped without delay.
We expect the concerned authorities to launch an all-out effort to eliminate fanatics and killings in the name of distorted religious teachings. Let the last killing mark the end of all militant killings in Bangladesh.
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New Age (Bangladesh) - April 25, 2016
Time for govt to head off train of murders
THE murder of yet another teacher of the University of Rajshahi — with this being the fourth in 12 years — is gravely shocking. The teacher, AFM Rezaul Karim Siddiquee, of the university’s English department was hacked to death, on Saturday morning, soon after he had left home for work; and he was hacked in the neck from behind, as has been reported to be typical of the murder of bloggers, writers and publishers that have taken place in a series in recent times. While the latest murder of the teacher, along with the murder of three other teachers of the university in 2014, 2006 and 2004, are enough to create panic and fear among other teachers at the university — many now living in a fearful situation especially after 40 of them received death threats in about a year and a half of them filed general diaries in connection with the threats — this sufficiently points to the government’s failure in ensuring security for the citizens. This is more so in view of the growing number of people either being killed or coming to be wounded, grievously, at the hands of, as is reported, religious extremists.
Although the law enforcement agencies are yet to establish the motive behind the murder in question, the local police primarily suspect this to be an act carried out by religious extremists. The US-based SITE Intelligence, which claims to be monitoring terrorism, reported, in a tweet, the Middle East-based militant group Islamic State to be claiming the responsibility for the murder of the teacher for ‘calling to atheism.’ The government, but for mere rhetoric, appears to be lacking in approach that it needs to take — properly substantiated with well-meaning social awareness efforts against extremism of any kind and for tolerance and harmony — to head off such menace of religious extremism. Coupled with this, what seems to be instilling a sense of impunity in the killers is the absence of effective justice dispensation. While two of the cases of previous murders, which took place in 2006 and 2004, led to conviction through trial, even if, in imprisonment for life after the commutation of the death sentence in retrial, the investigation of the other case has only reached the submission of charge sheet by the law enforcers. Yet, a large number of cases of similar attacks, along with other cases with diverse nature and motive of the murder, not being properly investigated and not running to trial and conviction have only bolstered the impunity of the killers.
Under the circumstances, the government, without making further delay, must get down to stemming an all-out lawlessness that society has almost fallen into. The government, without sounding rhetoric, must step up efforts to try the cases at hand and others many of which are even pending investigation to break the culture of impunity that the killers have come to enjoy. The government, along with citizens, must also wage a social movement against extremism and intolerance of any kind, which have so far been the reason for many of the murders, before it becomes too late in ensuring safety and security of citizens.