Academic murdered in Bangladesh in latest attack on free speech

  • A university professor in Bangladesh has been hacked to death in an assault police say bears the hallmarks of previous killings by Islamist militants of secular and atheist activists.
  • Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique was hacked to death by a gang of assailants in the city’s Shalbagan area around 7:40am Saturday.
  • Progressive Students Alliance, an umbrella platform of several student organisations, and the students of English Department, brought out a protest procession soon after the incident took place.

Bangladeshi professor Rezaul Karim Siddique taught at Rajshahi University. (Courtesy: Guardian)

The Guardian quotes a fellow English professor and friend of Siddique’s saying, describing an artistic man who played Tanpura, and wrote poems and short stories. “He used to lead a cultural group called Komol Gandhar and edit a biannual literary magazine with the same name. But he never wrote or spoke against religion in public”.

Police said that the killing bore all the hallmarks of recent attacks on atheist bloggers and activists. Students and teachers immediately protested the latest violence.

Eight members of banned Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team, including a senior cleric who is said to have founded the group, were convicted late last year for the murder of atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider in February 2013.


Image Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune.

Sources:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2016/apr/23/murder-prof-rezaul-karim-sparks-protest

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/23/bangladeshi-professor-hacked-to-death-rajshahi-islamists

http://iheu.org/academic-hacked-to-death-in-bangladesh/

Notes:

In August 2015 HSS Chief Executive Gordon MacRae joined a global coalition of human rights campaigners to sign an open letter calling on immediate action from the Prime Minister and President of Bangladesh: http://iheu.org/joint-open-letter-to-prime-minister-and-president-of-bangladesh/

In December 2015 HSS drew attention to a new report highlighting a rise in organised violent attacks on atheists and Humanists around the world: https://www.humanism.scot/what-we-do/news/persecution-against-the-non-religious-is-on-the-rise-freedom-of-thought-report-2015/

On 16 March 2016 HSS hosted a discussion panel on freedom of thought and expression, aimed in particular at exploring challenges to free speech in Bangladesh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVp7wEvSGro
(Bangladesh-based Humanist blogger Prithu Sanyal was due to attend this event, but his visa was rejected by the UK Visa and Immigration Service a few days before the event).

Earlier in April 2016 HSS strongly condemned the murder of Humanist law student Nazimuddin Samad in an attack by suspected Islamists: https://www.humanism.scot/what-we-do/news/humanist-society-scotland-strongly-condemns-murder-of-atheist-student-in-bangladesh/

About HSS:
Humanist Society Scotland seeks to represent the views of people in Scotland who wish to lead ethical and fulfilling lives guided by reason, empathy and compassion. We provide a range of non-religious ceremonies and campaign for a secular state. HSS has over 14,000 members across Scotland.

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