“Dear Government, please be vigilant. The way law and order is deteriorating, you will not be able to stay in power for long. There is something called peoples anger. If you don’t want to see such end, take immediate actions against all the wrongdoing and injustice that is going on. Otherwise your time will end soon”.
These are the last words Bangladeshi student activist and freethinker Nazimuddin Samad wrote in his Facebook wall. The words reflect the frustration of young Bangladeshi activists in this time effected by the persistent culture of impunity and injustice in the country. He witnessed how free thinkers, bloggers, writers and publishers around him were attacked and killed over the last couple of years. After each attack, he and his likeminded friends demanded justice. But their demands went unheard.
Over the last weeks he was whole heartedly active in a nationwide anti rape movement asking for investigation and justice for a 19-year-old girl named Sohagi Jahan Tonu who was raped and murdered in a cantonment area. This heinous crime resulted in a nationwide up rise of youth, yet the Government failed to undertake meaningful action, supposedly for the sensitiveness of the issue. And right after the rape case police shot dead 6 villagers who were protesting against a coal power plant being built on their land.
Continuing his demand for justice he made his last Facebook post. On Wednesday the 7th of April 2016 he was hacked with machete and shot dead by unknown assailants shouting Allahu Akbar (God is great). Is he yet another victim of the Islamist extremists?
Since 2013, seven Bangladeshi bloggers, writers and publishers have been killed by extremists. They were branded atheist by their murderers and by Islamists. A culture of impunity persists, resulting in more killings every few months. Other than these, people with different religious beliefs and non-beliefs are regularly targeted facing harassment, arrests, mob justice and murder.
Like Nazimuddin Samad, the victims of the attacks are not people who are specifically critical or insulting about religion. They are people who are socially and politically conscious and vocal against many forms of injustice. They are thousands of frustrated young people, asking for justice, living in a country that fails to protect them.
His attackers made sure that Nazimuddin Samad can no longer demand for justice. But his pledge continues and therefore we ‘Bangladeshi Freethinkers at Risk’ demand justice for Nazimuddin Samad, We demand justice for Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, Ananta Bejoy, NiloyNeel, Faisal ArifinDipan. We demand justice for Sohagi Jahan Tonu. We demand justice for the six villagers that were killed in Bashkhali. We demand justice for all the victims of intolerance. We demand justice!