Secular Bloggers Killed in Bangladesh

Lakshna Mehta

The Gist:

Blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was killed May 12 in Bangladesh, marking the third secular blogger killed there since February. Others killed were Avijit Roy, a U.S.-Bangladeshi citizen who was killed Feb. 26, and Oyasiqur Rahman, who was killed March 30.

Who’s behind the killings?

Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) group has claimed responsibility for the deaths of Roy and another blogger killed in 2013, Ahmed Rajib Haider.

Authorities arrested suspects in connection to each of the four cases, but none of the suspects have been convicted yet.

Why are bloggers being targeted?

In 2013, a group of bloggers led the Shahbag Movement, which called for the death of members of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic political party, for committing war crimes during the 1971 War of Independence.

Many Islamic groups in Bangladesh, including Jamaat-e-Islami, lashed out at the Shahbag Movement. These groups named 84 atheist bloggers, who opposed Islamic political influence, in a “hitlist” and demanded the Ministry of Home Affairs to punish the bloggers.

  • How is the Bangladeshi government reacting to the violence?
  • Why is Jamaat-e-Islami accused of war crimes?
  • Why do police suspect a different group of perpetrators?
  • Where does secularism come into play?

Get complete, concise, contextual coverage of the situation’s background in the full brief at

Brief contributed by Lakshna Mehta.