A well-known secular blogger in Bangladesh who was murdered at his home on Friday had told police of threats against him and requested protection weeks before he died.
Niloy Chakrabarti, who used the pen name Niloy Neel, was hacked to death with machetes after a gang broke into his apartment in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. He is the fourth blogger to have been killed in Bangladesh since February.
In an interview with the Guardian in May, Chakrabarti said he was scared that he would be killed and that he had tried to file reports with local police about continued harassment. He claimed his complaints were not taken seriously.
Imran H Sarker, head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network, said Chakrabarti had been a “listed target”. “They entered his room on the fifth floor and shoved his friend aside and then hacked him to death,” Sarker told Agence France-Presse.
In a Facebook post on May 15 this year, Niloy Neel said he had been followed by two people two days ago while returning home after attending a protest programme demanding justice for the murder of blogger Ananta Bijoy Das.
When he went to the police station concerned, officials said the area was not under their jurisdiction, “…and leave the country as soon as possible,” Niloy wrote in the status.
“I was followed by two persons…they got on the same public bus with me. One of them even boarded the human haulier I was in. I was able to recognise him but thought that it was a coincidence.
“But later I saw that the person was sending text messages from his mobile phone frequently. It made me suspicious. Again that youth got down from the vehicle following me. Out of fear I took an unknown alleyway…looking behind I saw another youth joining him. But they did not come forward.
“It made me certain that I was being followed.”
Niloy then decided to file a general diary, but wrote that he had a weird experience at the police stations.
“First, a police officer told me personally that the police do not usually register such GDs since the officer who registers it will be accountable for ensuring security of the justice seeker. And if the person faces any problem, that police officer may even lose job for negligence in duties.”
All the police stations he visited refused to register the GD. “Officers at one of the stations said the place was not under their jurisdiction.
“ ‘Go to that police station … and leave the country as soon as possible,’ ” Niloy wrote in the Facebook status.
Reading the post, many of Niloy’s friends expressed worries about him. He, however, did not stop writing against militant activities, war criminals and Jamaat-e-Islami; on women and children rights, and other social issues.