Dhaka: With the recent killings of three secular bloggers in Bangladesh by fundamentalists, the country's intellectuals here are suspecting Pakistan's hand behind the brutal attacks and feel that an international intervention is required to ensure their safety.

"These attacks may be executed by radical elements here but the brain behind those attack is Pakistani establishment who have been vehemently opposing trials and sentences of war criminals," Imran H Sarkar, a leading blogger of the country and one of the main architects behind the 2013 Shahbag protests.

Bloggers, who have been constantly living under the threat of being killed by the fundamentalists feels that Bangladesh government should be more proactive in stopping the attacks on bloggers and intellectuals of Bangladesh.

"Those attacks on bloggers and threats to liberal minded intellectuals are a handiwork of Jamaat-e-Islami and other radical fundamentalist elements," Sarkar said.

In the last six months, three bloggers were brutally hacked to death for being vocal against religious fundamentalism and demanding severe punishment of the war criminals of 1971 Bangladesh Liberation war.

The brutal killings of bloggers started in February this year with the killing of American-Bangladeshi writer Avijit Roy, 42, in February followed by another blogger Washiqur Rahman, 27, in March and Ananta Bijay Das, 33, in May.

All of them were critical of the rise of fundamentalism and demanded severe punishment for the war criminals.

Several other bloggers and online activists too have been receiving threats.
"We all are living under a constant reign of fear that we might be killed any day. In order to infuse the sense of fear all the three have been killed so brutally. Because the fundamentalist and their handlers are very well aware of the power and the movement that bloggers and online activists can organise. The Shahbag movement has proved it. The bloggers are easy targets as they don't belong to any political party," Sarkar told PTI.

Sarkar's view was shared by another blogger and intellectual Kamal Pasa Chowdhury, who feels that attack on bloggers can only stop if there is an international intervention either by the US or UN to ensure safety and security of bloggers.

"We feel only an international intervention by the US or UN can ensure our safety and security. If they take it up with the Bangladeshi authorities to ensure full proof security, it will have an different impact and it will also infuse a sense of fear in the mind of attackers," Chowdhury said.

"Those who are attacking us are desperate to wipe off every sign of protests against them. The Bangladeshi government has arranged for our security but it's not enough. There are several bloggers who are yet to receive any kind of security," Sarkar said.

The views of the bloggers on a possible hand of Pakistan behind the attacks was shared by Bangladeshi Minister for Information and Broadcasting Hasanul Haq Inu who said the main suspected groups behind the attacks is Jamaat-e-Islami which has deep rooted connections in Pakistan.

"We too suspect a Pakistani hand behind it. Because the Jamat-e-Islami group working in Bangladesh is a basically a wing of the Jamat-e-Islami in Pakistan, they act on their orders," Inu told PTI over phone.

"The Jamaat-e-Islami is not only sympathetic towards war criminals but wants to turn our country into a haven for fundamentalist. We can't  allow to do that," Inu said.

The apprehension of Pakistani hand behind the attack got cemented after a resolution was adopted by the Pakistani parliament condemning execution of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla for his involvement in war crimes of 1971.

Inu also said that Bangladeshi government just like a special tribunal for war criminals is planning to constitute special tribunals for the trials of those arrested in connection with the killings of the bloggers.

"We are planning to constitute a special tribunal just on the lines of special tribunal for war criminals. So that the trials against those who are arrested and involved in killings or threats to bloggers," Inu said.

Inu, however, feels that there is no need of international intervention to ensure the safety of bloggers.

"The Bangladesh administration is capable enough to ensure safety of bloggers. And if you are talking of international intervention then I would say that it would be better if International powers stops intervening," Inu said.

Sharing the concerns of Sarkar and Chowdhury, renowned Blogger Omi Rahman Peal, however, feels that, a section of bloggers also do need to respect the religious sentiments as being secular doesn't give any one the right to disrespect religion.

"I do feel that that the radicals and fundamentalist have the support of Pakistan. But these radicals at times are getting scope to attack us by attributing us enemies of Islam because there are certain bloggers who in the name of secularism are disrespecting Islam. This should not be done because it is hurting the sentiments of the masses," Peal said.

Courtesy DeccanHerald