Machete-toting Assailants goes on Hacking Spree in Bangladesh to Curb Free Speech

Two days after the brutal beheading of a Rajshahi University professor named Rezaul Karim  the same machete-toting gang hacked a 35-year old gay man named Xulhaz Mannan together with his gay partner Mahbub Rabbi in the middle of a busy Monday afternoon.

LGBT magazine Editor Xulhaz Mannan (left) with former US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Gordon (right).

LGBT magazine Editor Xulhaz Mannan (left) with former US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena (right).

Xulhaz was an USAID program officer  and the editor of the first LGBT magazine named Roopban of the muslim majority country. He has also worked for the US Embassy of Dhaka.

Xulhaz and Mahbub’s  brutal slaying bare a  frightening resemblance to the brutal killings of secular bloggers and online activists in the recent past in this impoverished third world nation.

No one can survive such injuries. There were repeated slashes on the same place, which cracked open the skull and inflicted severe injuries on the brain. Tonoy’s spinal cord was also broken,” said Mahmud of the DMCH’s Forensic Department.

He said that at least three repeated attacks on the same place caused the fatal brain injuries. “The killers were well aware of what they were doing and they did it intentionally.”

Islamist militants are suspected in all the brutal murders.

Apart from machetes, the assailants had also used firearms and bombs along with other means over the past 12 years to carry out the murders of the freethinkers, activists, teachers and numerous others.

The following is a 12-year timeline of the events that took place :

Feb 27, 2004: Dhaka University (DU) teacher and writer Prof Humayun Azad is hacked with sharp weapons. He dies from fatal injuries on Aug 12.

Dec 24, 2004: Rajshahi University (RU) teacher professor Mohammad Yunus is hacked to death at Binodpur.

Feb 15, 2013: Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, an activist of Ganajagaran Mancha, a public platform formed earlier that month demanding maximum punishment to 1971 war criminals, is scythed to death in a street near his home at the capital’s Pallabi.

Apr 9, 2013: BUET student Arif Raihan Dwip is critically injured from stabbing with sharp weapons at the university’s Nazrul Islam Hall. He dies during 83 days into treatment.

Aug 1, 2014: Assailants kill blogger Ashraful Alam with machetes at Savar.

Nov 15, 2014: RU teacher professor Shafiul Islam is hacked to death in front of his house at Chouddapai, close to the university.

Feb 26, 2015: Machete-brandishing miscreants murder secular writer and blogger Avijit Roy and injure his wife near TSC at DU when the couple was returning home from Amar Ekushey Book Fair.

Apr 30, 2015: Online activist Oyasiqur Rahman Babu is hacked to death in broad daylight in the street near his home at Tejgaon.

May 12, 2015: Ganajagaran Mancha activist and secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das is killed in similar fashion in Sylhet.

Aug 7, 2015: Another Mancha activist and blogger Niladri Chatterjee Niloy is hacked to death inside his home at East Gorhan.

Oct 5, 2015: An attempt to hack and kill Father Luke Sarkar of local Baptist Mission’s Faith Bible Church of God in Pabna’s Ishwardi fails.

Oct 31, 2015: Two publishing houses that printed Avijit Roy’s books come under attack. Faysal Arefin Dipan of Jagriti Prokashoni is hacked to death in Shahbagh while Ahmedur Rashid Tutul of Shuddhwaswar is injured along with a writer and a blogger in Lalmatia.

Apr 8, 2016: Sylhet’s Ganajagaran Mancha activist and Jagannath University student Nazimuddin Samad, who was vocal online against religious extremism, is hacked to death in Dhaka’s Sutrapur.

Apr 23, 2016: Prof Rezaul Karim is hacked to death near his house in Rajshahi.

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