Prominent secularist Shahzahan Bachchu shot dead in Bangladesh; Islamist hand suspected

Shahzahan Bachchu – a prominent writer and secularist was shot dead in Bangladesh on Monday evening, PTI has reported. As per the report, 60-year-old Bachchu was an outspoken proponent of secularism and owned the publishing house Bishaka Prokashoni. He was murdered in his ancestral village of Kakaldi, falling under the Munshiganj district.

The report which also quotes the Dhaka Tribune claimed that on the fateful day, Bachchu was out to meet a few if his friends in a pharmacy when five assailants arrived on two motorbikes. First they created panic by detonating a crude bomb outside the pharmacy and then dragged Bachchu, following which he was shot dead.

It is being claimed that Islamist extremists might be behind the attack, even though no group has claimed responsibility till now. The report has claimed that in the past Bacbchu had been threatened by extremists for his secular views.

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A BD-News24 report has claimed that Bachchu, who was the former general secretary of Bangladesh Communist Party, died instantly on the spot. His body was later sent to the Munshiganj General Hospital for a postmortem.

As per an ANI report, the police are now investigating the matter as part of other such killings which have taken place in the past.

Bangladesh incidentally is no stranger to such murders of “dissident voices”.

Famously in February 2015, Avijit Roy – an atheist and advocate of secularism was hacked to death in Dhaka, while returning from a book fair along with his wife. Then in October of that year, Avijit’s publisher – Faisal Arefin Dipan, too was murdered.

Some of the views aired by Avijit included likening religious extremism to a highly contagious virus. Owing to his views, he was a regular recipient of death threats from Islamist terrorists.

Such killings kept continuing in 2016 when an atheist blogger and a critic of Islamism – Nazimuddin Samad was murdered in the country’s capital.

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