Humayun Azad’s son reportedly gets death threat

Late professor Humayun Azad’s son Ananya Azad, whose name is on a “hit-list” of secular writers drawn up by Islamist extremists, has reportedly received a death threat.

According to a number of reports published on different international news outlets, the blogger said he was being threatened for his works.

When contacted, Ananya told the Dhaka Tribune: “I am not willing to talk on the issue any more as I am not feeling secured.”

“And I don’t want a fresh winding of the talk regarding the same issue.”

However, reports stated that Ananya received a threatening Facebook message saying: “You would be the next person. So be careful.”

Ananya told The Guardian that he feared he would be the next to die after three others as his name was on a “hit-list”.

“Anyone who has a critical view about religion is exposed,” he said. “I probably have reduced my frequency of writing but my nature of writing has not changed.”

He also told Al Jazeera on Thursday that unidentified suspects in a Facebook message had threatened to kill him and dump his body at a national monument.

“Since you are the son of the atheist chief, we are tense about you…we will kill you in a similar way, we will cut you to pieces,” the threat read.

Earlier, speaking to the Associated Press in April, he said he quit his job as a newspaper columnist and stopped writing blogs after receiving numerous threats but still posts critical comments on Facebook.

Ananya was considering fleeing the country and said he spent much of his time indoors.

His father Humayun Azad survived a machete attack on February 27, 2004 after he wrote a critique of fundamentalism. Later, he died in Germany on October 8, the same year.

He is one of more than 80 people on a list of bloggers targeted for their criticism of religious intolerance and extremism in Bangladesh, which is officially secular but has seen mounting attacks on atheists.

The list is believed to have originally been submitted to Bangladesh’s interior ministry in 2013 by a group of Islamists demanding the named writers be punished for their supposedly derogatory writing about Islam and the Prophet Mohamed, the Guardian reported.

But bloggers believe it is now being used by a group of vigilantes murdering targets with machetes on the streets of Bangladesh.

On 26 February, prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy, was hacked to death while walking through Dhaka with his wife.

Almost exactly a month later, Washiqur Rahman was cut down with machetes in a frenzied attack in the same city by a group of men believed to be religious students.

On the day of his death his Facebook profile still carried a tribute to Roy with the hashtag #IamAvijit as his profile picture and slogan “words cannot be killed”.

Ananta’s murder was the first outside Dhaka, taking place in the north-eastern city of Sylhet.

He was believed to be a writer for the Mukto Mona website, which had been moderated by Roy before his death.

Many of those under threat, including Azad, demand the banning of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party, although it denies any link to the murders.

A militant group known as the Ansarullah Bangla Team was banned on Monday after being linked to the three murders by police, becoming the sixth Islamst group to be outlawed in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh ranks 146 out of 180 countries on the press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders.


Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.