The blogging son of a man seriously injured in an attempted assassination for criticising radical Islamists in Bangladesh is now facing his own death sentence.
The popular Bangladeshi blogger Ananya Azad, who speaks out against intolerance and religious fundamentalism, has landed on a "hit list" of writers created by Hefazat-e-Islam, a group of Islamist militants. The list was submitted to Bangladesh's interior ministry two years ago with a demand that the writers be punished for making derogatory statements about Islam and the prophet Muhammad.
But the Islamists have apparently taken matters into their own hands. Early this month science writer Ananta Bijoy Das became the third person on the list to be murdered in the street this year. Now Ananya Azad's name has come up, reports the Guardian. "You would be the next person. So be careful," said a message to his Facebook account.
Ananya no longer writes blogs and tries to stay indoors as much as possible. But he does post thoughts on social media to a limited group of followers. He has vowed to continue to express his ideas, but admits threats have led him to communicate less frequently. Others have stopped writing or use pseudonyms to protect themselves.
While some discount the hit list, "when people from the list are dying, the threats cannot be taken lightly," said Shubhajit Bhowmik, another writer named on the document. "The threats are so frequent and so many that we no longer can count them."