JAHED AHMED writes in To day's Dawn on Avijit Roy and other Bangladesh Bloggers that were killed by Brutal Rogues of Islam..
“Another blogger” is the phrase most English news media worldwide used in their headlines of blogger Oyasiqur Rahman Babu’s murder
on March 30. The phrase “another blogger”[/b][/u] says a lot: Babu is not the first victim of this seemingly unstoppable brutal crime. By now, most news-savvy readers in the world know, at this moment Bangladesh is the worst place for bloggers and writers.
Little over a month ago, blogger and founder of the weblog Mukto-Mona, Avijit Roy was brutally murdered outside the Ekushey Book Fair in Dhaka. Prior to that, blogger Rajib Haider was murdered near his house and blogger Asif Mohiuddin suffered a serious assault. It all happened simply because these educated young men did what is considered the art of an educated person in any society: speaking your mind, expressing your opinion — freely, fearlessly and honestly.
With these reckless murders, a dangerous pattern — of not just the gravity of the crime, but also of a ‘secular’ government’s abysmal failure to stop it — is being established. The government’s law enforcement agencies, it seems, are as clueless as the rest of us about the masterminds behind these crimes.
We, Bangladeshis everywhere, owe Prof Ajoy Roy a great deal. For over four decades, he taught our youths at Dhaka University; he fought for our freedom in 1971; he worked tirelessly to promote human rights, secularism and communal harmony; as a physicist he contributed to the advancement of science. Those who didn’t know this earlier now know he is also the father of Avijit Roy.
Avijit Roy and I worked together for several years for Mukto-Mona. I’ve served as one of its moderators for many years and have been involved with it since its inception in 2001.
Of Professor Roy’s many volunteer activities, one was to supervise a few humanitarian projects we undertook in Bangladesh, most notably, our effort to rehabilitate an elementary school in a remote area in Bangladesh which was badly damaged by the hurricane.
I remember, Professor Roy, in his seventies with ailing health, would travel hours from Dhaka by bus, by boat and on foot, to reach the site to meet with the students and teachers. He would then report back every detail, along with pictures, to us. His reports conveyed how passionate he was about helping the needy.
With Avijit Roy’s death, I lost a good friend but Bangladesh lost a man of rare virtues. He was a brilliant writer of popular books on science, an enlightened Bangladeshi who ignited the minds of many Bangladeshis towards science and reason. In a sense, he caused an online renaissance in Bangladesh.
Following Avijit’s Roy death I was in a dilemma whether to call Professor Ajoy Roy.
I decided that whatever it takes I should stand by him during this difficult time. So I gave him a call. It was a short conversation with long pauses in between. “Murdering someone over a disagreement,”
said the professor, the veteran freedom fighter of 1971, in a low but steady voice, “Eliminating someone because he said something I don’t approve of! This is not the Bangladesh we dreamed of.”
The few yet forceful words of Professor Roy have been tormenting me. The more I try to forget our conversation, the more profoundly it consumes my mind. It feels as if it’s not just the deaths of a few bloggers, but the core values which once defined us and motivated us in 1971.Jahed Ahmed is one of the founder members of weblog Mukto-Mona —By arrangement with The Daily Star-Asia News Network
..........................Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2015