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Protests in Bangladesh in publisher’s murder case against government apathy, Al Qaeda claims responsibility

Angry protesters took to the streets in Bangladesh on Sunday, blaming the government for its “apathy” and the “culture of impunity”, a day after a secular publisher was killed while two bloggers and a publisher were injured in attacks claimed by al-Qaeda in the Indian sub-continent.

Six writers and bloggers have been hacked to death in the past two and half years, five of them since January this year with families and friends of the deceased alleging failure on the part of police in bringing perpetrators to justice.

Faisal Arefin Dipan, 43, a publisher who worked with slain atheist writer and blogger Avijit Roy, was hacked to death on Saturday in his third-floor office in central Dhaka. The killing of Dipan came just hours after unidentified assailants attacked two secular writers and another publisher of US national Roy’s books Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, leaving one of them in a critically injured.

A group identifying itself as Ansar al-Islam — Bangladesh chapter of al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) — claimed responsibility for the attacks. The attacks sparked widespread anger with different rights groups and social organisations staging street marches in the capital and elsewhere today, slamming police failures to ensure security and demanding immediate government action to bring the perpetrators of the crimes to justice.

Teachers, writers, students and other protesters converged on Dhaka University to vent their anger. Ganojagoron Manch, a major forum of secular bloggers, also called for countrywide protests. “I don’t want any trial, I want good sense to prevail (among all),” said Dipan’s father Abul Kashem Fazlul Huq, a retired university professor and a well known left-leaning writer.

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