Published:  12:24 AM, 13 June 2018

Publisher's murder sends worrying message

The murder of the publisher-writer Shahjahan Bachchu in Sirajdikhan upazila of Munshiganj sends out the message that terrorists are yet around in Bangladesh. That we have been living in an unreal world in the belief that there would be no more killings of writers, bloggers and publishers and others has now been turned on its head.

Bachchhu was a respected publisher of poetry. He was also associated with the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB). More importantly, he was one individual who gave free rein to his thoughts and was not averse to questioning dogma. That is a trait he shared with many others. Obviously, such attributes rattled the forces of intolerance, which have now made Bachchu pay for his 'sins'.

By murdering this man of liberal character, his assassins have once more drawn attention to the ascendancy of illiberalism in the country, which once again tarnishes our image before the world.

It becomes necessary now for the authorities to launch an operation to identify and nab the men who murdered Bachchu. Clearly the murder is evidence once again that religious fanatics have not fully been flushed out of society yet.

They have simply been lying low and this new murder on their part is once again a sign of how vulnerable we all are to their machinations. The government should go into action to root out these elements.

That is important, for unless exemplary and tough action is taken, the threats to writers, poets, publishers, bloggers and all liberal voices in Bangladesh will go up by a good many notches. We do not wish to imagine that sinister possibility.

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