AKM Shahidul Hoque’s call comes at a time when police are drawing harsh criticisms over their failure to solve the cases of killings of four bloggers in six months this year.
At a press briefing at the Police Headquarters on Sunday, he also suggested notifying police if anyone’s blog was found to be offensive to religions.
“There will always be free thinkers. I have enough respect for them. But we need to remember that hurting religious sentiments is a crime according to our law.
“Any offender of religious beliefs may get the highest punishment of 14 years (in jail). But killing someone for that offence is never acceptable,” said Hoque.
He said if anyone was sued for hurting religious feelings, that person would be brought to justice.
“Those who are free thinkers and writers, I will request them, please make sure that we don’t cross the line. Anything that may hurt anyone’s religious sentiments or beliefs should not be written,” he added.
Blogger Niloy, killed in his East Gorhan flat in Dhaka last Friday, in a Facebook post three months ago alleged he had gone to file a general diary (GD) after getting concerned that he had become a target of the extremists.
But an officer at the police station, where he had gone but did not name it in the May 15 post, had refused to accept the GD and advised Niloy to leave the country, the post read.
IGP Hoque said police’s primary investigation did not find any proof of Niloy’s three-month-old allegation. “But the enquiry is still ongoing. Departmental action will be taken against that police officer if the investigation found the charge true.”
In February, writer-blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death near the Dhaka University’s TSC. His wife and fellow blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonya was also badly injured in the brutal attack.
A month later, another online activist Oyasiqur Rahman Babu was killed in a similar fashion in the capital’s Tejgaon while secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was murdered in Sylhet in May.
These two were murdered in broad daylight.
Militants were involved in all three killings, police said, but they are yet to catch the murderers.
They, however, have several suspects in custody currently, two of which were caught by locals from the scene where Babu was murdered.
The police chief said, “Niloy’s murderers will be caught.”
Global terror network al-Qaeda's Indian offshoot has so far claimed credit for the killing of secular bloggers in Bangladesh whom it described as 'blasphemers'.
The FBI of the United States on Saturday also showed interest to help police investigation into Niloy’s murder.
At Sunday’s media call, the IGP put numbers on police’s success in tackling militancy, a staggering 80 percent.
He said 632 cases were lodged over incidents related to militant attacks. Chargesheets were submitted in 516 of them and 2,543 militants arrested.
Several hours before Shahidul Hoque’s briefing, the Cabinet committee on law and order met at the home ministry to discuss the recent killings of bloggers and children.
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, who chaired the meeting, told reporters that 16 people were arrested so far in six cases of attacks on bloggers and online activists. Five of them were killed.
He said seven suspects were nabbed in blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider’s murder case while one was arrested over Avijit Roy’s murder.
Three people were arrested in Babu’s murder case and five others in a case filed over an attempt to murder blogger Asif Mohiuddin, the minister added.
Ganajagaran Mancha activist Rajib was hacked to death in February 2013, at a time when the movement demanding maximum penalty for war crimes convicts and outlawing of religion-based politics was at its peak.
All bloggers and writers both killed and attacked were strong supporters of the movement.
Amu claimed all the killings were ‘politically motivated’. “Whoever was behind these incidents, the law-enforcers will bring them to justice.”
Murders of children
IGP Shahidul Hoque told reporters on Sunday his force was actively pursuing everyone responsible for the recent killings of several children in the country.
He said 12 people were arrested over the murder of Sylhet’s 13-year-old Samiul Alam Rajan, three in custody over 12-year-old Rakib Hawladar in Khulna and one was nabbed over the murder of Rabiul Awal, 10, in Barguna.
He added the process to bring back Kamrul Islam, one of the accused in Rajan murder case, from Saudi Arabia was complete.
“Chargesheet will be submitted in this case even if his (Kamrul) arrival (in Bangladesh) is delayed.”