Chronology of killings by machete gangs in Bangladesh

Gay-rights advocate Xulhaz Mannan has joined secular bloggers, online activists, publishers, teachers, dissenters who have paid dearly – with their lives.

Kamal Talukder and Golam Mujtaba
Published : 25 April 2016, 10:50 PM
Updated : 12 Oct 2020, 02:53 AM

Two days after the murder of Rajshahi University professor AFM Rezaul Karim Siddiquee in a similar fashion, machete-toting assailants hacked the 35-year old to death at his home in Dhaka’s Kalabagan along with his friend Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, a theatre activist, on Monday afternoon.

USAID programme officer Xulhaz was also an editor of the first LGBT magazine of the country, ‘Roopbaan’, which advocates gay rights.

Police are in the dark about the perpetrators of the attack. But Xulhaz and Tonoy’s killings bore an frightening similarity to those of secular bloggers and online activists in the recent past.

The law enforcers suspect that Islamist militants were involved in teacher and cultural activist Siddiquee’s murder on Saturday morning near his home in Rajshahi City.

The two latest murders make a mockery of Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal’s claim that the killings of Siddiquee and a retired prisons guard in Gazipur earlier on Monday were ‘stray incidents’ and the people should not feel insecure.

Apart from machetes, the assailants had also used firearms and bombs along with other means over the past 12 years to carry out the murders of the freethinkers, activists, teachers and many others.

The 12-year timeline:
Feb 27, 2004: Dhaka University (DU) teacher and writer Prof Humayun Azad is hacked with sharp weapons. He dies from fatal injuries on Aug 12.
Dec 24, 2004: Rajshahi University (RU) teacher professor Mohammad Yunus is hacked to death at Binodpur.

Feb 15, 2013:
 Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, an activist of Ganajagaran Mancha, a public platform formed earlier that month demanding maximum punishment to 1971 war criminals, is scythed to death in a street near his home at the capital’s Pallabi.
Apr 9, 2013:
 BUET student Arif Raihan Dwip is critically injured from stabbing with sharp weapons at the university’s Nazrul Islam Hall. He dies during 83 days into treatment.
Dec 21, 2013:
 Self-proclaimed saint Lutfor Rahman Faruk and five others are slaughtered at his Gopibagh house.
Aug 1, 2014:
 Assailants kill blogger Ashraful Alam with machetes at Savar.
Aug 27, 2014:
 Islami Front leader and host of Islamic TV programmes Nurul Islam Farooqi dies in a machete assault at his East Razabazar residence.

Nov 15, 2014:
 RU teacher professor AKM Shafiul Islam is hacked to death in front of his house at Chouddapai, close to the university.
Feb 26, 2015:
 Machete-brandishing miscreants murder secular writer and blogger Avijit Roy and injure his wife near TSC at DU when the couple was returning home from Amar Ekushey Book Fair.
Apr 30, 2015:
 Online activist Oyasiqur Rahman Babu is hacked to death in broad daylight in the street near his home at Tejgaon.
May 12, 2015:
 Ganajagaran Mancha activist and secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das is killed in similar fashion in Sylhet.

Aug 7, 2015:
 Another Mancha activist and blogger Niladri Chatterjee Niloy is hacked to death inside his home at East Gorhan.
Sep 4, 2015:
 Miscreants escape by exploding handmade bombs after slaughtering a self-proclaimed ‘Fakir’ (dervish) and his attendant inside his sanctum in Chittagong.

Oct 5, 2015: An attempt to hack and kill Father Luke Sarkar of local Baptist Mission’s Faith Bible Church of God in Pabna’s Ishwardi fails.

Muhammad Khizir Khan, a former chairman of Power Development Board, is killed in a ‘Khankah Sharif’ (a place for religious gathering) in his house in Dhaka. Khan was followed by many as a ‘pir’ (saint).
Oct 22, 2015:
 An assistant sub-inspector of police is stabbed to death at a checkpoint in Dhaka’s Gabtoli. 
Oct 31, 2015:
 Two publishing houses that printed Avijit Roy’s books come under attack. 
Faysal Arefin Dipan of  Jagriti Prokashoni is hacked to death in Shahbagh while Ahmedur Rashid Tutul of Shuddhwaswar is injured along with a writer and a blogger in Lalmatia.

Nov 4, 2015:
 Motorcycle-borne attackers hack a police constable to death in Savar’s Ashulia.
Nov 10, 2015:
 An attendant at a shrine at Kaunia in Rangpur is slaughtered.
Lance Corporal Samidul Islam of Military Police is hacked at a checkpoint at the entrance to Dhaka Cantonment.

Apr 8, 2016:
 Sylhet’s Ganajagaran Mancha activist and Jagannath University student Nazimuddin Samad, who was vocal online against religious extremism, is hacked to death in Dhaka’s Sutrapur.
Apr 23, 2016:
 Prof Siddiquee is hacked to death near his house in Rajshahi.

Bombings and shootings: 
Sep 28, 2015: Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella is shot dead by three motorcycle-borne assailants at Dhaka’s diplomatic zone Gulshan.
Oct 3, 2015: Masked assailants gun down Japanese national Kunio Hoshi in Rangpur’s Kaunia.
Oct 22, 2015: Bomb attack on a gathering of Shias before an annual procession in Old Dhaka leaves two dead and over 100 people wounded. 
Nov 8, 2015: Three on a motorcycle attempt to shoot a Bahai community leader to death in Rangpur.
Nov 18, 2015: Italian priest Piero Parolari is shot at Dinajpur. 
Nov 26,2015: A muezzin is killed and four others injured when assailants open Shooting at a Shia mosque during prayers in Bogra.
Dec 4, 2015: Bomb attack on Dinajpur’s Kantajeu Temple during Rash festival leaves nine injured.
Dec 10, 2015: Two persons are injured in firing and bombing on religious gathering at ISKCON temple in Dinajpur.
An organiser of a folk song festival in Chuadanga is killed.
Dec 18, 2015: Explosions inside Bangladesh Navy's Issa Khan Base in Chittagong injure six.
Dec 25, 2015: Suicide bombing at an Ahmadiyaa mosque in Rajshahi kills 1, injures 10.