Nearly two weeks ago, 40-year-old Niloy Neel (below), an organizer of Science and Rationalists’ Association of India, was brutally murdered by assailants in Bangladesh — they decapitated him in his home and cut his hands off. He’s the fourth atheist blogger to be killed in the country this year.
Following the arrest of two men last week in connection with Neel’s murder, another three have now been taken into custody by Bangladeshi police. All of them have been associated with the militant Ansarullah Bangla Team and the latest arrests are in conjunction with the deaths of Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das:
Alam said one of the arrested men, Touhidur Rahman — a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin — was the mastermind and financier of the attacks on bloggers Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das, who were killed earlier this year.
Mufti Mahmud Khan, the head of the [Rapid Action Battalion’s] media wing, told reporters that while Rahman was the main planner of the killings, another suspect who was arrested, Sadek Ali, acted as a bridge to communicate with Mufti Jasim Rahmani, the alleged head of the militant group. Ali, 28, became involved with Rahmani while working as a printing press worker, Khan said.
He said the third suspect, 35-year-old Aminul Mollick, was a broker at a passport office and helped members of the militant group make fake passports so that they could travel abroad if necessary.
It’s unclear how many more men are still at large. Still, after so much time with so little action, at least the police are finally making arrests. The real test, however, will be the enduring safety of the atheist bloggers who remain on the 84-person hit list circulated by the terrorists.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)