Earlier this month, 40-year-old Niloy Chatterjee (who wrote under the name Niloy Neel) became the fourth atheist blogger this year to be killed in Bangladesh.
We knew the basics of how he died. Several assassins burst into his home and practically decapitated him. But we didn’t know the details. We didn’t know what Neel was doing in the moments before his death. We didn’t know his wife watched it all unfold, unable to stop it.
The Globe and Mail spoke with Neel’s wife, Asa Moni, and they’ve published the very-graphic and highly-disturbing details of what went down. It’s not for the faint of heart.
For three nights after Mr. Chatterjee died, [Moni] screamed into the darkness, plagued by images of the attack.
The knock on the door came as her husband tapped at his computer. She opened the door to a strange man who said the landlord had sent him to look at the apartment.
The man was perhaps 20 years old, thin and dressed in a black T-shirt and blue jeans. He walked around twice, then stood in front of the kitchen and began mashing buttons on his mobile phone.
Moments later, three people barged into the apartment, brandishing a gleaming chapati, a rectangular cleaver made to splinter bone. They said nothing, instead moving straight toward Mr. Chatterjee, who had come to the bedroom door.
With their first swing, they severed parts of one hand. Chunks of his fingers fell to the floor.
“Who are you guys?” was all Mr. Chatterjee could manage before an attacker brandishing a pistol pushed Ms. Asa Moni onto the apartment’s veranda. “Save us! Save us!” she screamed.
But the attack was viciously efficient. The men left within minutes, Mr. Chatterjee’s head almost completely severed from his body.
In the days since, Ms. Asa Moni has only found sleep after a psychiatrist prescribed a heavy dose of pills. Rest has not brought peace. Local Muslim media have circulated a video of her drinking alcohol and attacked her as an apostate. Her own family has “started to hate me for all of this.” She fears for her own life.
The Bangladeshi government has apprehended a handful of men connected with the blogger slayings, but the warped Islamic ideology mixed with the dozens of atheist bloggers who are fearing for their own lives suggests we haven’t seen the last death. The police need to protect these bloggers and find them safe asylum. The punishments for the killers need to be severe. No atheists should be sitting ducks in their own homes for the crime of making people think.