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Bangladesh (orthographic projection)
Bangladesh

Ananta Bijoy Das (Bengali: অনন্ত বিজয় দাশ ) (1982—2015 ) was a secular blogger from Bangladesh. In February 2015, he left his house in Sylhet to go to work at a bank. Four men with masks attacked him near his house and killed him with machetes.

Contents

Work

In 2005, Das organized a small group of free-thinkers in Sylhet. Most of them were students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. They organized study groups, translated books into Bengali, and wrote essays. they talked about science, pseudo-science, religion, sexuality, politics, and world history.

Das wrote for Avijit Roy's blog Mukto-Mona (Free Thinkers). He also was editor for a local science magazine, Jukti ("Reason"). He wrote several books, including a book about Charles Darwin. He was also the head of the Science and Rationalist Council.

Das was an activist in Ganajagaran Mancha, a group that wanted to end Islamist parties.

Many people were not happy about the free-thinkers. Homoeopathy practitioners wanted to sue them. Many people were unhappy about their essays critical of Hinduism. others were not happy about their talk of sexuality, a taboo subject in Bangladesh. Das's book about the Soviet Union made the leftists unhappy. The Islamist students of the science and technology university were very unhappy.

Das wrote about science, and he was critical of religious fundamentalism, but he was not against religion. Two other writers, Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman, were also killed in Bangladesh after they wrote about secular themes.

Death

According to Reporters Without Borders a group called Defenders of Islam wrote a "hit list" of bloggers. There were 84 names on the list. Eight of the 84 bloggers are now dead. After the attack on Avijit Roy, Das received more threats about his writing. In March 2015, Ananta was on a new hit list of a group called Ansarullah Bangla Team, and he wrote to the IHEU.

When some people attacked his house, Asif Mohiuddin tried to help Das get out of the country. MOhiuddin helped him with his papers and gave them to some organizations to get him out. Mohiuddin was attacked in 2013, and now lives in Germany.

Sweden

Das planned to visit Sweden in May 2015, for World Press Freedom Day. The Swedish chapter of PEN, an international writers group, invited him. The Swedish Embassy in Dhaka refused the visa. They said he might try to stay in Sweden. Das died at the age of 32 on May 12, 2016. The next day, secularists marched in the city of Sylhet to protest his death.

Ananta Bijoy Das and Siddhartha Dhar translated the book "Am I a Monkey?: Six Big Questions About Evolution" by Spanish-American evolutionary biologist and philosopher Francisco J. Ayala into Bengali.

Awards

In 2006, the blog Mukto-Mona gave Das their "Rationalist Award".

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