Anxious German envoy discusses blogger protection with Ganajagaran Mancha

Anxious German envoy discusses blogger protection with Ganajagaran Mancha

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Worried over the spate of murders of free thinkers in Bangladesh, the German envoy has discussed with Ganajagaran Mancha “options to protect bloggers and internet activists in Bangladesh”.The embassy said the meeting between its Chargé d’affaires von Weyhe and secular platform’s spokesperson Imran H Sarker in Dhaka took place on Monday following recent attacks on “liberal internet activists” in Bangladesh.Weyhe condemned the murder of blogger Niladri Chatterjee Niloy, who was hacked to death on Friday at his home in Dhaka.“This barbaric assault on an outspoken member of the blogger community is the latest attack on the freedom of expression in Bangladesh,” the Chargé d’affaires said.With Sarker, the embassy said, he also discussed measures “to limit the reach of terror organisations”.Niloy is the fourth blogger to have been murdered this year after Avijit Roy, Oyasiqur Rahman Babu and Ananta Bijoy Das.The European Union, in which Germany is the most powerful country, earlier said the “intention of the perpetrators is clear: to suppress the freedom of expression”.
The German embassy said those murders had created “a general atmosphere of fear amongst the liberal minds in Bangladesh”.“A society needs to practise tolerance and cannot allow extremists to dictate the actions and words of liberal minds,” Chargé d’affaires Weyhe was quoted as saying.Niloy was also an activist of the Mancha, which was formed to press for maximum punishment for the war criminals and a ban on religion-based groups.The Mancha spokesperson Sarker earlier gave a seven-day ultimatum to the government to arrest the murderers.He challenged the government and the law-enforcing agencies on Saturday to prove that they were not linked to the murder by arresting the assailants.Asked about the meeting, Sarker told bdnews24.com they discussed issues related to the murder of the bloggers. He, however, refused to divulge details.The Chargé d’affaires in the statement also asked the government to bring the culprits to justice.“I call upon the government of Bangladesh to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of internet activists in this country, to strengthen the freedom of expression for every citizen irrespective of their opinions and to do its utmost for a quick investigation of the murders”.He also expressed condolences to the widow and the family of Niloy.The German embassy said they had projects related to protection of journalists in Bangladesh as well as on de-radicalisation.

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