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The Downfall of Democracy in Bangladesh

Here's a piece I wrote in The Diplomat about how democracy is receding in Bangladesh. 

Last month, Ripon Chakraborty, a Hindu mathematics teacher in the district of Madaripur, Bangladesh, heard a knock on his door. As he opened it, three men forced their way in and hacked him with knives repeatedly. He survived—barely.

Since 2013, Bangladesh has witnessed a spate of grisly Islamist attacks targeting LGBT activists, secular intellectuals, atheists, and religious minorities, with dozens killed. The grim tally has spiked in recent months, with five murders in April, four in May and three in June—not counting those like Chakraborty, who miraculously survived. Grisly as these attacks have been, and despite the fact that the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for many of them, no formal investigation of the killings has taken place. Instead, over ten thousand arrests were recently carried out as part of a new mass “anti-militant drive.” This tepid response to the crisis highlights the worst kind of cynical politics: the attacks have been used by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the latest episode of her longstanding feud with opposition leader Khaleda Zia.