SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 23, 2016

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Rajshahi University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 23, 2016, unidentified individuals reportedly killed Rezaul Karim Siddiquee, a professor of English at Rajshahi University, a writer and an organizer of cultural programming in Rajshahi.

At approximately 7:40 AM, Professor Siddiquee was traveling from his home to the university, when two unidentified individuals on a motorcycle reportedly approached and attacked him from behind at a nearby bus station. The assailants hacked Professor Siddiquee to death with machetes and immediately fled the scene. As of this report, a police investigation is underway.

According to Professor Siddiquee’s colleagues and family, the scholar held progressive and secular views. However, he reportedly never published materials that would be expected to expose him to danger and had never received threats. Professor Siddiquee served as editor of a literary magazine and was working to establish a local music school. The killing of Professor Siddiquee comes less than three weeks after the April 6 killing of Nazimuddin Samad, a law student and secular blogger at Dhaka’s Jagannath University.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparently targeted killing of a scholar. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.