The killers of secular blogger Niladri Chatterjee Niloy bought four new SIM cards without proper documents just six days before the murder at his rented flat in the capital’s Goran on Friday, detectives said yesterday.
“Using fake identities, the killers collected the SIM cards from a shop. These numbers were only used inside the building where the killing took place,” a high official of police’s Detective Branch told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
The official, requesting anonymity, said that they had found the numbers active for a couple of minutes during the murder and that those were found switched off since then.
The detectives were able to trace the shop and detained the seller for interrogation. But quizzing him, they did not get any information about the killers.
They earlier said that the two guard dogs living on the building premises had been killed within two weeks before the murder.
The samples – a towel and a T-shirt, found outside the building – were sent to the forensic wing of the Criminal Investigation Department yesterday. Investigators think that they will be able to get more clues about the killers once the results reach them, Muntasirul Islam, deputy commissioner (media) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said.
The DB police said that they had kept three suspects under surveillance. The law enforcement agency thinks that banned militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team was behind the murder of Niladri, also known as Niloy Neel.
Critic of all religions including Islam, Niloy also used to write against radical Islamists and Jamaat-e-Islami, and on social injustice. He completed master’s in philosophy from the Dhaka University two years ago.
Apart from the DB, teams of the CID and the Rapid Action Battalion are also working to trace the killers.
A high official of DB police said: “We have come to know that at first a killer entered the flat forcefully. As he used his phone, the three other killers appeared in the scene.
Using the information, we found that four new SIM cards were used at that time and switched off under the coverage of the same mobile tower.”
The killers bought the SIMs without providing proper documents, for which the detectives could not trace them, said the official adding that they were further investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that they had got much evidence and clues over the murder.
“We are trying to identify the killers effectively so that no innocent person is harassed,” he said at a programme in the city yesterday.
In response to a query by reporters about Khilgaon police’s refusing to file Niloy’s general diary in May, the minister said that action would be taken if any police officer was found responsible for neglecting duties.
Kamal warned that the police would also take action against those who make insulting remarks on religions since it is a criminal offence. “No one have the right to make derogatory comments against a religion.”
The decision was taken at a meeting of the law enforcers recently, he added.
Ansar Al Islam, who claimed responsibility for the murder on Friday, warned the other secular activists saying that they would continue to launch attacks on the enemies of Allah and the Prophet. “If your ‘freedom of speech’ maintains no limits, then widen your chests for the ‘freedom of our machetes,’” the email reads,” they said in an email.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina condemned the killing in her speech on Saturday and warned that her government would not allow killing in the name of Islam.
However, on Sunday, police chief AKM Shahidul Hoque said that free-thinkers and bloggers should not cross the limit of tolerance while expressing their views on religion.
Speaking at a press conference, he also said that they do not support killing someone for writings. “If any person is hurt by any writing, s/he may take legal action. They can file a case with the police. Everyone should obey the law.”