A Bangladeshi blogger, who fled his country after allegedly receiving threats to his life, has claimed that he entered India on a tourist visa and had been living near Kolkata for the past one and a half years.
Md Sazzadul Hoque, 21, has penned his opinions on various issues, including secularism, atheism, sexual and human rights, and protested the persecution and killing of fellow bloggers in Bangladesh.
Talking to PTI over phone from an undisclosed location, Hoque, who has apparently been living in Bengal since May 30, 2017, said it had become "increasingly difficult for him to live in Bangladesh" as he received regular threats from fundamentalists.
"Even now, I keep receiving threats on Facebook, but the situation here is not as fearful as it is in my country," he claimed.
A number of secularists and atheist bloggers, including Ahmed Rajib Haider, Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, Ananta Bijoy Das, have been killed in Bangladesh by religious extremists since 2013.
Roy, a Bangladeshi-American, was killed on a Dhaka street by a group of assailants wielding cleavers in February 2015. Weeks after Roy's death, Rahman, 27, was killed outside his Dhaka residence by men armed with machetes.
Hoque rued that he had to abruptly stop his studies in Dhaka and escape to Bengal.
Asked about his future plans, Hoque said, "I want to complete my studies and carry on blogging, but there is no one to support me, not even my family members," he said.
Hoque lived with his mother, a younger brother and a sister in Chittagong. His father passed away in 2012.
Growing up in a conservative family, he claimed he received his first lesson on atheism from a teacher, when he was studying in class 8.
"There are many like me in Bangladesh. The difference is they do not come out in the open and prefer to keep their views to themselves, but I am vocal. I cannot keep quiet and wish to share my views with others," Hoque, who claimed to have started blogging in 2016, said.
He asserted he would continue writing, no matter what the circumstances.
"It feels terrible to have left my country, where my mother and siblings still reside. However, I am determined to continue writing, under all circumstances," he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)