Dhaka: Machete-wielding masked men hacked to death a 33-year-old secular blogger in northeastern Bangladesh today, the third such attack by suspected Islamists since February in the Muslim-majority nation. Ananta Bijoy Das died instantly after the gang of masked men attacked him with machetes near his house at Subidbazar area in Sylhet city this morning while he was on the way to his office, police said.
“Four armed assailants attacked him when he was going to the town in a rickshaw,” Airport Police Station Officer in charge Gausul Hossain said. “They (killers) attacked him from behind…he was hit with machetes on the head and died instantly,” an eyewitness told PTI.
Das, who regularly blogged for Mukto-Mona website, two years ago wrote a poem eulogising self-exiled controvertial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who resides in India. Nasreen herself had shared the poem on her Facebook page, Suprity Dhar, a common friend of Das and Nasreen, said. Das’ family members said he had joined a private bank after completing masters from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).
A close friend of Das, Shahiduzzaman Paplu, told media that he was known for his writing on “materialism and logic” in blogs. He had also written the preface of a book authored by Avijit Roy, who was the first victim of deadly attack on “atheist bloggers” by the suspected Islamists this year.
Machete-wielding assailants in February killed 45-year old Roy, a Bangladeshi-born US national, here while his wife narrowly escaped the attack. Das updated his Facebook status last night, questioning police’s role in the killing of Roy and blogger Washiqur Rahman.
His last post, minutes before his murder, was on a ruling party MP’s comment that he wanted to whip a SUST teacher. The murder of Das comes just a week after Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Roy. Authorities have launched an investigation into the attacks on the bloggers. A month after Roy’s killing, another blogger Rahman has murdered in similar fashion in Dhaka but people in the neighbourhood nabbed two suspected killers from the scene and handed them over to police.
Police has so far arrested several activists of little known outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team. Investigators earlier said they suspected that the outfit was closely linked to al-Qaeda.