A secular blogger was hacked to death by a gang on Tuesday in northeastern Bangladesh, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. The incident is the third such attack on the country’s independent writers.
Ananta Bijoy Das was attacked by masked men “with machetes” in the city of Sylhet, about 147 miles northeast of the capital Dhaka, Faisal Mahmud, deputy commissioner of Sylhet police, told AFP. Imran Sarker, head of the Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, told AFP that Das was "an atheist and wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona (Free-mind)," a website founded by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American blogger, who was hacked to death in Dhaka in February.
"In recent months he received threats from extremists for his writings,” a friend of Das told AFP, adding that he was on an alleged hit list maintained by Islamist militants.
Farid Ahmed, the current moderator of Mukto-Mona who is based in Canada, confirmed to AFP that Das wrote for the site.
Roy was attacked on Feb. 26 by two assailants while he was travelling in a rickshaw with his wife, Rafida Ahmed. His wife was badly wounded in the incident, which was described as a punishment for Roy’s “crime against Islam,” by an Islamist group named “Ansar Bangla 7,” and ignited religious tensions in the country.
A month after Roy’s death, another blogger, Washiqur Rahman, who reportedly wrote "against religious fundamentalism,” was also hacked to death.