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Third blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

Munir uz Zaman, AFP | Police forensics investigate the scene where US blogger of Bangladeshi origin was hacked to death in the capital Dhaka in February

A blogger was hacked to death by assailants using machetes in Bangladesh on Tuesday, the third attack in less than three months on a critic of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority nation.

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Ananta Bijoy Das, a 33-year-old blogger who advocated secularism, was attacked by four assailants in the northeastern Sylhet district on Tuesday morning as he headed to work at a local bank, police said.

After the attackers fled, Das was rushed to hospital but declared dead on arrival, police and medics said.

Das wrote for ‘Mukto Mona’, or free mind, a website propagating rationalism and opposing fundamentalism that was founded by US-based blogger Avijit Roy.

Roy himself was hacked to death in February while returning with his wife from a book fair in the capital Dhaka.

His widow, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head injuries and lost a finger. In an interview with Reuters in the United States published on Monday, Ahmed called her husband’s killing “a global act of terrorism”.

Religious militants have targeted secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years, while the government has tried to crack down on hardline Islamist groups seeking to make the South Asian nation of 160 million a sharia-based state.

On March 30, Washiqur Rahman, another secular blogger who aired his outrage over Roy’s death on social media, was killed in similar fashion on a busy street in the capital, Dhaka.

Their deaths followed the similar killing in 2013 of Ahmed Rajib Haider, who backed calls to impose the death penalty on Islamist leaders accused of atrocities in Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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