Dhaka (AsiaNews) – This morning, four machete wielding masked men hacked to death blogger and activist Ananta Bijoy Das in Shubid Bazar, Sylhet, 237 kilometres from the capital Dhaka.
According to an eyewitness, the victim died on the spot. Police are on the trail of the killers, who may belong to radical Islamic groups.
Das, 31, is the third blogger murdered this year by Muslim extremists, after Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman. He was the son of Rabindra Kumar Das and worked for the Jauwa branch of the Pubali Bank Limited.
Author of several books, he was an activist with the Bangladesh Chhatra Union, a pro-democracy political movement.
He also wrote for the scientific magazine Jukti and on the Mukto-Mona (Free Though") blog where he repeatedly criticised the country’s drift towards fundamentalism of the past two years.
For some time, Muslim extremists have been targeting free thinkers and pro-democracy activists, justifying their killing by saying that their victims were "atheists".
In 2013, Ahmed Rajib Haider was the first blogger to be killed for holding ideas "contrary to Islam".
Taslima Nasreen is another famous writer and intellectual persecuted for her ideas. After she published Lajja (Shame) in 1993, she had to flee the country because of death threats by Islamic fundamentalists. Her book is banned in Bangladesh because it is considered blasphemous for Islam, the state religion.