Well-known blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was attacked and killed this morning after leaving his home to walk to his workplace at a local bank. His death marks at least the third in what is now a string of deaths of Bangladeshi bloggers who are critical of Islam, although he also criticized all religions.
Ananta Bijoy Das hacked to death
Police said four man attacked Das in the city of Sylhet, hacking him to death using machetes and cleavers, reports Saeed Ahmed of CNN. The men fled the area after killing him. The brutal attack happened early in the morning, so there were not many witnesses to the incident. Police offers are busy interviewing those who did see the attack, however.
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Ananta Bijoy Das’ death was at least the third of a blogger who was critical of Islam in Bangladesh. In each case, the murderers attacked the blogger in a public street. In March, two men wielding cleavers and knives hacked 27-year-old Washiqur Raham to death on his way to work in the capital city of Dhaka.
The previous month, men also attacked and hacked to death American blogger Avijit Roy, who was born in Bangladesh, also in Dhaka. Within the last two years, a number of bloggers have been murdered or died under mysterious circumstances.
Roy founded the Mukto Mona (“Free Thinkers”) blog, and Das was a regular contributor to the science-focused blog. An atheist, Ananta Bijoy Das criticized fundamentalism and attacks on secular thinkers, although the main focus of his work was science. He edited Jukti (“Reason”), a science magazine, and has written a number of books, including one about Charles Darwin.
Das received Mukto Mona’s Rationalist Award in 2006 for his work as “spreading secular and humanist ideals” in a remote area without many rationalists. He was also hailed as an “activist” and a “voice of social resistance.”
Fans filled the blogger’s Facebook page with condolences and messages expressing shock at his murder. Protestors numbering in the hundreds filled the streets to urge officials to find his murderers and bring them to justice. Somor Bijoy Shee Shekhor, Das’ brother-in-law, said some of the blogger’s friends told him that he had received death threats for his criticisms of religion.