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Bangladeshi secularist Ananta Bijoy Das killed

May 12, 2015

Yet another blogger has been hacked to death in Bangladesh for writing for atheistic website "Mukto Mona." Ananta Bijoy Das had reportedly been on the extremists' hit list for some time.

Bangladesch Screenshot der Webseite des ermordeten Bloggers Ananta Bijoy Das

Machete wielders hacked blogger Ananta Bijoy Das to death in Bangladesh's northern city Sylhet on Tuesday.

"Attackers wearing masks hacked Ananta Bijoy Das with machetes in Sylhet city at around 8.30 a.m. (0230 UTC/GMT) this morning. We have learnt that he was a writer," the Sylhet police's Deputy Commissioner Faisal Mahmud told news agency AFP. The 33-year-old worked in a bank, police said.

Faid Ahmed, the Canada-based editor of website Mukto Mona, where Ananta Bijoy's writings were published, confirmed the blogger's death.

Debashish Debu, Das' friend told journalists that the blogger had been receiving threats from extremists in recent months. "He was on their hit list," Debu said.

Ananta Bijoy's murder comes just a week after Islamists of the al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibility for killing Avijit Roy in February. The US-based citizen also worked for "Mukto Mona" as a moderator.

Roy was well known for his writings on philosophy and human rights issues. A 2014 nominee and a posthumous 2015 winner of DW's Best of Blogs awards, he was an atheist and government critic and had been accused by Islamists thought to have links to the militant Hefazat-e-Islam group of insulting the Prophet Muhammad and defaming Islam. He received numerous death threats prior to his killing.

Machete-wielders, possibly members of the AQIS, claimed yet another victim, Washiqur Rahman a month later in March.

"Mukto Mona," which means "a free mind" in Bengali, publishes blogs, commentaries and reports based on science and logic that debunk conservative religious practices. Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country, is officially secular, but right-wing groups terrorizing liberal thinkers have been on the rise in recent years.

mg/msh (AFP, Reuters)