Three men attacked blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu near his home in Bangladesh's capital just weeks after a prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy was killed by unidentified assailants.
The 27-year-old, who was attacked with machetes, was declared dead when he arrived at Dhaka Medical College Hospital early Monday morning (local time).
"Blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu was brutally hacked to heath this morning…just 460 meters (500 yards) from his home at Dhaka's Begunbari area," deputy police commissioner Wahidul Islam said.
"They hacked him in his head and neck with big knives and once he fell on the ground, they then hacked his body," he added.
Babu was an atheist blogger who wrote under the pen name Kutshit Hasher Chhana, meaning Ugly Duckling, on Facebook. There he published writings about religious fundamentalism, fellow writer, Asif Mohiuddin, told news agency AFP via Facebook from Berlin.
"He is a friend of mine and a fellow warrior. He was an atheist and a believer in humanism," he added.
Mohiuddin survived a brutal attack by Islamists in January 2013.
Deputy police commissioner Wahidul Islam said two suspects, who were students of separate Islamic schools, were arrested trying to flee the scene and authorities recovered three large knives from the area. A third man escaped, he added.
"They are around 20 years old and are being interrogated. One of them is a student of a madrassa in Hathazari, Chittagong and another, a student of another madrass in Dhaka," he said.
Fellow bloggers and secular writers reacted sharply to news of Babu's death, with secular activists calling for protests later Monday.
"He was murdered because we have a culture of impunity here. He was a progressive free thinker and was against religious fundamentalism," Imran Sarker, the head of Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, told AFP.
"We condemn this attack and have urged all bloggers to join protests," he added.
Babu is the fifth writer attacked in Bangladesh since 2004.
Local media reported Babu's Facebook page contained the line 'lamavijit,' meaning he was a follower of Avijit Roy.
Roy, known for speaking out about religious extremism, was hacked to death after returning home with his wife from a book fair in Dhaka on February 26. His wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head trauma and lost a finger in the attack. His death sparked secular activists to protest for days demanding justice.
jlw/lw (dpa, AFP, Reuters)