Asia

Third blogger attacked, killed in Bangladesh this year

Masked men wielding machetes stabbed a blogger and author to death Tuesday near his home in northeastern Bangladesh, police said, the third fatal attack this year against a blogger in the South Asian country.

Ananta Bijoy Das died instantly after being attacked in Sylhet city while he was on his way to his job at a bank, said Rahmat Ullah, additional police commissioner in Sylhet.

Ullah said Das was attacked by at least four masked men. "We don't have details, we are looking into it," he said.

It was not immediately clear why Das was targeted, but local media reported that he was close to Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American blogger and writer who was killed in February, allegedly by Islamist extremists.

Das's friend Shahiduzzamn Paplu told reporters that Das wrote for Roy's popular blog Mukto-mona, or Free Mind, in which articles on scientific reasoning and religious extremism featured prominently. Das also edited a science magazine in Sylhet and wrote several books, Paplu said.

Roy was known for his writings against religious fundamentalism. He was attacked along with his wife on the streets of Dhaka, the capital, when he returned to Bangladesh from the United States. His wife survived.

Another blogger, Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, was killed in March, also by alleged Islamist radicals.

On Facebook on Monday, Das criticized police for their handling of the investigations into the attacks on Roy and Babu.

Das worked as a journalist for a local newspaper in Sylhet before joining a bank, Paplu said.

Sylhet is 120 miles northeast of Dhaka.