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DHAKA: As he walked on the streets of the Bangladesh Capital with his wife, prominent Bangladeshi-American writer and blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death by unidentified attackers.
According to the reports, the incident took place on Thursday night along a crowded stretch of sidewalk as Avijit and his wife Rafida Ahmed were returning from a book fair at the Dhaka University. As she struggled to carry her husband for assistance, Ahmed, who as well is a blogger, was also seriously injured in the attack.
Police so far has named no suspects in the attack. Bangladesh born US citizen Roy was a prominent voice againstreligious extremism and her family members and friends claim that the writer was threatened for his writings in the past as well.
The local police chief, Sirajul Islam, told The Associated Press that the assailants used cleavers to attack Roy and his wife.
“Several attackers took part in the attack and at least two assailants hit them directly. Roy was dead as he was brought to the hospital. His wife was also seriously injured and she lost one finger,” Islam said, adding that two blood-stained cleavers were found after the attack.
The attackers disappeared from the site after attacking the couple.
43-year-old Roy had founded a popular blog — Mukto-mona, or Free Mind in Bengali language where articles on scientific reasoning and religious extremism were featured significantly.
The victim’s younger brother Anujit Roy informed that his deceased brother had returned home this from the US and was scheduled to return USA in March.
Similar attacks have occurred in the past also in Bangladesh, a Muslim majority country with 160 million people ruled by secular laws. According to the investigators, religious fanatics were behind those attacks.
Another blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider who spoke out prominently against religious extremism was murdered by unidentified attackers near Dhaka in 2013.
In 2004, Humayun Azad, a prominent writer and a teacher of Dhaka University, was seriously injured in an attack when he was returning from the same book fair.
“He was a free thinker. He was a Hindu but he was not only a strong voice against Islamic fanatics but also equally against other religious fanatics,” Baki Billah, Roy’s friend and blogger said, adding, “We are saddened. We don’t know what the government will do to find the killers. We want justice.”
No arrest has been made in the case so far; however, the police claim to be investigating an Islamist group that praised the killing.
(With Agency Inputs)