Blogger Washiqur Rahman, 27, was hacked to death in Bangladesh, the second similar attack on independent writers in the nation. An American atheist blogger was also hacked to death in Dhaka, the capital of the country.
“He was brutally hacked to death this morning with big knives just 460 metres from his home at Dhaka’s Begunbari area,” announced local police chief Wahidul Islam.
Police arrested two men as they attempted to flee the scene. The suspects are Zikrulaah, a student in a religious school in Chittagong, and Ariful Islam, a student at Darul Ulum religious school in Dhaka. The police are still attempting to apprehend a third suspect.
“Those who killed him differed on his ideologies about religion,” said Biplob Kumar Sarkar, deputy commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police. “He was not an atheist. He was a believer. But the way he followed religion was different from the way radical groups insist.”
Bloggers in Bangledesh told the media Rahman wrote under the pen name Kutshit Hasher Chhana, which means “ugly duckling.” Imran Sarker, head of Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, said Rahman “was a progressive free thinker” and chose to write “against religious fundamentalism.”
“I liked him for his satire, his sense of humour,” said Asif Mohiuddin, a blogger who survived a similar attack in 2013. “He was a wonderful blogger and I’m very… upset right now.”
In February, American atheist blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death with machetes after he received numerous threats from radical Islamists. Roy, who was of Bangladeshi origin, founded the blog Mukto-Mona, which means “Free-Mind,” and “champion[ed] liberal secular writing in the Muslim-majority nation.” Police arrested Farabi Shafiur Rahman, a “fundamentalist blogger,” for Roy’s arrest and is allegedly “linked to Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Bangladesh.” He repeatedly threatened Roy on social media. The police also listed ten other extremists for possible involvement in the murder.