Secularists protest in Dhaka after the killing of US-based Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy in February. On Aug. 7, another secular blogger was murdered in Dhaka, the fourth such murder this year. (Photo by Stephan Uttom)
A gang armed with machetes hacked a secular blogger to death at his home in Dhaka on Aug. 7 — the fourth such murder in Bangladesh since the start of the year, according to an activist group and police.
Niladri Chatterjee*, who used the pen-name Niloy Neel, was killed after the gang broke into his apartment, according to the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network, which was alerted to the attack by a witness.
"They entered his room in the fifth floor and shoved his friend aside and then hacked him to death. He was a listed target of the Islamist militants," said the network's head, Imran H. Sarker.
Police confirmed Chatterjee had been murdered by a group of half a dozen people in the capital's Goran neighbourhood, although they had no details on his background or the motive for the killing.
Asif Mohiuddin, another secular blogger who himself survived an attack by militants in Bangladesh in 2013, described Chatterjee as an atheist "free thinker" whose posts appeared on several sites.
"He was critical against religions and wrote against Islamist, Hindu and Buddhist fundamentalism. He was a founding member of a rationalist organisation," Mohiuddin, who is now based in Berlin, told AFP by phone.
In his latest blog, which was posted on August 3, Chatterjee asked why mosques were being air-conditioned.
In February, prominent atheist blogger and science writer Avijit Roy was hacked to death in the middle of Dhaka. The attack sparked national and international outrage.
In March, blogger Washiqur Rahman was killed after being cornered in an industrial area of the capital.
Then in May, Ananta Bijoy Das, 33, was killed in the northeastern city of Sylhet. Das had been an organizer for forums that openly campaigned for a secular Bangladesh.
Pervez Alam, a prominent Bangladeshi blogger, previously told ucanews.com that an apparent lack of political will has made Bangladesh a dangerous place for atheist writers to speak their minds.
“If this continues, more bloggers will be killed at the hands of Islamists, unless there is a political will to save them.”
Includes reporting by AFP
* This story has been changed to include the proper name of the slain blogger.