Three suspected Islamists killed a Bangladeshi blogger with machetes in broad daylight in Dhaka on Monday, apparently in retaliation for his online writings that criticized Muslim fundamentalists, officials said.
The killers ambushed 27-year-old Washiqur Rahman near his home in the Tejgoan Industrial area as he headed to work at around 10:30 a.m., Biplob Kumar Sarkar, deputy police commissioner for the Tejgaon zone, told reporters.
“They hacked him with machetes on the face and tried to flee the scene. On-duty police, with the help of local people, caught two of the attackers red-handed while the other fled,” Sarkar said.
The two suspects in custody, identified as Jikrul, a student at Hathazari Madrasa in Chittagong, and Ariful Islam, a student at Darus Ulum Madrasa in Dhaka, had come to Tejgaon on Sunday to locate Rahman’s residence, Sarkar said.
Mohammad Rafiq, a driver, told BenarNews that he and other locals rushed to the scene of Monday’s attack as Rahman screamed “robbers, robbers!”
“Some people were roaming nearby. One of them asked me what happened. I said, ‘Catch the dacoits,’ and we caught them red-handed. Then the police came to the scene,” he said.
Police took Rahman to the Dhaka Medical College hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.
His assailants targeted him because of his online writings that denounced Islamic fundamentalism, Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Masudur Rahman told BenarNews.
“They confessed in the preliminary interrogation that they killed him for ideological differences,” the police officer said.
Three slain in two years
Rahman is the third blogger since 2013 to fall prey to extremists for online criticism of Islamic fundamentalism. But he was not as well-known as the other two victims.
The murder came just over a month after the machete-killing of Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy.
He was killed Feb. 26 as he and his wife, Rafida Ahmed Banna, were leaving a book fair at Dhaka University. Banna lost a finger in the attack.
In February 2013, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider met a similar fate at the hands of Islamists. The trial of five students accused in his murder is now under way.
According to family sources, Rahman worked for a private firm, Far East Aviation in Motijheel, while finishing his post-graduate studies. On Facebook, he was known as Washiqur Babu and was active on different blog sites, including sachalayatan.
“The militants want to launch an Islamic revolution. And the free-thinking bloggers are their main obstacles. So, they have been out to purge the bloggers,” Imran H. Sarker, a spokesman for online activists and bloggers, told BenarNews.
“But our movement against fundamentalism will go on,” he added.