A blogger who wrote about secularism and criticised radical Islamists in Bangladesh has been killed by men armed with machetes.
It was the fourth time an online critic of religious extremism had been murdered in the Muslim-majority country in six months, with other bloggers saying they were “speechless”.
The latest victim, 40-year-old activist Niloy Chatterjee, who had a Facebook account with the name Niloy Neel, was hacked to death in his flat in the capital Dhaka, said police.
He was believed to be very active in protesting against the previous murders.
Chatterjee was decapitated and had his hands cut off, sources told the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).
The attackers got into the apartment building by pretending to be potential tenants.
Ansar al Islam, a group in Bangladesh which links itself to al Qaeda in the Indian sub-continent, has apparently claimed responsibility for the death.
Chatterjee was among hundreds of bloggers in a movement demanding the death penalty for Islamist leaders accused of atrocities in Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence.
Imran Sarker, head of a network of activists and bloggers said: “We are speechless. He was demanding justice for killing of other bloggers. Who will be next for demanding justice for Niloy?”
Chatterjee’s friends said he had criticised radical Islamists at home and abroad in his blog.
Militants have targeted secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years, while the government has tried to crack down on hardline Islamist groups seeking to make the nation, with a population of 160 million, a sharia-based state.