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Bangla group claims U.S. blogger’s murder

42-year-old Avijit Roy, an American national, author and founder of a popular blog for free thinkers, was murdered late on Thursday.

SUSENJIT GUHA  Kolkata | 28th Feb 2015

Bangladeshi secular activists take part in a protest against the killing of US blogger of Bangladeshi origin and founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site, Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death by unidentified assailants, alongside a poster bearing hi

Bangladesh terror group, using a twitter account, Ansar Bangla 7, has claimed responsibility for the gruesome murder of 42 year old Avijit Roy, an American national, author and founder of a popular blog for free thinker's, Mukto Mona (Free Mind).

Roy, who hails from Bangladesh , was hacked to death and his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, was left critically injured when two assailants attacked them with machetes on late Thursday evening. The couple was dragged out of a cycle rickshaw in which they were returning after visiting the annual Amar Ekushe book fair at Dhaka, in memory of the February 21 Bengali Language Day.

US Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki has condemned the attack, calling it 'a cowardly assault on the universal principles enshrined in Bangladesh's constitution and the country's proud tradition of free, intellectual and religious discourse.'

Roy, who was a self proclaimed atheist, was in Dhaka for a week and had gone to the book fair to launch a book he had authored.

Ansar Bangla 7 tweeted that 'the target was an American citizen, a 2 in 1 revenge and punishment' for martyring two of their 'brothers' at Khorasan in Afghanistan and Shaams. Shaams is often referred to as ISIL .

In another tweet, under a picture of a bloodied Avijit spreadeagled on the footpath with his bleeding wife beside him, Ansar Bangla 7, wrote, 'the guy @avijit_roy was the target because of his crime against Islam.'

Ansar Bangla 7 is a new terror outfit, but they could be part of another well known militant group, Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), an al-Qaeda inspired Islamic extremist organization in Bangladesh , earlier implicated in attacks on bloggers. Media reports in several Bangladeshi dailies had indicated in Decemeber 2014 that law enforcement agencies have found after arresting some key operatives that ABT was preparing remote controlled devices to target important government establishments in the country.

Speaking to this newspaper from Dhaka , Shahnur Saikot, secretary general of an NGO, Justicemakers Bangaldesh and campaigner against religious fundamentalism, said, "They could be the same group using different twitter accounts as part of a strategy."

Roy, a bio engineer settled in Atlanta , Georgia , attacked the rapid growth of religious fundamentalism in Bangladesh in two of his well known books, Virus of Faith and From Vacuum to the Great World. Roy has also written a book on Victorio Ocampo, the Argentinian author and intellectual who was close to Tagore.

Roy's books drew criticisms and even death threats from Islamic fundamentlists on social networking sites.

In February 2004, Bangladeshi poet and author, Humayun Azad was similarly killed at the February 21 book fair and in 2013, another blogger, Rajib Haider, was also hacked to death at Dhaka 's Mirpur.

Three suspected Islamists were on Saturday arrested in Bangladesh in a pre-dawn raid, as authorities intensified a crackdown on extremists following the brutal killing of American blogger Avijit Roy in the capital.

Acting on a tip-off, elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) conducted a pre-dawn raid at a five-storey building in the northeastern port city of Chittagong and arrested three suspected militants.

 
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