[He had also received multiple online threats from Islamists, said Imran H. Sarker, the head of the country’s Blogger and Online Activist Network, said in a telephone interview. On Monday, Mr. Chaterjee posted an article by an Islamist blogger with the headline, “They are not atheists, really, they are anti-Islam.” The article identified Mr. Chaterjee as a critic of Islam.]
DHAKA, Bangladesh — A group of men on Friday slit the throat of Niladri Chaterjee, an activist whose social media posts were often critical of Islam, in the fourth fatal attack this year against secular bloggers, the police said.
The assailants initially posed as potential renters asking to see the property where Mr. Chaterjee lived, said Deputy Police Commissioner Mohammad Anwar Hossain, who visited the crime scene. When they were refused entry, they forced their way in, confined Mr. Chaterjee in a room and slashed his head and neck, Commissioner Hossain said.
Mr. Chaterjee’s killing followed a pattern that has become familiar inBangladesh.
Islamists here have long clashed with other young people who advocate a secular
, and in recent years they have
begun to assassinate people who criticize Islam online. Bangladesh
Mr. Chaterjee had monitored those attacks, some of which were aimed at his friends, and feared he would be next.
In mid-May, Mr. Chaterjee, who also used the name Niloy Neel, wrote on Facebook that he had been followed by a group of strangers on the street as he left an event commemorating another blogger.
When he reported the threat to the police, he wrote, they took no action but recommended that he leave the country.
He had also received multiple online threats from Islamists, said Imran H. Sarker, the head of the country’s Blogger and Online Activist Network, said in a telephone interview. On Monday, Mr. Chaterjee posted an article by an Islamist blogger with the headline, “They are not atheists, really, they are anti-Islam.” The article identified Mr. Chaterjee as a critic of Islam.
“My name is on the list,” he wrote above the link. “Save me.”
Mr. Chaterjee, whose family was Hindu, denied membership in any religion and described himself as a “freethinker,” said Asif Mohiuddin, who made his acquaintance about five years ago at an event celebrating Charles Darwin.
“One year ago, he told me he was not feeling safe,” said Mr. Mohiuddin, 31, who fled to
last year. “I asked him if he
wanted to leave the country. He told me, ‘No, I don’t want to leave the
country,’ so I thought he must have some kind of protection.” Germany
In the other fatal attacks this year, assailants chased a blogger, Ananta Bijoy Dash, through the streets near his home in May in the northeastern city of
, before attacking him with machetes. In March,
three men in Sylhet Dhaka surrounded a travel agent named Oyasiqur Rhaman, as he left for
work, cutting his head and neck with machetes. In February, a
Bangladeshi-American blogger named Avijit Roy was attacked with machetes as he
left a book fair.
Another blogger, Rajib Haider, was stabbed to death in 2013.
The leader of Al Qaeda’s branch in the Indian subcontinent, Asim Umar, published a video in May, claiming responsibility for the deaths of Mr. Roy and Mr. Haider, whom he called blasphemers.
All the victims of the attacks were involved in the 2013 Shahbag movement, which called for the death penalty for Islamist political leaders who were implicated in atrocities committed during the 1971 war for independence from
The movement was met with a passionate response from young Islamists, deepening the divide among members of their generation over whetherBangladesh is an Islamic nation.
A list of 84 bloggers targeted for death began to circulate in 2013, said Mr. Mohiuddin, who has recently helped friends seek asylum in
, Norway , Sweden and Canada . He said he was trying to help
Mr. Dash get a Swedish visa when he was killed. Germany
“Just yesterday two bloggers wrote to me that they are under threat and they are being followed, but I don’t know what I can do,” Mr. Mohiuddin said. “We don’t have much power.”
Julfikar Ali Manik reported from
Dhaka, and Ellen Barry from . New Delhi