Bangladesh Dhaka
REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

A blogger has been hacked to death in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, in the latest brutal attack on the country's independent writers.

Police said they were unsure whether the victim, Washiqur Rahman, 27, was an atheist blogger, but another social media writer said that he was known to write "against religious fundamentalism".

"It appeared Rahman used to write using a pen name, Kutshit Hasher Chhana [Ugly Duckling]," Imran Sarker, head of the Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, said. "He was a progressive free thinker and was against religious fundamentalism."

Two men arrested

Police have arrested two men over the murder, which comes weeks after an American atheist blogger was also killed in Dhaka, in a crime that triggered international outrage.

Speaking about Monday's victim, local police chief Wahidul Islam told AFP: "He was brutally hacked to death this morning with big knives just 500 yards [460 metres] from his home at Dhaka's Begunbari area."

Islam said the men were arrested immediately after the attack as they tried to flee the scene.

Series of attacks

The authorities have also arrested a suspect over the killing in February of American atheist writer and blogger Avijit Roy.

Roy, who was hacked to death with machetes by a mob of unidentified attackers in Dhaka, had received several death threats from Islamists for his writings on religion and science.

A US citizen of Bangladeshi origin, engineer Roy described himself on his Facebook page as a writer by passion.

Secular blogger Avijit Roy hacked to death
Secular blogger Avijit Roy hacked to death

"I have profound interest in freethinking, skepticism, philosophy, scientific thoughts and human rights of people," he wrote. "I write in the internet blogs (mainly in Mukto-Mona) and occasionally in some newspapers covering my interests."

He wrote about 10 books, including Biswasher Virus (Virus of Faith), his most well-known work.

The writer was the second atheist blogger to have been murdered in the Muslim-majority country in the last two years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since 2004.

His death sparked uproar at home and abroad with hundreds of secular activists protesting for days to demand justice.

They also criticised the country's secular government for not doing enough to protect humanist writers.