Nazimuddin Samad who was a secular activist and who criticised Islamism was hacked to death in Bangladesh. He was killed by at least four assailants in Dhaka. He had posted anti-Islamism messages on Facebook.
His is the latest killing in a series of killings of secular activists and bloggers in the country. His name was on a hit list that was drawn by radical Islamists. The list had 84 names and it was sent to the country's interior ministry too.
Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan police Syed Nurul Islam was quoted to say that, "At least four assailants hacked Nazimuddin Samad's head with a machete on Wednesday night. As he fell down, one of them shot him with a pistol from close range. He died on the spot."
The first two lines of Samad's Facebook post read, "Evolution is a scientific truth. Religion and race are invention of the savage and uncivil people."
Killings of secular bloggers in Bangladesh:
Since 2005 numerous bloggers and progressive activists have been killed in Bangladesh.
Rajshahi University professor AKM Shafiul Islam, literary publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan, and bloggers Avijit Roy, Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, Ananta Bijoy Das and Niloy Neel are some of those who have been killed since November of 2014.
Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was hacked to death outside his home in Dhaka on February 15, 2013. He was at the forefront of the Shahbag movement and wrote frequently about religious fundamentalism in Bangladesh.
Atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed in the street by religious extremists in 2013.
Another blogger Niloy Neel was hacked to death with machetes in his Dhaka apartment. He had weeks before the attack sought protection from the police in wake of the threats that he had been receiving. The attackers had entered his room on the fifth floor shoved his friend aside and hacked him to death.
In the same year Bangladesh had also witnessed the deaths of Washiqur Rahman and Ananta Bijoy Das too.
On 26th February 2015 prominent blogger and Bangladeshi scientist Avijit Roy was hacked to death. In November 2015, Rafida Ahmed Bonya the wife of murdered blogger Avijit Roy called the situation dire in Bangladesh as she spoke to a UN panel. She lost part of her hand in the brutal attack in which her husband was killed.
In October 2015 another publisher and secular blogger Faisal Arefin Dipan was killed in Shahbagh area while three other publishers and bloggers were hacked and shot in Lalmatia area.
Such incidents have repeatedly been reported despite the government, the judiciary and police forces taking measures to deter extremists from targeting the bloggers and the publishers.
Bloggers sign letter condemning such attacks:
More than 150 writers had signed a letter condemning such attacks on the bloggers and called on Bangladesh's government to keep bloggers safe and that such tragic attacks were not repeated.
Bangladesh is a secular nation officially and has 160 million Muslim citizens which makes for 90% of the country's population.
Hardline groups of Bangladesh:
Hefazat-e-Islam a hardline group of Bangladesh had publicly sought that atheists who organised mass protests against the rise of political Islam should be executed.
Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), a hardline Islamist group, was banned by Bangladesh following Das's murder.
Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent had claimed responsibility of many of the attacks on secular bloggers of the country.