Niloy Chakrabarti, 40, wrote under the name "Niloy Neel." The secular blogger in Bangladesh said he had been receiving death threats for his writings critical of religion.

Then, on Friday, police said a group of attackers believed to be Islamist militants entered Chakrabarti's apartment building in the capital city and killed him, the Associated Press reported. The attackers, who pretended to be potential tenants, wore masks and killed Chakrabarti with machetes, the BBC reported.

While police didn't immediately provide a motive, a group with possible al-Qaeda ties sent e-mails claiming responsibility to media outlets, the AP reported. The e-mail's authenticity couldn't be independently confirmed by the wire service.

Chakrabarti's death is the fourth such deadly attack on a secular blogger in Bangladesh. Those killed were outspoken critics of extreme Muslim ideologies which they believed were gaining ground in Bangladesh, a country ruled by secular laws and 90 percent Muslim.

In March, 27-year-old blogger Washiqur Rahman was cornered by three assailants and hacked to death with meat cleavers. Another blogger was hacked to death in May.

Popular Bangladeshi American writer Avijit Roy was killed in a similar fashion in a February attack, while his wife sustained serious wounds. Roy's death prompted protests, and many activists said they feared they were on a hit list.

Chakrabarti contributed to Mukto-Mona, a blog founded by Roy, and he critiqued fundamentalism in many religions. His last blog post, dated Aug. 3, asked why mosques were being air-conditioned, AFP reported.

"He was the voice against fundamentalism and extremism and was even a voice for minority rights — especially women's rights and the rights of indigenous people," Imran H Sarkar, head of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network, told the BBC.

As The Post has written before, Bangladesh doesn't have blasphemy laws nor official sharia courts:

The current government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has embarked on a controversial, criticized crackdown of Islamists in the country, which included prominent politicians who had sided against the country's independence four decades ago. This effort was cheered by mass pro-democracy, anti-fundamentalist protests in 2013.
But Hasina has not helped the cause of liberal thinkers like Roy — and is accused of instituting a creeping authoritarianism where dissent and free speech is curtailed. Her opponents, including the country's main Islamist party, have been frozen out of parliament. As they fume along the margins, there are fears of increasing militancy and radicalization.

As news of Chakrabarti's death spread, hundreds of activists took to the same site that hosted secular protests in 2013, Shahbagh Square, AFP reported.

"We're protesting a culture of impunity in Bangladesh," Sarker, who was protesting, told AFP. "One after another blogger is being killed and yet there is no action to stop these murderers."

READ MORE: