DHAKA, Bangladesh — A publisher of secular books was hacked to death and three other people were wounded in two separate attacks Saturday at publishing houses in Bangladesh’s capital, police said.
The attacks in Dhaka come amid fears about the rise of radical Islamists in Bangladesh.
The two publishing houses targeted in Saturday’s attacks had printed works of Bangladeshi American blogger and writer Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death on the Dhaka University campus while walking with his wife in February.
The local Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team claimed responsibility for Roy’s slaying and recently threatened to kill more bloggers, but no group has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attacks.
The body of publisher Faisal Arefin Deepan was found Saturday inside his office at the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, senior police officer Shibly Noman said.
Earlier in the day, publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul and two writers, Ranadeep Basu and Tareque Rahim, were shot and stabbed by three men in the office of the Shudhdhoswar publishing house, said police officer Abdullah Al Mamun.
Local police chief Jamal Uddin Meer said the assailants then locked the wounded men inside the office before escaping. “We had to break the lock to recover them,” Meer said.
All three of the victims were hospitalized, and Tutul was in critical condition, Meer said.
Bangladesh has been rocked by a series of attacks this year claimed by Islamic extremists, including the recent slayings of two foreigners — an Italian aid worker and a Japanese agricultural worker. An Oct. 24 bomb attack on thousands of Shiite Muslims in Dhaka killed a teenage boy and injured more than 100 other people.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks on the two foreigners and the bombing, but Bangladesh’s government has rejected that the extremist Sunni militant group has any presence in the country.
The government has instead blamed domestic Islamist militants along with Islamist political parties — specifically the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its main ally, Jamaat-e-Islami — for orchestrating the violence to destabilize the already fractious nation.