Intelligences agencies suspect radical Islamist militant organisations might have been behind the killing of writer and blogger Avijit Roy on Thursday night at Dhaka University area.
Avijit's wife and fellow blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonya was seriously injured as she tried to defend Avijit during the attack mounted soon after the couple came out of the Ekushey Boi Mela around 8:30pm. Avijit's father Ajay Roy, a noted physicist, filed a murder case with Shahbagh Police Station on Friday.
A senior intelligence official told The Daily Observer on Friday that they suspect the involvement of a trans-regional radical group operating across Bangladesh. That would point to a group like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Meanwhile, Ansar Bangla-7, believed to be an Islamist outfit, has claimed responsibility for the killing of the writer and blogger, Avijit Roy, the police said on Friday. The organisation, which has no visible political activities, has twitted claiming responsibility of the attack, the Ramna zone Assistant Commissioner of Police SM Shibli Noman said.
A Twitter account in the name of Ansar Bangla-7 has described the murder of Avijit Roy as an achievement. A series of tweets since the murder described it as a punishment for Avijit's "crime against Islam." "The target was a US citizen, used to live in US for the fear of Muslims. Just 5/6 days ago he had come to Dhaka to attend Book fair." A picture of Bonya trying to pull Avijit up from the pavement was posted along with this tweet.
The target was an American citizen.. 2 in 1, Ansar Bangla-7 claimed.
The family of writer-blogger Avijit Roy also suspect Islamist radicals were behind his murder.
Sirajul Islam, Officer-in-Charge (OC)
of Shahbagh Police Station told thiscorre spondent the case did not name anyone and was filed against unidentified assailants.
"Extremists are behind my son's murder and Jamaat (-e-Islami) has backed them," Ajay Roy told journalists after filing the case. He also hoped that the government will bring the murderers to justice.
Religious radicals have been threatening Avijit for his active campaign against Islamist extremism. Avijit was the founder of the popular blog, Mukto-mona.
"Detective Branch (DB) of police has already begun its investigation to find the motive of the killing and arrest of the culprits involved," the OC added.
Krishna Pada Roy, Deputy Commissioner of DB (south), told this correspondent that they have started the investigation.
Brutally hacked Avijit Roy and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) where Avijit died around 10:20pm. Bonya, who was seriously injured, has been shifted to Square Hospital. She is receiving treatment there.
A bio-engineer and a naturalised US citizen, Avijit recently came to Bangladesh on February 16 to attend the launching of his books at the Book Fair.
The police are yet to make any breakthrough in the case. No one has been arrested or detained. Two machetes were recovered from the crime scene. Police and intelligence agencies also do not seem to have a clear lead as to which Islamist radical group was involved in the attack.
Thursday's attack bore a striking similarity to the one on writer Humayun Azad 11 years ago. Militants also hacked blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider to death in a similar attack near his home in Dhaka's Mirpur in 2013.
Islamist blogger Farabi Shafiur Rahman had allegedly threatened Avijit Roy with death once he returned home. A screenshot of a February 9 post on Farabi's Facebook timeline is still circulating on the internet.
In that post, he is seen telling one Mannan Rahi that Avijit Roy cannot be killed now since he is in US, but he will be killed once he is back to Bangladesh.
Police had earlier arrested Farabi in connection with Rajib Haider's murder, but he is now out on bail.
The doctor who has carried out the autopsy on the body of Avijit Roy says the killers were professionals and struck three blows with sharp weapons 'very expertly and brutally' on the skull, causing him to die from excessive bleeding.
Sohel Mahmud Assistant Professor of Dhaka Medical College Forensic Department's told reporters on Friday there were three deep gashes on the right side of Avijit's head caused by a sharp weapon like a machete.
He added the gashes were parallel, only half inches from each other and strongly struck. The blows had cut through the skull and reached the brain causing excessive bleeding. There were also blows on the back and over the left eyebrow.
"This is the handiwork of a professional. They knew where to hit to kill a man," the doctor said adding it was impossible to carry out such an attack without 'planning, skill and brutality'.
Keya Barman, wife of Avijit's younger brother Arijit Roy, said his body will be handed over to Dhaka Medical College for research work.