DHAKA: Two writers and a publisher were stabbed and shot Saturday at a publishing house in Bangladesh’s capital, police said.
The attack in Dhaka comes amid fears about the rise of radical Islam in Bangladesh. At least four atheist bloggers have been murdered in the impoverished country this year.
Three men entered the office of the publishing house, Shudhdhoswar, and attacked the writers and the publisher, 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.
The publisher, Ahmed Rahim Tutul, was a close friend 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. Tutul was also the publisher of Roy’s books.
The two writers who were attacked Saturday were identified by police as Ranadeep Basu and Tareque Rahim.
All three were hospitalized, and Tutul was in critical condition, Meer said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The local Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team had claimed the blogger killings.
Earlier this month, a bombing targeted Bangladesh’s Shiite Muslims. An Italian aid worker and a Japanese agricultural worker were also killed in separate attacks.
The Islamic State group claimed all three of those attacks, but Bangladesh’s government rejected that the extremist Sunni militant group had 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.