Dhaka: A regional division of the Al Qaida has claimed responsibility for the attacks on two publishers in Bangladesh who put out works critical of fundamentalist Islam. Both the men were stabbed, one fatally, just eight months after a similar attack was carried out on Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American known for his critical writings on religious extremism. Both the publishing houses had issued Roy's works. While one of the publishers, Faisal Arefin Dipan, succumbed to his wounds, the other, Ahmed Rahim Tutul, is in critical condition.
The terrorist group made claims of responsibility in statements posted on Twitter saying, both the men were “worse than the writers of such books, as they helped propagate these books and paid the blasphemers handsome amounts of money for writing them.” Another statement titled 'Who's Next', describes categories of people as “our next targets”. The list includes writers, poets, intellectuals, newspaper or magazine editors, reporters and actors. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has stressed that the rise in targeted violence is coming from political opposition figures in Bangladesh, and the police have named or arrested suspects with links to two main opposition groups; the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, an allied Islamist party.
As 'hit lists' of secular writers do the rounds on the internet, many writers and journalists have begun to think twice before publishing work that could attract Islamists' attention. Meanwhile, a secular publisher has reported receiving death threats, just a day after the incidents. Somoy Prakashan owner Farid Ahmed said he received a text that read, “You have published several books written by atheists. You have committed enough sins. Get ready for your death.”