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Publisher slain in Bangladesh hours after 3 others stabbed in latest attacks on secular voices

Publisher slain in Bangladesh hours after 3 others stabbed in latest attacks on secular voices
In this February 2015 photo, police investigate the sceneof the attack on blogger Avijit Roy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Rajib Dhar / Associated Press)

A publisher of secular books was stabbed to death in his office Saturday, the fifth victim to die in a series of knife attacks here this year on writers and publishers of material that raises questions about Muslim radicalism.

The killing of Faisal Arefin Dipon, head of Jagritee publishing house, which had published a book by slain blogger Avijit Roy, came hours after another of Roy's publishers was attacked. Roy, a Bangladeshi-born U.S. citizen, was hacked to death with machetes outside a book fair in the Bangladeshi capital in February.

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Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, 43, was in critical condition Saturday at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, authorities said, after a group of men stormed into his office and pointed a gun at him before stabbing him and two bloggers in the head. The writers, Ranadeep Basu, 50, and Tareque Rahim, 30, were also hospitalized.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks. The Bangladeshi militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team has said it was behind Roy's slaying and several subsequent attacks on those questioning radical Islam.

Roy, who was visiting from his Atlanta home when he was killed, was a friend of Tutul, who headed the publishing house Shudhdhoswar. Tutul had filed a complaint with police after being threatened on Facebook following Roy's slaying.

Two other secular writers, Wasiqur Rahman Babu and Ananta Bijoy Das, were killed in separate attacks this year.

Sunday's knifings also followed the killings in recent weeks of an Italian aid worker and a Japanese tourist. Islamic State said it carried out the killings, but Bangladeshi officials have denied the presence of the Iraq- and Syria-based militant group in their country.

Authorities have blamed the attacks instead on domestic militants and Islamist political parties loyal to opponents of Prime Minister Sheik Hasina.

Dipon, the son of a Dhaka University professor, was killed Saturday evening in his second-floor office at the Aziz Supermarket. His father, Abul Kashem Fazlul Haque, told journalists that he believed opponents of those promoting free speech were behind Saturday's attacks.

Authorities believed the killing was planned and carried out by multiple assailants who locked the victim inside his office before fleeing.

A co-worker, who could not reach Dipon on a cellphone, broke open the locked office door after he got no response when he knocked.

Dipon, a father of two, was found lying in a pool of blood, with deep cuts on his neck and upper shoulder. He was taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Kader is a special correspondent. Staff writer Bengali reported from Mumbai, India.

For more news from South Asia, follow @SBengali on Twitter.

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