Bangladesh Avijit Roy murder: Main suspect killed by police

Bangladeshi activists hold portraits from left of, Niloy Nill, Humayun Azad, Avijit Roy, Arefin Dipon, Nazimuddin Samad, Rajib Haydar, Wasiqur Babu who are among those killed in the last few years.Image copyright

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Activists have held protests against the killing of prominent secularists in recent years

Police in Bangladesh say they have shot dead the main suspect in the killing of secularist blogger Avijit Roy.

They say the man, named as Sharif, died in a gun battle with police near the capital Dhaka early on Sunday.

Police had been seeking information about Sharif and six other militants suspected in the case.

Avijit Roy, an American-Bangladeshi blogger and writer, was hacked to death by several men as he returned from a Dhaka book fair in February last year.

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He is one of several secularist figures killed by suspected Islamists in recent years in Bangladesh, in attacks that have received widespread international condemnation.

In many cases the Islamic State group or al-Qaeda say they carried out the attacks, but the government has blamed local militants.

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Avijit Roy, who lived in the US, was killed during a visit to Bangladesh

Roy, 42, founded the Mukto-Mona (“Free Mind”) blog in 2000 to champion secular and humanist writing in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

He had received death threats from Islamist radicals for his writings before his murder, family said.

Mass arrests

In the latest such attack, a Hindu college teacher was critically injured by men armed with knives at his home in the city of Manipur on Wednesday.

A suspect in that case, Ghulam Faijullaha Fahim, was shot dead in the southern district of Madaripur on Saturday.

He was in police custody when officers took him to help capture his associates, but died in the ensuing exchange of fire with the militants, officials say.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said her government will do whatever it takes to stop such attacks.

Police have arrested thousands of people across the country over the past weeks.

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