Bangladeshi book shops and publishers have closed up stores and taken to the streets in protest for the third consecutive day after a publisher was killed Saturday.
Faisal Arefin Dipan, a publisher of secular books and blogger, was attacked with a machete and killed Saturday, with three others sustaining injuries. Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Agence France Presse reports, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Protestors say the government has not done enough to offer secular writers and publishers protection in the wake of a string of murders—this is the fifth murder of a secular blogger this year.
"This is not an isolated incident. They first started killing authors, then the bloggers and now they've targeted the publishers," Mustafa Selim, head of the Bangladesh Creative Publishers Society, told the AFP.
The rise in Islamist attacks this year could be a backlash against the country's Shahbag movement, which has demanded that some Islamist party leaders be held accountable for war crimes allegedly committed during Bangladesh's War of Independence against Pakistan in 1971.
“The trend with the bloggers seems to be really tied in the last two years with the Shahbag movement,” Karin Karlekar, Director of Free Expression Programs for the PEN American Center, told Fusion at the time of the last blogger murder in August. Police warned bloggers in August that they should not be "hurting religious sentiments."
“Those who are free thinkers and writers, I request them, please make sure that they don’t cross the line. Anything that may hurt anyone’s religious sentiments or beliefs should not be written,” police inspector-general AKM Shahidul Hoque told Malaysian Insider.