Dhaka Pays Last Respects to Murdered Bangladeshi-American Blogger Avijit Roy

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Bangladeshi secular activists take part in a torch-lit protest against the killing of US blogger of Bangladeshi origin and founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site, Avijit Roy. (AFP photo)

Kolkata: 

Dhaka paid its last respects today to Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy whose brutal murder earlier this week on a busy street in the city shocked the world.

On Thursday night, Mr Roy and his wife were dragged off a cycle rickshaw at a Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) intersection by two unidentified assailants and attacked with machetes. Mr Roy died of a fatal gash to the head.

Mr Roy's body was brought to the Dhaka University at around 10.40 am today and was later taken to the spot where he was killed. 

"My son's body will be placed at Aparajeyo in front of Kala Bhavan at Dhaka University where he studied," said a grieving Ajay Roy over phone from Dhaka.

The body will later be donated to Dhaka Medical College for research.

Ajay Roy, a professor of physics at Dhaka University, told NDTV that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), had contacted him and offered help with investigations. "I have been told not to share details," he said.

Avijit Roy was a US resident and had come to Dhaka for a visit about 15 days ago.

Condemnation has poured in from across the world including the United Nations, the US State Department and the European Union over the murder of Mr Roy who is the founder of Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site which champions liberal secular writing in the Muslim majority nation.

According to the Dhaka Police, Islamist jihadist group Ansar Bangla 7 has claimed responsibility for the attack on Mr Roy and his wife. The group sent out several tweets after the blogger's death, one of which said, "Target is down. Wait for the next."

Little is known about Ansar Bangla 7 except that it swears loyalty to the Al Qaeda. However, a hunt is on for Farabi Shafiur Rehman who allegedly threatened Mr Roy on social media and is one of the main accused in the murder of another blogger, Rajib Haidar, in February 2013, during the Shahbag protests. He is currently out on bail. According to some social media reports, Rehman might have fled Bangladesh and could be hiding in India.

As protests continued in Dhaka, anger at the police's failure to prevent Mr Roy's killing or at least arrest his killers also rose. Media reports claim there was police presence in the area when Mr Roy was attacked.

A 72-hour strike called by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) began at 6 this morning.

Avijit Roy's blog, meanwhile, has gone black, but with the promise that his fight against extremism will remain undefeated.

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