Two people have been hacked to death today at an apartment in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, police said, with a local television channel identifying one of them as a leading gay rights activist.
“Unidentified attackers entered an apartment at Kalabagan and hacked two people to death. Another person was injured,” said Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Maruf Hossain Sorder.
He did not identify the dead, but private television Channel 24 said one of them was the editor of Roopbaan, the country’s only magazine for the LGBT community.
A spokesman for a gay group, Boys of Bangladesh, confirmed that the Roopbaan editor was among the dead.
The editor was behind an annual Rainbow Rally, which since 2014 has been held on April 14, Bengali New Year.
But police this year banned the rally as part of widespread security measures.
Ahead of the banned rally earlier this month, the editor revealed that they had received threats from Islamists, who posted messages online.
“They have even set up an online group to threaten us,” he said.
The death came two days after a liberal and free-thinking professor was hacked to death in the northwestern city of Rajshahi, the latest in a series of murders of secular bloggers and liberal activists that has left the country reeling.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack through its news agency, saying the 58-year-old professor who wrote poetry and fiction had been murdered for “calling for atheism”.
But Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan rejected the Islamic State group’s assertion and said “local militants” were responsible for the murder.
The LGBT community has been heavily persecuted in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. But in recent years some activists have tried to increase awareness and rights.