Bangladesh authorities have arrested an Islamist militant of outlawed Ansarullah Bangla Team who was involved in the attack on a secular publisher, whose works were deemed blasphemous by extremists, police said on Thursday.
Md Sumon Hossain Patwari, 20, was arrested in Dhaka on Wednesday for his involvement in the attack on Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury also known as Tutul, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
Tutul’s publishing house ‘Shuddhashar’, whose publications were deemed blasphemous by extremists, had published writings of local secular writers.
He had also published books by a controversial Bangladeshi-American atheist writer Avijit Roy, who was murdered outside a book fair in Dhaka last year.
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In a near simultaneous attacks on two publishing houses in Dhaka in October, suspected Islamists hacked to death publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan, critically injured Tutul along with writer Ranadipam Basu and blogger Tarek Rahim.
Ansar Al Islam, also known as Ansarullah, claimed responsibility for the attacks calling themselves as the Bangladeshi branch of al-Qaeda.
Patwari “admitted to taking part in the attack and hitting the victim thrice with a meat cleaver,” the statement said, adding the suspect has divulged important information about Ansarullah.
Police had placed a Tk 200,000 ($2556) bounty on his head last month.
His arrest comes amid a nationwide police crackdown to halt a spate of deadly attacks. Authorities have detained nearly 12,000 people. Some of those arrested were linked with outlawed Jamaatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.
Suspected Islamists have killed a number of secular activists, Hindus and other minorities across the country in recent months prompting authorities to launch a nationwide anti-militant clampdown since Friday. Nearly 50 people have been murdered over the past three years.