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The South Asia Channel

Machete-Wielding Attackers Kill Bangladeshi Blogger; Two Arrested Over Murder of NIA Officer; Pakistan Security Forces Kill 12 Near Afghan Border

Bangladesh Machete-wielding attackers kill Bangladeshi blogger Police in Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka confirmed on Thursday that a 28 year-old university student, Nazimuddin Samad, was killed on Wednesday night by attackers using machetes (BBC, Reuters). This attack is the latest in a series of murders of secular bloggers/activists by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh. Samad was ...

A Indian student looks from behind a poster with pictures of recently killed Bangladeshi bloggers during a protest meeting organised to pay homage in Kolkata on May 16, 2015.  The recent series of attacks on bloggers in Bangladesh, with the latest victim Ananta Bijoy Das mowed down by killers, is claimed to be Islamic fundamentalists affiliated to various militant groups. These groups have targeted bloggers for their secular views on the internet over the last few years.   AFP PHOTO/ Dibyangshu Sarkar        (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A Indian student looks from behind a poster with pictures of recently killed Bangladeshi bloggers during a protest meeting organised to pay homage in Kolkata on May 16, 2015. The recent series of attacks on bloggers in Bangladesh, with the latest victim Ananta Bijoy Das mowed down by killers, is claimed to be Islamic fundamentalists affiliated to various militant groups. These groups have targeted bloggers for their secular views on the internet over the last few years. AFP PHOTO/ Dibyangshu Sarkar (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Bangladesh

Machete-wielding attackers kill Bangladeshi blogger

Police in Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka confirmed on Thursday that a 28 year-old university student, Nazimuddin Samad, was killed on Wednesday night by attackers using machetes (BBC, Reuters). This attack is the latest in a series of murders of secular bloggers/activists by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh. Samad was a student of Jagannath University in Sandarghat, Dhaka and frequently wrote against religious extremism on his Facebook page. He is reported to have written “I have no religion” on his profile.

Last year in May, blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was killed by masked men with machetes in the northeastern city of Sylhet. In March, another blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was killed in Dhaka. Blogger Avijit Roy, who courted controversy by championing atheism and also tackling issues such as homosexuality, was killed in Dhaka in February. Bangladesh is officially secular, but critics say the government is indifferent to attacks on bloggers by Islamist militants.

India

Two arrested over murder of NIA officer

Police in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh arrested two suspects on Wednesday in connection with the murder of National Investigation Agency (NIA) officer Tanzil Ahmed (CNN-IBN, Hindu). Ahmed was shot and killed on Sunday as he returned from a wedding ceremony in Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. Officials confirmed that the suspects arrested were related to Ahmad and prima facie it seems that the murder was committed over a property dispute. Ahmad was a part of the team investigating the attack on Pathankot airbase in January this year which resulted in the deaths of seven Indian military personnel. Indian authorities have accused Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed of orchestrating the attack.

Health of the banks needs improvement: RBI Governor

The governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan, said on Thursday that the Indian banking system’s health was concerning and needed to improve (ET, Reuters). He said the central bank was taking steps to help the banks in the country manage their loan portfolios. Banks in India are currently estimated to have $120 billion in bad or non-performing loans, and there is an expectation that this number will be revised even higher in the coming weeks.

Pakistan

Bonus Read: “Squandered Progress in Pakistan,” by Michael Kugelman (FP)

Pakistan security forces kill 12 near Afghan border

Dozens of militants ambushed a Pakistani security checkpoint along the Afghan border on Thursday, starting a gun battle in which 12 of the insurgents were killed, according to a local official (NYT). Several militants were also killed in a similar attack at Mangaro post in the northwestern Kurram tribal region of Pakistan, according to the official, Javed Khan. The security forces suffered no casualties.

Pakistan arrests suspected Afghan spy

Pakistan arrested a suspected Afghan intelligence agent who is believed to be responsible for assassinations and bombings in Baluchistan province (NYT). “The arrested man is an Afghan national living in a rented house in Boghara area at the outskirts of Chaman town. Paramilitary forces raided the house on intelligence and detained him,” said Manzoor Ahmed, a spokesman for the paramilitary force. Afghan authorities have not released a statement about the arrest. Pakistan detained a suspected Indian spy in Baluchistan in March who entered the country illegally.

Afghanistan

Bonus Read: “Corrupt Combatants Fight for Control of Lucrative Afghan Drug Trade,” by Rod Nordland (NYT)

Lithuania takes in Afghan migrant who worked for its troops

Lithuania provided Afghan migrant Abdul Basir Yoususi with a temporary visa on Wednesday that paves the way for asylum for his family, after he made a plea on social media, citing the aid he gave Lithuanian troops in Afghanistan (NYT, RFE/RE). The government gave Yoususi a five-day visa and airfare to Lithuania from a refugee camp in Greece after a viral video in which he asked the country’s president and people for help. In the video, he spoke in broken Lithuanian which he had picked up as an interpreter for Lithuanian troops in Afghanistan’s Ghor province. Yoususi can now formally apply for asylum in Lithuania.

Afghan ‘Sesame Street’ adds first female Muppet

Afghanistan’s first indigenous Muppet, a girl named Zari, will be debuted on Thursday on the Afghan local co-production of “Sesame Street,” a long-running U.S. educational program for pre-schoolers (Reuters, TOLO News). “Baghch-e-Simsin,” the program’s Afghan title, is the most watched TV program among young children in Afghanistan, where 81 percent of children aged three to seven have seen it, according to Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind “Sesame Street.” Sesame Workshop partnered with the Afghan education ministry in the hope of reducing any cultural resistance to Zari and the ideas she will help to introduce.

–Alyssa Sims and Shuja Malik

Edited by Peter Bergen

DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images

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