DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today visited a prominent secular writer at a military hospital who is undergoing treatment after getting stabbed multiple times by a man who claimed that the author was an "enemy of Islam".
Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, 64, a renowned science fiction writer and professor at the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in the northern city of Sylhet, was stabbed six times in his head, neck and left hand on Saturday.
Police said they have detained the attacker, identified as Faizur Rahman alias Faizul, a resident of an area adjacent to the Shahjalal University.
Hasinas press secretary Ihsanul Karim said the prime minister visited the Dhakas Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and talked to the writer.
"The prime minister was at the hospital for nearly one hour when she also spoke to the medical board formed for his care and asked for all required measures for his quick recovery," Karim said.
Hasina earlier urged Bangladeshis to remain alert to the threat of extremism, saying "blindness gripped those who carry out such attacks".
Iqbal, an outspoken opponent of militancy and communalism, was rushed to a local hospital after being stabbed and later airifted to a military hospital in Dhaka.
The US-trained professor is a bestselling author and celebrity speaker who regularly appears at campuses nationwide to motivate youths about education and values as a longstanding champion of free speech and secularism.
Police said the 21-year-old assailant, a former student of a traditional Islamic seminary, too was being treated at a military hospital in Sylhet as he was severely beaten up by angry students while initial investigations and media reports suggested he was led by fanatic idealism.
He (assailant) told us that it was his duty as a Muslim to resist those who work against Islam (and) Dr Zafar Iqbal was an enemy of Islam, said Colonel Ali Haider Azad Ahmed of elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which draws personnel from army, navy and air force alongside police.