Hindu priest hacked to death by unidentified assailants in Bangladesh

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Dhaka
  • Updated: Jul 01, 2016 21:26 IST
File photo of Bangladeshi activists holding photos of activists, writers and bloggers who were murdered by unidentified assassins in the last few years in Dhaka on June 15. (AFP)

Unidentified killers on Friday hacked a Hindu temple worker to death in southwestern Bangladesh, sparking concerns that the Muslim-majority country is failing to protect its religious minorities.

Shyamonando Das, a ‘sebayet’ at Sri Sri Radhamadan Gopal temple in Jhenaidah district, was killed early on Friday as he was gathering flowers to perform his morning prayers.

Hasan Hafizur Rahman, the officer in-charge of the local police station, said at least three assailants came on a motorcycle and attacked Das with sharp weapons.

“They fled quickly after the attack,” he told Hindustan Times by phone, quoting a witness.

“He died instantly. We have recovered his body,” Rahman said.

Police had no clues but said they had started an investigation. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

But officials said the latest attack was similar to previous assaults blamed on radical Islamist groups.

Since 2013, some 40 people, including atheist bloggers, secular writers, members of religious minorities and foreigners, have been killed allegedly by Islamist militants.

Authorities have ruled out claims by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda on the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) that they were responsible for many of the attacks.

Last month, two Hindu priests were killed separately in similar attacks.

Map of Bangladesh locating deadly hacking incidents in 2016. (AFP)

Meanwhile, detectives in Dhaka said on Friday they had arrested the suspected mastermind of an attempt to murder a Hindu college teacher on June 15.

Pankaj Kumer Sarkar, a police sub-inspector at Demra police station in Dhaka, told reporters that Khaled Saifullah was arrested late on Thursday night.

He said the man was thought to be the mastermind of the attack on mathematics teacher Ripon Chakravarty in Madaripur district.

Unidentified attackers had followed the teacher while he was going home from college and attacked him with sharp weapons, leaving him critically injured.

Detectives said Saifullah is a member of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB). Other details about him were not disclosed immediately.

Chakravarty survived and local residents caught one of the attackers who had travelled from Dhaka’s Uttara area. The suspect, Golam Faizullah Fahim, was a Grade XII student. He was later killed in crossfire when police took him along for a raid.

Police said Fahim was a member of the banned Hizbut Tahrir and was radicalised by the group’s members. His father said Fahim went missing a few days before the June 15 attack.

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