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Doctor hacked to death in Bangladesh, IS claims responsibility

Police say a doctor has been hacked to death and his friend critically wounded in the latest of several attacks in Bangladesh against atheist bloggers, minorities and others who promote liberal views.

world Updated: May 21, 2016 14:50 IST
HT Correspondent
Bangaldesh

A Bangladeshi medical assistant pushes a trolley with the body of activist Xulhaz Mannan past media personnel at a hospital in Dhaka.(AFP)

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the slaying of a doctor who was a promoter of Baul philosophy in western Bangladesh.

The sunni extremist group’s news agency Amaq said that Sanaur Rahman, 60, was attacked along with a friend as the doctor “called to Christianity”.

Rahman’s friend Saifuzzaman, a teacher at the state-run Islamic University, was also critically wounded in the attack which took place as they were travelling by a motorbike near Kushtia town.

The SITE Intelligence Group said the IS made the claim through a brief Arabic message posted on its Telegram channel, saying: “Fighters from the Islamic State assassinated a doctor who called to Christianity in Kushtia, western Bangladesh”.

The statement could not be verified independently and no further details were available.

At least three unknown assailants hacked Rahman and Saifuzzaman on Friday. Rahman died instantly while Saifuzzaman was being treated in the capital Dhaka.

Rahman was known to villagers as a kind person who used to give treatment to poor villagers free of cost.

Saifuzzaman, a professor of Bengali literature at Kushtia’s Islamic University and an ardent lover of Baul philosophy, had studied in India and had a PhD on mystic philosophy.

Friday’s attack follows a series of murders of liberals, secular activists and religious minorities by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation ruled by secular laws.

A Buddhist monk was hacked to death last Saturday while an atheist student, two gay rights activists, a liberal professor, a Hindu tailor and a Sufi Muslim leader have been murdered since last month.

The Islamic State and the Bangladeshi branch of al Qaeda have said that they carried out several of the killings.

But the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has rejected the claims, saying these groups do not have any presence in the country.

The government blames homegrown militants for the attacks.

Read: Bangladesh blogger who opposed radical Islam hacked to death

Bangladesh professor hacked to death in suspected Islamist attack