Unidentified attackers hacked to death a university professor in northwestern Bangladesh on Saturday.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing AFM Rezaul Karim Siddique, US-based monitoring agency SITE Intelligence Group said.
“ISIS’ Amaq Agency reported the group’s responsibility for killing Rajshahi University professor Rezaul Karim for “calling to atheism” in Bangladesh,” the agency said in a Twitter post.
Siddique, an English professor, was attacked in the morning when he was walking for a bus near his home to get to Rajshahi University, Sushanta Chandra Roy, assistant commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, said.
He said the killing has similarities with recent murders of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh, adding that some witnesses said that the attack was carried out by two young men riding a motorbike. The attackers used sharp weapons, and fled the scene immediately, he said.
Protesting Siddique’s killing, his colleagues and students marched through the Rajshahi University campus while angry students blocked a highway demanding justice.
Global rights group Amnesty International condemned the killing and said those responsible must be brought to justice.
“The vicious killing of Rezaul Karim Siddique is inexcusable and those responsible must be held to account. This attack sadly fits the gruesome pattern established by Islamist extremist groups in Bangladesh who are targeting secular activists and writers,” Amnesty South Asia Director Champa Patel said in a statement.
Siddique’s family said they had no idea whether he faced any threat or was concerned about his life. The professor used to play Tanpura and led a cultural group and edited a literally magazine, his brother Sajidul Karim Siddique said.
“It’s a mystery to us, I can’t believe someone can kill such a simple man,” Siddique told Hindustan Times over phone.
Asked whether he suspected any radical groups, he said his brother was never outspoken about any ideology that could hurt anybody. “He used to write poems and short stories.”
Since last year, a number of atheist bloggers, activists and publishers had been attacked and killed allegedly by Islamist groups. Since 2006, three other teachers of the same university have been killed.