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Bangladesh arrests 4 JMB men for professor’s murder

Rezaul Karim Siddique, a professor of Rajshahi University, was hacked to death last month. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of the professor for his “calling to atheism”.

world Updated: May 17, 2016 18:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rezaul Karim Siddiquee,Bangladesh,Rajshahi University
Bangladesh police have arrested four JMB members for the murder of a professor amid a surge in attacks on liberal activists and minorities, a senior officer said on Tuesday.(AFP)

Police in Bangladesh said Tuesday they had arrested a regional chief of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) and three of his associates for their alleged involvement in the killing of a university professor last month.

Mohammed Shamsuddin, metropolitan police commissioner in the northwestern city of Rajshahi, said Maskawath Hasan Sakib alias Abdullah was arrested during a raid in northern Bogra district on Sunday night.

He was identified by police as the regional commander of the JMB in Rajshahi region, where 58-year-old professor AFM Rezaul Karim Siddique was killed on April 23.

On Monday night, three more arrests were made in Rajshahi city, Shamsuddin said. Three of the four arrested men directly took part in the killing, he added.

During a news briefing in Rajshahi, Shamsuddin refused to disclose the identities of the other three men, saying police need to maintain some secrecy for the investigation.

Siddique was hacked to death by suspected militants when he was on his way to Rajshahi University, where he was a professor of English department. Witnesses said the assailants were riding a motorcycle and used sharp weapons to kill him before they fled the scene.

Shamsuddin said Abdullah had made a confessional statement before a magistrate, admitting he was involved in the killing.

“We are interrogating the suspects for more details. Abdullah told us he does not know why Rezaul Karim was targeted and he just executed the plan after getting an order from his bosses,” Shamsuddin said. Police have seized the motorcycle used in the murder.

After the killing, the professor’s son, Riyasat Imtiaz Shourav, filed a case accusing unnamed people for the murder.

Siddique’s family has said he did not have any known enemies and they had no idea about any threat against him. Siddique headed a cultural group and edited a literary magazine.

His killing came after a series of attacks and murders of atheist bloggers and members of religious minorities.

The US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites, said the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for Siddique’s killing, accusing him of promoting atheism. But the claim could not be verified independently by the Hindustan Times.

Dozens of JMB members have been arrested and at least five killed in shootouts since November, as security forces stepped up a crackdown on militants.

In 2005, the JMB set off nearly 500 bombs almost simultaneously, including in Dhaka. Subsequent suicide attacks on courts killed 25 people and injured hundreds.

First Published: May 17, 2016 14:37 IST