June 10, 2016 – Unidentified attackers hacked a 62-year-old Hindu monastery worker to death in Bangladesh earlier this morning, police said, the latest in a series of such attacks on religious minorities in the mainly Muslim country.
Police said Nityaranjan Pande was taking his regular early morning walk when the attackers set upon him, killing him on the spot.
“As a diabetic, everyday he walks early in the morning. Today as he was walking, several attackers hacked him in the neck… He died on the spot,” local police station chief Abdullah Al-Hasan said
“He had been working at the monastery for around 40 years. In recent years he was the head of its office staff,” he said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
But the head of police in the northwestern district of Pabna where the Shri Shri Thakur Anukulchandra Ashram is located said the killing bore the hallmarks of recent attacks by Islamist extremists on minorities and secular activists.
“There was no eye-witness to the attack as it happened very early in the morning,” Alamgir Kabir said.
Bangladesh is reeling from a wave of murders of secular and liberal activists and religious minorities that have left nearly 50 people dead in the last three years.
Most of the latest attacks have been claimed either by the Islamic State group or by a South Asian branch of Al-Qaeda.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government has however blamed homegrown Islamists for the attacks, rejecting claims of responsibility from IS and Al-Qaeda.
Experts say a government crackdown on opponents, including a ban on Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism.
Victims of the attacks by suspected Islamists have included secular bloggers, gay rights activists and followers of minority religions.
Although it is officially secular, around 90 per cent of Bangladesh’s 160 million-strong population is Muslim. Some eight percent of the population is Hindu.