South Asia

Hindu Ashram Worker Hacked to Death in Bangladesh

A Hindu ashram worker has been killed in Bangladesh. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A Hindu ashram worker has been killed in Bangladesh. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Dhaka: A Hindu ashram worker was today hacked to death by unidentified assailants while he was out for a morning walk, days after a priest was killed by suspected ISIS jihadists in the Muslim-majority nation. Bangladesh has recently seen a string of brutal attacks by Islamists on religious minorities and secular activists.

Sixty-year-old Nityaranjan Pandey of Thakur Anukul Chandra Satsanga Paramtirtha Hemayetpurdham ashram was taking his routine morning walk when several machete-wielding attackers hacked his neck, killing him on the spot only 200 yards away from the ashram, Pabna’s police superintendent Alamgir Kabir told PTI over the phone.

It appears, he said, to have been the same group which carried out the recent attacks on secular and liberal activists and religious minorities.

Residents in the neighbourhood said the killers hit him on the head and neck with machetes and fled the scene.

“He was the most devoted worker of our ashram…to our understanding he never developed personal enmity with anyone during his stay here for the past three decades,” a member of the monastery’s managing committee told reporters at the scene.

The monastery, named after a famous Hindu saint, draws large number of Hindu devotees from across Bangladesh and India.

Pandey’s murder comes within a week of killings of a Hindu priest, a Christian grocer and wife of an anti-terror police officer.

No group has claimed responsibility for this murder so far. ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Indian peninsula have claimed responsibility for some of the recent attacks, although the government denies their presence in Bangladesh.

The latest attack came just hours after the police said they launched a nationwide anti-militancy week-long crackdown, also engaging the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion and paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh.

TV reports suggested the authorities detained over 100 people, 47 of whom were detained from Jhinaidah, the place where the murder of Hindu priest Sunil Ganguly was committed on Sunday.

The security clampdown was launched a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised to intensify a nationwide anti-terror security clampdown. “If they (militants) think they could turn Bangladesh upside down, they are wrong…they will be exposed to justice in the soil of Bangladesh and their patrons will also not be spared,” she told the parliament.

There have been systematic assaults in Bangladesh in recent months targeting minorities, secular bloggers, intellectuals and foreigners.

This is the second such murder within three days. On June 7, a Hindu priest was hacked to death by three suspected Islamic State jihadists who nearly severed his head.

On Sunday, a Christian businessman was hacked to death by unidentified machete-wielding men near a church, hours after the wife of a top anti-terror police officer was shot dead by religious extremists.

In April, a liberal professor was brutally hacked to death by machete-wielding ISIS militants who slit his throat near his home in Rajshahi city. In the same month, a Hindu tailor was also hacked to death by ISIS militants in his shop and Bangladesh’s first gay magazine editor was brutally murdered along with a friend in his flat in Dhaka by Islamists.

In February, militants stabbed to death another Hindu priest at a temple in Bangladesh and shot and wounded a devotee who went to his aid.