Sufi preacher latest victim of Bangladesh killing spree

DHAKA:A 65-year-old Muslim Sufi preacher was hacked to death by unidentified machete-wielding assailants in northwest Bangladesh, two weeks after a liberal university professor was killed in a similar attack claimed by the dreaded ISIS.

sanjiv@tribunemail.com

Dhaka, May 7 

A 65-year-old Muslim Sufi preacher was hacked to death by unidentified machete-wielding assailants in northwest Bangladesh, two weeks after a liberal university professor was killed in a similar attack claimed by the dreaded ISIS.

Shahidullah was found dead with gashes on the right shoulder and a slit throat in a mango orchard in Rajshahi city’s Tanor upazila, in an attack that bears the hallmark of previous murders of intellectuals, bloggers and minorities by Islamists in the country.

His body was recovered after locals called the police around 10:00pm last night, said Abdur Razzak, officer-in- charge of Tanor Police Station. “Shahidullah was a local grocer but was regarded as a Sufi saint with a number of followers in the area,” Razzak told PTI over phone. He said autopsy of the body was carried out at a local hospital and then returned to the relatives for burial.

Razzak said their initial investigations found that Shahidullah was involved in a property dispute with neighbours “which could be a reason of the murder”. “It seems he was hacked first and then slaughtered,” he was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.

But Rajshahi’s police chief Nisharul Arif told reporters that Islamists could also be behind the killing which was similar to the murder of liberal Rajshahi University professor Rezaul Karim two weeks ago for which the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed the responsibility.

An investigation has been launched into his Shahidullah’s murder, Arif said.

Meanwhile, the deceased’s son has sued anonymous people in a case filed with Tanor Police Station. He said his father was a follower of “Torika Ponthi” (a spiritual path) and might have had enmity with followers of other paths.

There have been systematic assaults in Bangladesh in recent weeks especially targeting minorities, secular bloggers, intellectuals and foreigners. — PTI

Trail of horrific killings

April 25, 2016:  Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of Roopban — the only gay magazine in Bangladesh — and his friend Tanay Majumder killed by armed assailants

April 23: Rezaul Karim Siddique, an English professor who encouraged others to listen to music, killed with machetes as the Islamic State accused him of atheism

April 6: Student activist and blogger Nazimuddin Samad, who shared his secularist opinions online, hacked and shot to death by the three masked assailants

Feb 21: Two men armed with guns and cleavers hack a Hindu priest to death at a temple in northern Bangladesh, an attack claimed by the IS

Oct 31, 2015: Faisal Arefin Dipan, the publisher of murdered atheist writer Avijit Roy and other secular books in Dhaka, hacked to death in his office

Oct 4: Masked assailants on a motorcycle kill Japanese citizen Kunio Hoshi, who was working on agriculture in Bangladesh 

Sept 28: Three assailants on a motorcycle gun down Italian citizen Cesare Tavella in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter

Aug 8: Niloy Chottopadhay, an atheist blogger, dies after he’s attacked at his home by men with machetes

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