Hindu temple worker hacked to death in Bangladesh


DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A Hindu temple worker was hacked to death in southwest Bangladesh early Friday in the latest attack blamed on radical Islamists, police said.

At least three assailants on a motorbike fled after hacking Shyamonando Das with sharp weapons as he was plucking flowers for his morning prayers near the temple, local police chief Hasan Hafizur Rahman said.

The attack happened in Jhenaidah district, 210 kilometres (120 miles) southwest of Dhaka. The worker died on the spot, Rahman said.

Police had no immediate clues about who was behind the latest killing, but they suspected that Islamist militant groups could be responsible as the pattern of the attack fits previous ones. No group has claimed responsibility.

At least 18 people, including atheist bloggers, foreign aid workers and religious minorities, have been killed in attacks over the last two years. Police launched a crackdown that led to the arrests of some 12,000 people, mostly petty criminals and opposition supporters.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, but authorities have denied it has a presence in the country.

The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says homegrown groups are responsible for the killings and want to create chaos in the country.

Meanwhile, police said Friday they have arrested the suspected mastermind of an attempted murder of a Hindu college teacher, Ripon Chakravarty, two weeks ago in Madaripur district.

Chakravary was critically injured by sharp weapons, and residents chased the attackers and caught one of them. The suspect, Golam Faizullah Fahim, was later killed in the crossfire after he led police to a hideout of radical Islamists.

Police said Fahim, 18, was a member of the banned Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir. His parents said he went missing a few days before the attack and they didn’t know that he was a member of the group.

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