Hindu priest hacked to death by suspected militants

Mr Ganguly with his wife in an undated photo. ISIS said it was behind his killing but Bangladesh police doubt the group's claim.
Mr Ganguly with his wife in an undated photo. ISIS said it was behind his killing but Bangladesh police doubt the group's claim. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

DHAKA • Suspected militants in Bangladesh hacked an elderly Hindu priest to death yesterday, in what police suspected was the latest in a spate of attacks by extremists on minority groups in the Muslim-majority country.

Three attackers on a motorcycle slit the throat of Ananta Gopal Ganguly, 70, while he was on his way to the temple he served in the district of Jhenaidah, about 161km west of capital city Dhaka, police said.

The government banned more than one person riding pillion on a motorcycle on Monday, a day after the wife of a prominent anti-terror security official was shot dead by three suspected militants on a motorbike. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for killing Mr Ganguly, the US-based monitoring service SITE said, quoting the militant group's Amaq news agency. But police say it had no organisational base in Bangladesh and domestic militants were responsible.

A 60-year-old Christian grocer was also hacked to death after Sunday prayers in an attack claimed by ISIS.

Bangladesh has not seen the sort of violence carried out by militants in Pakistan or India, but since February last year, militants have killed more than 30 people in Bangladesh, including members of religious minorities, liberal bloggers and academics.

The government has launched a crackdown on militant groups that want to impose strict Islamic law in Bangladesh. At least eight militants have been killed in shootouts since November, including three yesterday, police said.

Analysts say a climate of intolerance in Bangladeshi politics has motivated and provided cover for perpetrators of crimes of religious hatred. Hindus and Christians make up about 10 per cent of Bangla- desh's 160 million people.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2016, with the headline 'Hindu priest hacked to death by suspected militants'. Print Edition | Subscribe