A professor was hacked to death by unidentified attackers near his home in northwest Bangladesh on Saturday, the latest in a series of brutal attacks on bloggers, intellectuals and activists in the Muslim majority country.
Rajshahi University professor AFM Rezaul Karim Siddiquee, 58, was murdered within 50 metres of his residence in the country’s northwestern city of Rajshahi, police said.
“The miscreants attacked him from behind with machetes as he walked to the university campus from his home around 7.30 am,” local police station in-charge Shahdat Hossain told PTI over phone.
He said the Professor of English literature died instantly and the assailants fled the scene after his death. Rajshahi’s police commissioner Mohammad Shamsuddin told reporters at the scene that the “technique of the murder suggested it could be an act of Islamist terrorists.”
The professor’s neck was hacked at least three times and was 70-80 per cent slit, he said, adding that the nature of the attack shows it was carried out by extremist groups. The motive behind the murder is not immediately known. No groups claimed responsibility for the attack so far and police are investigating. Meanwhile, angry students and teachers of the university rallied in the campus demanding immediate arrest of culprits. Karim’s colleagues said he was involved in cultural activities in the campus and used to play flute and setar. “He was not known for affiliation for any political party…He had a progressive outlook that might have earned him the wrath of reactionary (Islamist) forces,” professor of mass communication department of the university Dulal Chandra Biswas told PTI over phone. Biswas said he believed the Islamists murdered Karim to prove their existence in view of a massive anti-militant security clampdown in the region. Two years ago, another Rajshahi University teacher AKM Shafiul Islam was similarly murdered. Though his murder was initially claimed by radical group ‘Ansaral Islam’, police later ruled out that possibility. Police said he was murdered as a sequel to personal rivalry. But some years ago, two more professors of the Rajshahi University had been killed. There have been systematic assaults in Bangladesh in recent months specially targeting minorities, secular bloggers, intellectuals and foreigners. Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were killed with machetes, one inside his own home.