Nikhil Chandra Joarder, 50, a resident of the Tangail district, was hacked to death on Sunday by three assailants who entered his house-cum-shop and slit his throat, in the latest similar attack in the Muslim-majority country on minorities and secular activists.
Three people, including an activist of key-opposition BNP and a local leader of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, have been detained in connection with the murder, police said. “They have been detained today for questioning in connection with Nikhil Chandra Joardar’s murder yesterday as part of the investigation,” Tangail’s additional superintendent of police Mohammad Aslam Khan said.
Hours after the murder, US-based private SITE Intelligence Group posted a statement saying ISIS claimed the killing responsibility of the attack. ISIS’ Amaq Agency reported the group’s responsibility for killing the Hindu tailor for blasphemy in Tangail district in Bangladesh, it said in a tweet.
The local media reports said that Nikhil served three months of imprisonment in 2012 when he was arrested for blasphemous comments. Police said the people in the neighbourhood feared he might have drawn the Islamists wrath since the comments were made. “We are trying to track down the killers and called CID (Criminal Investigation Department) to probe the murder,” said Tangail’s district police.
There have been systematic assaults in Bangladesh in recent months specially targeting minorities, secular bloggers, intellectuals and foreigners. In the recent attacks, a liberal professor was brutally hacked to death on April 30 by machete-wielding ISIS militants who slit his throat near his home in Rajshahi city.
Two days later on Monday, Bangladesh’s first gay magazine editor was brutally murdered along with a friend in his flat in Dhaka by Islamists. In February, a head priest was killed at a Hindu temple in an area bordering India, the first attack by the ISIS targeting the community. In 2015, four prominent secular bloggers were killed with machetes, one inside his own home. In most of the cases, ISIS or al-Qaeda in Indian Sub Continent claimed the responsibility.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, however, repeatedly denied existence of any foreign terrorist groups in the country and attributed the deadly attacks on homegrown extremists backed by main opposition outside parliament BNP and its crucial ally fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami.