Bangladesh police say they have detained three persons in connection with Saturday’s murder of a Hindu tailor, in an attack reportedly claimed by the Islamic State.
Nikhi Chandra Joardar was killed by machete wielding assailants outside his shop in Tangail city, some 100 kms north west of capital Dhaka. Police claim to have seized some crude bombs and two machetes in a bag left behind by the assailants.
The three suspects detained for questioning includes a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Tangail’s Additional Superintendent of Police, Mohammad Aslam Khan said.
The murder was similar to the killings of intellectuals, secular bloggers, university teachers and rights activists. The assailants who came in motor cycles had hacked Joardar’s head with a machete, police said.
“Three youths arrived at the shop of Nikhil. They took him to a nearby road saying they need to talk to him. Then they hacked him indiscriminately and fled after confirming his death,” a police official said.
Police said they are yet to establish the motive for the murder. Local media reports said Joarder was imprisoned for two weeks for in 2012, for allegedly making slanderous comments about Prophet Mohammed. He was released after the complaint filed by a madrassa teacher was withdrawn.
SITE, an intelligence group which monitors jihadist websites has said the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the killing of the 50 year old tailor.
Islamic militants in Bangladesh have targeted several intellectuals, writers, teachers, religious minorities, foreign aid workers and others who criticize those with extreme views on Islam in the past two years. Five people have been killed in the past nine days.
Most of these murders have been claimed by IS or Al Qaeda linked groups. But the government led by prime minister Sheikh Hasina and the police say the terror groups have no presence in the country. They have instead blamed the killings on extremists backed by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami.
The World Bank has warned that the Islamic militancy can affect the impoverished country’s economy. The continuing attacks have spooked buying houses who source garments from Bangladesh. Most executives now prefer to meet garment factory owners in neighboring India, Singapore or UAE to place their orders.
The $ 26 billion garment export sector is the mainstay of the country’s economy.