NEW DELHI (AP) — A Hindu man was hacked to death in central Bangladesh on Saturday, police said, following a spate of similar attacks in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.
Authorities are investigating whether the killing of Nikhil Joarder was connected to a 2012 complaint against him for alleged comments he made against Prophet Muhammad, said Aslam Khan, a police officer in the district of Tangail, where the attack took place.
The Islamic State group-affiliated Aamaq news agency issued a statement saying “elements of the Islamic State stabbed to death by knife a Hindu in Tangail in Bangladesh who was known for insulting Prophet Muhammad.” It did not give further details.
Joarder was attacked with sharp weapons by two men on motorcycles as he sat in his tailor shop, Khan said.
Joarder spent two weeks in prison in 2012 and was released after the complaint against him was withdrawn.
The attack on him was similar to recent killings of atheist bloggers, academics, religious minorities and most recently a gay rights activist in Bangladesh by radical Islamists.
Five people have already been killed in such attacks this year and nine were killed last year. While there have been some arrests — mostly of low-level operatives — there have been no prosecutions so far and authorities have struggled to make any headway in naming those planning the attacks.
For the 2013 killing of an atheist blogger, a court has sentenced two men to death and six others to time in prison.
Nearly all the attacks have been claimed by international Islamist extremist groups, including the Islamic State group and various affiliates of al-Qaida. The government, however, has refused to accept that these groups have a presence in Bangladesh, and has blamed the violence on its political opposition.