Hindu lecturer wounded in latest Bangladesh attack

Agence France-Presse
Buddhist monks participate in a protest against the murder of a monk in Bangladesh, in Mumbai, India, May 23, 2016.
Buddhist monks participate in a protest against the murder of a monk in Bangladesh, in Mumbai, India, on May 23, 2016.
Danish Siddiqui

A Hindu college lecturer was seriously wounded after being hacked by three men in Bangladesh Wednesday, police said, in an attack that resembles a recent spate of brutal assaults on religious minorities.

Ripon Chakrabarti, 50, a mathematics lecturer, cried out as he was attacked at the door of his home in the southern town of Madripur at around 5:00 pm, leading locals to catch one of the assailants, police said.

It comes amid a week-long police crackdown on militant groups in Muslim-majority Bangladesh in the wake of recent violence by suspected Islamists, with more than 11,000 people arrested since Friday.

"He was hacked in his head, neck and shoulders. He has been sent to a big hospital in the nearby city of Barisal after his condition deteriorated," police inspector Kamrul Ahsan told AFP.

Police were questioning the alleged attacker for clues as to the motive, he said, adding that he is a college student who hails from the northeast of the country.

"So far, he has not said anything on why they attacked the lecturer," Ahsan said.

However, the latest attack appeared to bear the hallmarks of recent attacks on minorities and secular activists by suspected Islamist militants.

Nearly 50 people have been killed over the last three years in a wave of gruesome murders targeting Hindus, Christians, Sufi Muslims, secular activists and foreigners, with most blamed on or claimed by Islamist militants.

Many of the victims were hacked to death with machetes.

This month alone, an elderly Hindu priest was found nearly decapitated in a rice field and a Hindu monastery worker was hacked to death, while a Christian grocer was found murdered near a church.

Other victims have included liberal activists and secular bloggers, along with two foreigners and two gay rights activists.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Hindu priest's murder and other recent attacks.

But authorities instead blame homegrown militant groups and say IS and other international groups have no presence in Bangladesh.

Police in western Bangladesh said Wednesday they have armed villagers with bamboo sticks and whistles in an effort to deter Islamist militants from attacking people of minority faiths.

Although it is officially secular, around 90 percent of Bangladesh's 160 million-strong population is Muslim. Some eight percent of the population is Hindu.