Three people, including two from a banned Islamist organization, have been arrested
Two assailants on a motorcycle killed the priest Sunday, a police spokesman says
Numerous secularists or members of minority religions have been attacked in Bangladesh
Bangladeshi police have arrested three people in connection with a religiously motivated attack on a Hindu priest and a devotee in the north of the country, a police official tells CNN.
A Hindu priest was killed and a devotee injured in northern Bangladesh on Sunday in the latest attack on minority religious figures in the predominantly Muslim nation.
Two of those arrested are activists in the outlawed Islamist organization Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh, Police Inspector Muhammad Babul Akhter said. The other is a member of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamic political party.
They have been charged with murder and possession of weapons.
The 50-year-old Hindu priest was attacked by two assailants in a temple in Bangladesh’s northern district of Panchagarh on Sunday morning, Panchagarh district police chief Giasuddin Ahmed said.
The attackers approached on a motorcycle, hurling grenades and firing bullets at the temple, before slitting the priest’s throat and fleeing, Ahmed said.
Police had recently ramped up security in Hindu temples and centers in the district after receiving anonymous threats, Ahmed said.
Islamist group targets minorities
The killing is just the latest attack on minority religious figures and institutions in the country in recent months.
In October, a Christian pastor was attacked in the northwest of the country, and the following month, an Italian Catholic priest was attacked in the north. Both men survived.
The same month, a Shiite mosque was attacked in Bogra, northern Bangladesh, leaving one dead and three wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.
Islam, the police commissioner, said the JMB had been behind previous attacks on religious minority leaders and institutions, and the hardline organization was the main suspect in the latest killing.
“This group is responsible for most of the attacks on Shiite mosques, Hindu temples, churches and religious leaders across Bangladesh since October,” Islam said.
The JMB is one of the six banned Islamist groups in the country and has previously been blamed for bombing campaigns and other terrorist acts.
Just under 90% of Bangladesh’s estimated 169 million people are Muslim, with a Hindu minority of about 10%, and other minorities, such as Christians and Buddhists, comprising less than 1%, according to the CIA World Factbook.