IBTimes UK

A 70-year-old Hindu priest was found murdered in western Bangladesh on Tuesday, the latest incident in a series of attacks on minorities by suspected Islamist militants.

Farmers discovered the body of Ananda Gopal Ganguly in a rice field near his home with his head nearly severed from his body, Gopinath Kanjilal, the deputy police chief of Noldanga, Jhenidah district, said.

"He left home this morning saying that he was going to a Hindu house to offer prayers. Later farmers found his near-decapitated body at a rice field," AFP quoted him as saying.

The police chief also said it was too early to comment on the murder and the suspects but the "pattern of the killing is similar to ones carried out by local Islamist militants in recent time".

In the last three years, Bangladesh has seen a wave of murders of secular and liberal activists and religious minorities.

This incident is the eleventh murder in the last ten weeks. About 40 people have been killed in the last three years. Most of the attacks have been claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government has rejected the ISIS and Al-Qaeda claims and blamed homegrown terrorists for the attacks.

Experts claim that a government crackdown on opponents, including a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamist party in Bangladesh, has pushed many towards extremism.

IBTimes UK