Bangladesh: Suspected extremists hack to death another professor

Senior police officer says the manner of the killing of professor Siddiquee suggests militant groups were behind it.

In yet another attack on intellectuals and secular activists in Bangladesh, a college professor was hacked to death in the morning of Saturday April 23.

Unidentified attackers hacked Rajshahi University professor AFM Rezaul Karim Siddiquee to death within 50 metres of his house in northern Bangladesh, police said.

"The attack is similar to the ones carried out on (atheist) bloggers in the recent past," Nahidul Islam, deputy commissioner of police, said.

Another senior police officer told the AFP new agency the manner of the killing suggested militant groups were behind the killing.

"His neck was hacked at least three times and was 70 to 80 per cent slit. By examining the nature of the attack, we suspect that it was carried out by extremist groups," Rajshahi Metropolitan Police commissioner Mohammad Shamsuddin told the agency.

Siddiquee, an English professor, was involved in the setting up of a school in Bagmara, a stronghold of bastion of outlawed Islamist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), police added.

The 58-year-old professor was waiting for university transport at Battola intersection in the morning when attackers slashed him down, The Daily Star reported, citing police officers.

Several attackers swooped in on the victim from behind and attacked him with sharp weapons, police said.

The newspaper said Siddiquee, a guitarist, was the founder of two cultural organisations named Arony Sangskritik Sangsad and Kamal Gandhar.

Students of Rajshahi University blocked the highway to Dhaka protesting against the killing.

In 2014 another Rajshahi University teacher, professor AKM Shafiul Islam, was hacked to death in Choddopai area of the city. Islamist radicals had initially claimed his murder but police later ruled out that possibility.

Attacks on liberals and secular activists

However, two other professors of the same university had been killed earlier.

Earlier this month, religious extremist hacked to death liberal blogger Nazimuddin Samad.

Samad, a law student, was one of the organisers of secular campaigning group Ganajagran Manch. He was hacked with machetes at a traffic light in capital Dhaka.

Hardline Islamic militant groups, some of them claiming allegiance to the so-called Islamic State (Isis) carried out several brutal executing style killing of liberal thinkers and writes last year.

The Islamist radicals drew up a list of 84 "atheist bloggers" in 2013 and openly said they would be eliminated. Four bloggers who figured in the list were killed last year.

Attacks on religious minorities such as Shia Muslims, Christians, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims and Hindus have been frequent in the majority Sunni Muslim country.

The killing followed the brutal murder of four prominent secular bloggers last year.