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Hindu priest hacked to death by suspected Islamists in Bangladesh

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DHAKA — A Hindu temple priest was hacked to death in western Bangladesh Friday, police said, the latest in a series of attacks on religious minorities by suspected Islamists.

Shyamananda Das, who helped conduct prayers at the Radhamadan Gopal Bigraha Math in Jhenaidah district, was killed by three men on a motorcycle as he was walking on a highway adjacent to his temple early in the morning, police said.

“They hacked him on his neck three times and there was one stabbing mark in his head,” deputy police chief of the district Gopinath Kanjilal told AFP.

“He died after he was brought to a hospital.”

Kanjilal said Das, also known as Babaji, was “a priest” in the temple. But local police chief inspector Hasan Hafizur Rahman told AFP the 50-year-old man was “a temple volunteer who helps conduct prayers”.

“He was an itinerant temple volunteer who travels from one temple to another to serve the Hindu devotees. He came to this temple only yesterday,” he said.

“He was attacked as he walked outside the temple to collect flowers for prayer services,” he added.

Police said no group claimed responsibility for the attack, but it bore hallmarks of recent murders of religious minorities by suspected home-grown Islamist militants.

“The pattern of the killing is similar” to ones carried out by local Islamist militants, Rahman said.

Last month a Hindu priest, 70-year-old Ananda Gopal Ganguly, was also hacked to death in a rice paddy field in the same district near his home.

AFP

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Nirmala Panta’s murder accused held after 24 days

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KANCHANPUR — Police in Kanchanpur have made public an accused arrested in connection with the murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality.

Dilip Singh Bista, 41, of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality was made public at a press conference at the DPO. Bista was arrested on Saturday,according to the District Police Office Spokesperson Deputy Superintendent of Police Gyan Bahadur Sethi.

Nirmala was found dead in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

Bista,who was released from prison last year after serving nine years for murdering his brother-in-law Narayansingh Thapa, works as a daily-wage labourer.

According to Bista’s statement to police, he helped Nirmala fix her bicycle chain before raping and killing her on July 26. He told police that killed her to avoid being arrested again.

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