A Hindu tailor from Tangail’s Gopalpur sued in 2012 allegedly for defaming Islam was killed by the local members of international militant organisation Islamic State yesterday.
Three youths coming on a motorcycle went to the shop of Nikhil Chandra Joarder, 50, at Kalibari bazar of Dubail village around noon, called him outside and then hacked him to death, Gopalpur OC Mohammad Abdul Jalil said.
The assailants fled the scene immediately but left a bag that contained some bomb-like materials. The law enforcers seized the bag and kept it at the police station.
Later in the evening, militant outfit IS claimed credit for the murder through its Amaq news agency, said US-based jihadist activities monitoring website SITE Intelligence Group. It is the second killing reportedly carried out by IS members in Bangladesh in a week.
Earlier, Rajshahi University teacher Prof AFM Rezaul Karim Siddique was killed in a similar fashion near his house in Shalbagan area of the town on April 23.
IS also claimed that their members had killed Shia preacher from Jhenaidah Abdur Razzaq on March 14, Panchagarh temple priest Joggeshwar Roy on February 21 and elderly homoeopathy doctor Chhamir Uddin Mandal of Jhenaidah on January 7.
According to the US government, Bangladesh is under IS threat as the group since last year has claimed responsibility for more than a dozen murders and attacks on non-Muslims and non-Sunnis across the country. “We have no reason to not to believe those claims of responsibility. But what is clear is that there is a threat on the ground,” Mark Toner, a US state department spokesperson, said on Friday.
However, the Bangladesh government has always refuted the idea that IS has activities in the country, and claims that the attacks were conducted by local militant groups, especially outlawed Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, in cooperation with the BNP-Jamaat nexus.
On the other hand, local militants of banned Ansarullah Bangla Team who are believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent took credit for a dozen of attacks on teachers, secular writers and publishers since 2013. LGBT rights activists Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy are the latest victims of the AQIS group.
Nikhil’s family members yesterday said that the tailor had been beaten up by the locals in 2012 based on a rumour that he had made derogatory comments on Prophet Muhammad. He was later arrested in a case filed the same year by madrasa teacher Aminul Islam, who is also the local correspondent of the Daily Inqilab.
He got bail in the case after serving jail terms for one month and 24 days. “The case was later withdrawn by the plaintiff following an arbitration,” Nikhil’s wife Arati Rani Joarder said.
Their daughter Lipi Rani Bonya said that the killers came to the shop five minutes before the murder. One of them went to the nearby shop to buy chips while another wanted to have some water from Nikhil, who was working at that time.
“My father then asked mother to bring water from the house [located beside the shop]. As she came back with a glass of water, she saw the youths fleeing the scene on the motorcycle after hacking my father with machetes,” she added.
Arati Rani filed a case against unnamed persons with Gopalpur police in the evening.
In its latest edition of Dabiq magazine published on April 13, IS claimed that they had plans to launch attacks on India and Myanmar from its base in Bangladesh, run by one Sheikh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif. Shariah in Bangladesh would not be achieved until the local Hindus are targeted in mass numbers, Hanif said.
The IS leader says he is proud of the recent attacks by their men in Bangladesh. “Our soldiers are sharpening their knives to slit the throats of atheists and Murtads who defame the Prophet,” he said in the interview.