Sunil Gomez was 71 years old and lived in the village of Bonpara, in the diocese of Rajshahi. Mahmuda Mitu Khanam was the wife of the superintendent of Chittangong police. In recent months, Islamic extremists have claimed responsibility for numerous murders of activists, Christians, blogger. An interfaith candlelight vigil to demand justice.
Natore (AsiaNews) - Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for the murder of 71 year old Catholic Sunil Gomez, slain yesterday morning in his Bonpara shop, a village of Natore, in the diocese of Rajshahi. The man had just returned from Sunday Mass, when some unknown persons attacked and left him in a pool of blood. A few hours earlier, in Chittangong (in southeast Bangladesh) Islamic extremists shot dead Mahmuda Khanam Mitu, the wife of a well-known superintendent of police involved in the fight against Islamic terrorism, killing her in front of her child.
Tensions remains high in the whole country after months of successive murders claimed by Islamic extremists. Activists, bloggers, writers, members of the LGBT community are being targeted for their liberal ideas.
Sunil ran a fruit and vegetable shop and was respected among villagers. He had served the Catholic church of Bonpara and his brother is Fr. Proshanto Gomes, a priest in the diocese of Dinajpur. Speaking to AsiaNews he says: "I am shocked, saddened. My brother had no enemies. We ask what motivated his murder. "
Benedict Gomes, vice president of the Catholic community of Bonpara, adds that "the faithful of the village live in brotherhood with the people of other religions. Why did they attack us? ".
The Catholic leader calls for exemplary punishment to the extremists, who in the past have escaped justice. "Two months ago, an elderly Catholic couple - he said - was attacked in Bonpara, but the police did not arrest anyone."
Fr. Bikash Rebeiro, parish priest, says: "This murder is really painful because a Catholic was killed in broad daylight. I demand authorities find the culprits. "
The local Christian community, he adds, "now lives in fear." The Church of Bonpara has about 4 thousand faithful, of which 75 reside in the village. To draw government attention and ask for protection, yesterday afternoon the members of the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad organized a human chain and imposed a seven-day ultimatum for the capture of the killers.