04/23/2016, 20.18
BANGLADESH
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Rajshahi: English professor hacked to death, police blame Islamic radicals

by Sumon Corraya

Rezaul Karim Siddique taught at Rajshahi University. Known and liked by the local community, he participated in local cultural activities. His wife said he had no enemies. For anonymous journalist, undoubtedly "He was killed for his poems." The attack’s modus operandi is the same used in killing other bloggers and liberal thinkers.

Rajshahi (AsiaNews) – Early this morning, unknown attackers killed Rezaul Karim Siddique, a professor of English at Rajshahi University, as he made his way to work to give a lecture.

Prof Siddique was attacked around 7.40 am (local time) with machetes as he walked towards the main road, in Shalbagan.

Eyewitnesses said that the victim was surrounded by men who had driven up to him on a motorbike. After hacking him to death, they fled with leaving a trace.

Police said that the incident follows the same pattern as a number of recent deadly attacks against bloggers and free thinkers.

The academic was well liked in his community, where he gave music courses. He was also known for his poetry, and for playing the flute.

The professor also worked with the Sundoram cultural association. “We are shocked by his murder,” the group’s director, Raja Hasan, told AsiaNews.

"He was killed for his poetry and for his cultural activities place,” a local journalist said, unhesitatingly.

The victim’s wife, Hosne Ara, is still in shock. She told police that he had no enemies.

Even his colleagues told local papers that he was peaceful man, that he never talked about politics, or even engaged in university gossip.

Police suspect Islamic extremists, who have been targeting freethinkers and democracy activists in the recent past.

Their first victim was Ahmed Rajib Haider, a blogger who was killed in 2013.

Since the start of 2015, four other bloggers have lost their lives: Avijt Roy in February, Oyasiqur Rahman in late March, Ananta Bijoy Das in May, and Niloy Chakrabarti in August, who was killed in front his mother and sister.

On 31 October, Faisal Dipan Arefin, a publisher who printed works by progressive authors, was hacked to death.

Earlier this month, Nazimuddin Samad was killed for criticising the country’s drift towards extremism, and writing "I have no religion" on Facebook.

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