02/22/2016, 18.31
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IS claims responsibility for Hindu priest hacked to death in temple, but claim remains unverified

by Sumon Corraya

Jogeswar Roy, 50, was killed as he prepared for morning prayers. The three attackers, who fled on motorcycles, appear to be members of radical Islamic organisations. Two other temple officials were wounded in the incident. For local police chief, "We do not think it is the work of the IS,” and “We are investigating to determine whether the motive is religious or other."

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – A Hindu priest was hacked to death on Sunday in his temple in Panchagarh district, 369 km from the capital Dhaka. Three people entered the place of worship and killed Jogeswar Roy, 50, wounding two others. As they fled on motorbikes, the attackers fired their guns and set off homemade explosive devices.

"I was cooking in the kitchen of the temple house and was singing hymns,” said Gupal Roy, one of the wounded. “Suddenly I heard somebody cry out. I later realised it was our head priest. When I went out I saw two men fleeing who shot at me twice”. Other eyewitnesses said they saw three men flee on motorcycles, carrying knives.

"My brother leaves a family with a fervent faith,” said Jogeswar’s brother Robinronath Roy. “He sacrificed himself as a Hindu priest. He loved to pray and teach Hinduism. He had no enemies as far as we know. "

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for Jogeswar’s death, this according to SITE, an intelligence organisation, but the claim could not independently verified.

At the crime scene, police found a bloodstained jacket, a machete and a bullet. "We do not think it is the work of the IS,” said local police Chief Giasuddin Ahmed. “Local Islamists might be behind it.  We are investigating to determine whether the motive is religious or other."

Today, Bangladesh Police detained three people in connection with yesterday’s temple attack. Two of the detainees are said to be members of the banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and the other, a Jamaat-e-Islami activist, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party.

Rana Dasgupta, secretary general of the Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (HBCC), a national interfaith organisation, condemned the Hindu priest’s killing. “We want a proper investigation and exemplary punishment for those carried out the attack,” Rana Dasgupta said.

"We think minorities are not sufficiently safe in this country,” said Fr Proshanto Gomes, a Catholic priest from Dinajpur diocese. “We call on the government to provide justice for all the attacks against minorities.”

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