Dhaka, Bangladesh: Unidentified attackers stabbed and critically wounded a Hindu priest in southwest Bangladesh today, just a day after a Hindu temple worker was hacked to death in an attack by suspected terrorists.
- 48-year-old Hindu priest attacked inside temple compound as he slept
- Bhabasindhu Roy stabbed in his chest and back, in critical condition
- Bangladesh has witnessed a spate of attacks on religious minorities
Police said 48-year-old priest Bhabasindhu Roy of the Sri Sri Radha Gobinda Temple in Satkhira district was attacked inside the temple compound as he slept.
"They stabbed him in his chest and back. His condition is critical and we're trying to send him to a hospital in Dhaka," deputy chief of Satkhira police Atqul Haq told AFP.
He said it bore the hallmarks of recent attacks on minorities by suspected terrorists.
The attack came just hours after gunmen stormed a restaurant in the Bangladeshi capital and took dozens of people hostage including several foreigners.
The ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Friday night on the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in Dhaka's upmarket Gulshan diplomatic quarter in which two police officers were killed.
On Friday a Hindu temple worker was hacked to death in the western Bangladesh district of Jhenaidah.
Three men on a motorcycle attacked Shyamananda Das as he walked along a road near the temple early in the morning, police said.
Last month a Hindu priest, 70-year-old Ananda Gopal Ganguly, was hacked to death in the same district.
Bangladesh is reeling from a wave of murders of secular and liberal activists and religious minorities that have left some 50 people dead in the last three years.
Victims of the attacks by suspected terrorists have included secular bloggers, gay rights activists and followers of minority religions including Hindus, Christians and Muslim Sufis and Shiites.
Since April, more than a dozen people have been hacked to death amid a sharp spike in the targeted killings.
Most of the recent attacks have been claimed by the ISIS or the South Asian branch of Al-Qaeda.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government, however, has blamed homegrown terrorists for the attacks.
Experts say a government crackdown on opponents, including a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism.
Last month police arrested more than 11,000 people, including nearly 200 suspected terrorists, in an anti-terrorist drive criticised by the opposition and some rights groups, which said it was used as an excuse to clamp down on dissent.
At least nine suspected terrorists were shot dead in what police said were gunfights. Some rights activists contradict that account and say they were extrajudicial killings.