Dhaka,Bangladesh: A teenage suspected extremist being held in custody in Bangladesh was shot dead today in a gunfight, police said, days after he allegedly hacked and critically wounded a Hindu lecturer.
Police said Golam Faizullah Fahim, 19, who was in custody for questioning, was killed when officers under attack in a farmland area after taking him to a river in search of his extremist associates.
"Miscreants fired at the police van as we came near a jute farm. A gunfight ensued. After the gunfight we saw Fahim was shot and wounded. He died after we brought him to a hospital," Sarwar Hossain, police chief of Madaripur where the shooting took place, told AFP.
Locals in Madaripur caught Fahim on Wednesday after he and two other suspected extremists attacked and wounded 50-year-old mathematics lecturer Ripon Chakrabarti, a Hindu, police said.
The attack was the latest in a wave of brutal assaults on secular activists, writers and religious minorities by suspected ISIS extremists.
Police later told reporters Fahim was a college student and was a member of banned ISIS group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) is an international group which wants to combine all Muslim countries in a unitary ISIS. The group is outlawed in several countries, including Bangladesh.
Six suspected ISIS extremists have now been shot dead since Bangladesh launched a nationwide crackdown on local terrorist groups in the wake of a spike in murders of secular activists and religious minorities.
The drive has seen more than 11,000 people including 194 extremists arrested over the past week despite widespread criticism by local and international human rights groups.
Rights activists also questioned the incidents of deaths in police custody, saying the extremists were shot dead in "cold blood" in encounters staged by officers.
Nearly 50 people have been killed over the last three years in a wave of gruesome murders targeting Hindus, Christians, Sufi Muslims, secular activists and foreigners, with most blamed on or claimed by ISIS terrorists.
Many of the victims were hacked to death with machetes.
This month alone, an elderly Hindu priest was found nearly decapitated in a rice field and a Hindu monastery worker was hacked to death, while a Christian grocer was found murdered near a church.
The ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Hindu priest's murder and other recent attacks.
But authorities instead blame homegrown extremist groups and say international groups ISIS and Al-Qaeda have no presence in Bangladesh.
Although it is officially secular, around 90 per cent of Bangladesh's 160 million-strong population is Muslim. Some eight per cent of the population is Hindu.