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AFM Rezaul Karim Siddique


Bangladeshi university professor Rezaul Karim Siddique has been hacked to death, in an attack police say is similar to a number of killings of secular bloggers and atheist activists in the past months.

AFM Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, was a professor of English at Rajshahi University in the western Bangladesh.

The professor was attacked with machetes by unidentified assailants while on his way to the university from his home.

In 2015, four prominent secular bloggers were killed with machetes.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

Deputy police commissioner Nahidul Islam told AFP news agency that AFM Rezaul Karim Siddique had been involved in cultural programs, and had set up a school at Bagmara, a former bastion of outlawed Islamist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

Members of JMB were arrested over an assault on an Italian Catholic priest in 2015.

Earlier this month a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online died when he was hacked with machetes and then shot in the capital, Dhaka.

The four bloggers killed in 2015 had all appeared on a list of 84 “atheist bloggers” drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 and widely circulated.

There have also been attacks on members of religious minorities including Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus. Two foreigners, an Italian aid worker and a Japanese man, were also shot dead in 2015, in seemingly random attacks.

ISIS has said it carried out many of the attacks – but this has not been independently verified.

Bangladesh is officially secular but critics say the government has failed to properly address the attacks.