First they came for the bloggers, the atheists, the secular intellectuals. Then the three-year murder spree spread to aid workers, minority religions and Muslims who did not want their country reshaped by extremist Islam, writes The Guardian.
The British newspaper ran a major story titled “Inside Bangladesh’s killing fields: bloggers and outsiders targeted by fanatics” on Sunday.
The attack on professor Rezaul Karim Siddiquee was so frenzied that its traces remain more than a month later, arcs of dried blood spattered up a pink wall and a pile of sand covering bloodstains that had pooled on the ground where the softly spoken lecturer was all but beheaded, said the report.
This murder, The Guardian wrote, fitted into a pattern laid down over a gruesome three-year killing spree by extremist groups in Bangladesh: a bloody but brutal attack in broad daylight with the most basic of weapons, and later a claim of responsibility from Islamic State (Isis) or al-Qaida.
“Foreigners, religious minorities from Hindus to Christians, Muslims from other sects and even Sunnis who subscribe to a more generous vision of faith than their attackers, are all now at risk,” read the report.
Since 2013, 30 people have been murdered.
The Guardian observed that the toll is tiny in absolute terms for a country of around 160 million people, and authorities insist they have the upper hand in the battle against what they describe as a relatively small, unprofessional band of fanatics, pointing to dozens of arrests.