NEW DELHI (AP) — Police in Bangladesh detained three men Sunday, including the head of an Islamic school, in connection with the stabbing death of a Hindu tailor in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.
Police officer Saleh Muhammed Tanvir said the school principal had sued Nikhil Joarder, the slain tailor, four years ago for allegedly making derogatory comments against Prophet Muhammad. Joarder was killed Saturday in his shop in the central district of Tangail by two men on motorcycles.
The Islamic State group-affiliated Aamaq news agency issued a statement later Saturday saying "elements of the Islamic State stabbed to death by knife a Hindu in Tangail in Bangladesh who was known for insulting Prophet Muhammad." It did not give further details.
The two other men arrested were a local leader of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami political party and a supporter of its main ally, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Joarder spent two weeks in prison in 2012 after the complaint against him was made. He was released after the complaint was withdrawn.
The authorities said they were investigating whether the 2012 incident was behind the attack on Joarder.
The killing was similar to other recent attacks in Bangladesh on atheist bloggers, academics, religious minorities and most recently a gay rights activist by Muslim extremists.
Five have been killed this year, including the attacks last Monday of Xulhaz Mannan, a U.S. Agency for International Development employee and gay rights activist, and Tonmoi Mahbub, a theater actor. Two days earlier, on April 23, a university professor, A.F.M. Rezaul Karim Siddique, was hacked to death. Nine others were killed last year.
While there have been some arrests — mostly of low-level operatives — there have been no prosecutions so far and authorities have struggled to make any headway in naming those planning the attacks.
Nearly all the attacks have been claimed by international Islamist extremist groups, including the Islamic State group and various affiliates of al-Qaida. The government, however, has denied that these groups have a presence in Bangladesh, and has blamed the violence on the political opposition.