Buddhist monk killed in Bangladesh

75-year-old Maung Shue U. Chak had received death threats, says a leading human rights lawyer

TRIBUTE IN U.S.:A candlelight march in Washington D.C. in memory of bloggers and minorities killed in Bangladesh. —PHOTO: PTI


TRIBUTE IN U.S.:A candlelight march in Washington D.C. in memory of bloggers and minorities killed in Bangladesh. —PHOTO: PTI

An elderly Buddhist monk was found hacked to death on Saturday in Bangladesh, police said, the latest in a spate of murders of religious minorities and secular activists in the Muslim-majority nation.

No group has yet claimed responsibility, although the killing in the remote southeastern district of Bandarban appeared to bear a resemblance to several recent murders by suspected Islamist militants. A troubling rise in violence in the South Asian nation has now seen seven murders since the start of last month alone.

Hacked to death

“Villagers found Bhante [monk] Maung Shue U. Chak’s dead body in a pool of blood inside the Buddhist temple this morning. He was hacked to death,” said Jashim Uddin, deputy police chief of Bandarban. He said the monk (75) appeared to have been attacked by at least four people at the Buddhist temple in Baishari, some 350 km southeast of Dhaka early on Saturday morning. He said Mr. U. Chak was living alone in the hillside temple after having recently left farming to become a full-time monk.

A top Bangladeshi human rights lawyer who is close to the country’s Buddhist community told AFP that Mr. U. Chak had received anonymous death threats. “He became a monk just one and a half years ago. He had received death threats, but nobody took it seriously,” lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua said. Bandarban is largely Buddhist, home to indigenous peoples who adopted the religion centuries ago.

Police district sub-inspector Anisur Rahman, who was at the scene, said that officers had not yet established a motive for the killing but that “it appeared the monk did not have any personal enemies”.

The killing comes as suspected Islamists have been blamed for or claimed responsibility in dozens of murders of minority Sufi, Shia and Ahmadi Muslims, Hindus, Christians and foreigners in recent years.

Saturday’s murder adds to a grim toll in past weeks, with an atheist student, two gay rights activists, a liberal professor, a Hindu tailor and a Sufi Muslim leader hacked to death since last month.

Clashes had broken out earlier in the week after Jamaat-e-Islami called a nationwide strike to protest against the execution of its leader Motiur Rahman Nizami for war crimes. — AFP