Volunteer at Hindu Ashram in Bangladesh is Hacked to Death

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A Hindu man was hacked to death in northern Bangladesh on Friday, the latest in a string of such killings in the country.

Nityaranjan Pandey

The victim, Nityaranjan Pandey, a volunteer at a Hindu ashram in the district of Pabna, was taking a walk early Friday morning when he was attacked by unknown assailants, said Abdullah Al Hassan, the officer in charge of the Pabna Sadar police station.Mr. Pandey, about 60, had been a volunteer at the Sree Sree Thakur Anukulchandra Satsang ashram, Mr. Hassan said. He joined the ashram roughly 35 years ago and was a volunteer priest, said Tapas Kumar Roy, a priest at the ashram.

“We did not find any witness of this criminal incident, so we don’t have any more details,” Mr. Hassan said. “We found two deep wounds of hacking on the neck of Pandey.”

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and Mr. Hassan said the police had no suspects.

“Pandey was a person who preferred to live alone, like an isolated person,” said Mr. Roy, who added that Mr. Pandey had not received any threats and that the ashram had never had any problems with local residents. “He used to stay away from any kind of problem.”

For years, similar attacks in Bangladesh have been directed at secular bloggers and intellectuals, but more recently the assaults have targeted other groups, including religious minorities, gay rights activists and foreigners. Often, they have been carried out with machetes in public places. On Tuesday, a Hindu priest was killedin the country’s southwest while riding his bicycle.

Both the Islamic State and a branch of Al Qaeda have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, according to statements attributed to them by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist activity online. But the authorities in Bangladesh have denied the presence in the country of foreign militants, and the police have said they suspect Islamist militants operating inside Bangladesh were behind many of the attacks.

On Thursday, the police in Dhaka, the capital, announced that they would begin a weeklong crackdown on militants on Friday, conducting raids throughout the country, according to The Daily Star, an English-language newspaper.

Nida Najar contributed reporting from New Delhi.