‘Pir’ held over murders of Sufi leader, daughter in Bangladesh

Over a dozen Sufi Muslims have been found with their throats slit in Bangladesh since 2013. The authorities blamed homegrown Islamist extremists for the killings.

By: PTI | Dhaka | Published: March 15, 2017 8:53 pm
Bangladeshi policemen and local media personnel stand at a shrine where unknown assailants shot and hacked to death a Sufi spiritual leader and his adopted daughter in Dinajpur district, Bangladesh, Tuesday, March 14, 2017.(AP Photo)

A 57-year-old ‘Pir’ was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly killing a Sufi spiritual leader and his daughter in Bangladesh, amid a series of systematic assaults targeting minorities, Sufis and bloggers in the Muslim-majority nation. Eshaq Ali, who is also a Pir or a Sufi spiritual leader, was arrested from his home in Bhurungamari Upazila, said Kurhigram Additional Superintendent of Police Menhazul Alam.

The motive behind the murders was not immediately known, police said. Farhad Hossain Chowdhury, 72, and his adopted daughter Rupali Begum, 22, were found murdered on Monday in a Khanqah — a building designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood — close to the man’s home in Dinajpur’s Bochaganj upazila, about 350 kilometres north of Dhaka, police said.

“Both of them had bullet marks on their bodies and the young woman’s neck was slit with a sharp weapon,” Dhaka Tribune reported.

Police said there was a power cut in the area when the incident took place.

Farhad, a Pir or Sufi spiritual leader, was also the former president of Setabganj municipality unit of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which is headed by former prime minister Khaleda Zia.

Bochaganj police station Officer-in-Charge Habibul Haque said the case was under investigation. Haque said that there had been no immediate clues to the means and motives of the murder.

There have been systematic assaults in Bangladesh in recent years specially targeting minorities, secular bloggers, intellectuals and foreigners.

Over a dozen Sufi Muslims have been found with their throats slit in Bangladesh since 2013. The authorities blamed homegrown Islamist extremists for the killings.

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