A Christian priest in Bangladesh has survived an attempt on his life by three suspected Islamists who attacked him in his house after pretending to want to learn about Christianity, days after two foreigners were killed by armed men in attacks claimed by ISIS terror group.
52-year-old Luke Sarker, the pastor of Faith Bible Church, suffered injuries when three men yesterday attacked him with a knife and tried to slit his throat at his home in the northwestern district of Pabna, police said.
The attackers aged 25-30 had entered the pastor’s house pretending to be enthusiastic learner of Christianity.
The assailants fled the scene leaving behind their motorbike as people in the neighbourhood rushed when Sarker, also a homeopath practitioner, screamed for help.
Police said the attackers are yet to be identified but suspect they could be members of a fundamentalist group.
“We have launched an investigation. Until now it appears to be part of an effort to create political unrest,” special superintendent of police’s criminal investigation department Shahriar Rahman Kajol told PTI.
The motorbike left by the attackers outside the house was carrying a registration number having a fake address, Kajol said.
Sarker had joined as a pastor of a local church three months ago and used to depend on the meager donation of the church and his homeopathy practice.
The attack on the pastor came a week after an Italian and a Japanese were killed in the country facing violence by hard-line Islamic groups.
A Japanese businessman Hosi Koniyo was gunned down on October 3 in northwestern Rangpur five days after an Italian aid official Cesare Tavella was killed in the capital Dhaka sparking an international uproar.
The fatal attacks on the two foreigners were claimed by Islamic State group though it was refuted by Bangladesh’s government, which tended to blame the Opposition for trying to destabilise the country.
“We do not have any proof if the three incidents were inter-related but the situation suggests that all these attacks were part of an orchestrated campaign to create instability in Bangladesh as none of the victims had any enmity to anyone,” a senior officer at police headquarters in Dhaka said.
The attacks have prompted Bangladesh to enforce an apparently unprecedented security vigil particularly in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic zone and up market areas where the foreigners live.
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