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Bangladesh: Court orders death penalty to 4 radical Islamists, including one ‘Rajib Gandhi’, for murdering Hindu priest in 2016

Roy was the Head Priest at the Santo Gaurio Temple in the northern district’s Debiganj Upazila. His throat was slit and was hacked to death with sharp weapons while conducting religious rites in the temple on February 21, 2016.

Four men belonging to the radical Islamist terror outfit, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), had been sentenced to death on Sunday by a Rajshahi court for murdering a Hindu priest, Jagneshwar Roy, in 2016 in Panchgarh, Rangpur division of Bangladesh.

Roy was the Head Priest at the Santo Gaurio Temple in the northern district’s Debiganj Upazila. His throat was slit and was hacked to death with sharp weapons while conducting religious rites in the temple on February 21, 2016. A devotee, Gopal Chandra Roy, was also shot and wounded during the attack. Two other followers were also injured. The convicts had fired shots and used IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) while fleeing the crime scene.

The convicted radical Islamists include Jahangir Hossain alias ‘Rajib Gandhi’, Rajibul Islam Molla, Alamgir Hossain and Ramzan Ali. Rajibul is still on the run. Three other accused, namely, Harej Ali, Khalilur Rahman and Md Rana had been acquitted as the charges against them could not be proved. Jahangir Hossain was also involved in the 2016 terrorist attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka that claimed 29 lives.

The verdict was handed by Judge Anup Kumar. The four had also been sentenced to additional 5 and 10 years imprisonment under in two additional cases related to possession of arms and explosives. A case was filed by Rabindranath Roy, elder brother of the Hindu Priest, against ten people. Four of them were neutralised during encounters conducted by law enforcement agencies.

Atrocities against Hindus are not new to Bangladesh. In 2017, a violent mob set ablaze 30 Hindu homes at Thakurbari village in Rangpur Sadar Upazila of Bangladesh. This village is about 300 kilometres from Dhaka. The mob carried out such a violent attack after it was angered by a supposedly defamatory Facebook by a Hindu resident of that village.

The police intervened in this matter after the mob had burnt 30 Hindu houses apart from vandalising and looting a sizeable number of houses. In the subsequent police action, 6 people were injured and later one youth named Hamidul Islam succumbed to his injuries. A total of 33 people have been detained in connection with this whole incident.

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