A Christian businessman and the wife of a senior policeman have become the latest victims of attacks on minorities and secular activists in Bangladesh. Sunil Gomes, 65, was hacked to death by unidentified machete-wielding assailants near a church. His death came hours after 33-year-old Mahmuda Aktar, the wife of a senior anti-terror police officer, was gunned down purportedly by religious extremists, PTI reported.
Gomes was found dead inside his grocery store on Sunday afternoon in Notore district, police superintendent Shyamal Mukherjee said, adding that the attackers fled the scene immediately after murdering him inside his shop near a church in the suburbs. Police are not certain about the motive behind his murder yet.
Mahmuda Aktar, the wife of Superintendent of Police Babul Aktar who has played a key role in catching militants and raiding their hideouts, was stabbed and shot dead by three motorcycle-borne assailants in Chittagong. The incident took place early on Sunday in front of her 6-year-old son, when she was on her way to drop him to a nearby bus stop. “Since Babul Aktar was in counter-terrorism, we suspect that militants are behind the murder of his wife,” Detective Branch Deputy Commissioner Moktar Ahmed said.
There has been a rise in the deaths of secular writers and activists in Bangladesh over the last year. On April 25, a senior editor working with Bangladesh’s first LGBT magazine Roopbaan was among two people hacked to death in Dhaka. A Bangladeshi student, who posted against Islamism on Facebook, was hacked and shot dead on April 6. Two years ago, another professor at the university, AKM Shafiul, was murdered. In 2015, four secular bloggers were killed.