Unidentified assailants slit the throat of the chief imam of the Supreme Court mosque and a presenter of Islamic programmes in two private television channels at his East Rajabazar house in the capital last night.
Shaikh Nurul Islam Faruki, aged around 60, was also international affairs secretary of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, an Islamist group. He also owned a hajj agency, Faruki Tours and Travels Private Ltd.
The motive behind the murder was unclear.
Faruki's wife Lubna, his mother-in-law, nephew Maruf Hossain and a domestic help were tied up.
Of them, Maruf was in Faruki's room while the others were in another room on the first-floor of the four-storey building.
Two of the assailants first entered the house to talk about hajj-related matters, while eight to 10 others soon followed, Maruf said.
Three more persons who had come earlier were already talking to Faruki about hajj-related matters.
The assailants first tied Maruf and the three persons in Faruki's room and then stormed the other room and tied the other members of the family with cloths that they had brought along.
Then they pointed a firearm at Faruki's forehead and held a machete against his throat, demanding Tk 50 lakh. He offered them Tk 1 lakh which he had in his home, but the killers forced him into the dining room, where his body was later found with his throat slit, Maruf said.
As the news spread, about 200 of his followers demonstrated in front of his house around 9:30pm.
Outside the capital, activists of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat and Bangladesh Islami Front blocked roads in several areas in Chittagong and Narayanganj protesting the murder.
Faruki was a presidium member of the Front.
Islami Chhatra Sena, a student wing of Bangladesh Islami Front, will bring out a protest procession from Jatiya Press Club today. It will also block roads in Chittagong and Comilla from 8:00am to 10:00am, said Nurul Haque Chisty, president of the organisation.
The organisation will call a dawn-to-dusk hartal on Sunday if the killers are not arrested by this evening, he told The Daily Star.
Besides, Islami Front will demonstrate across the country at 3:00pm today.
Col Ziaul Ahsan, additional director general of Rapid Action Battalion, who visited the house, told reporters later that it seemed to be a planned murder.
State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan also visited the house. He later told journalists that the culprits would be caught through proper investigation.
For several years, Faruki presented two programmes -- "Shantir Pothe" and "Kafela" -- on Channel i.
Faruki's son Faisal Faruki discovered his father's body in a pool of blood after returning home around 9:30pm. He then untied the others.
Maruf said the two men who first entered the house had also come on Monday afternoon to talk to Faruki about hajj, but Faruki was not home.
Syed Naim Uddin Ahmed, a presidium member of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, said Faruki was always in favour of majars (shrines) and "milads". "But some people do not believe these and were against our organisation. They might be involved in the killing."