A Hindu trader was murdered by unknown assailants inside his shop in Gaibandha's Gobindaganj upazila yesterday.
Like on other days, deceased Debesh Chandra Pramanik, 66, opened his shoe shop at Mahimaganj Bazar around 6:00am after offering puja, said police and family members.
Ananda Rani, 48, widow of Debesh, said she went to the shop around an hour later after taking a walk in the locality early in the morning, something she always did.
“I noticed four youths hurriedly leaving the area,” she added.
Sensing something was wrong, she rushed to the shop only to find her husband lying in a pool of blood.
He was stabbed in the neck and his throat was slit, said Mozammel Haque, officer-in-charge of Gobindaganj Police Station.
As Ananda cried for help, locals rushed to the spot and informed police who recovered the body and sent it to Gaibandha Sadar Hospital morgue for an autopsy.
Law enforcers picked up Nipen Chandra in this connection.
Hours after the killing, global terror outfit Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack in an online post, says US-based SITE Intelligent Group that monitors terrorist activities globally.
Referring to Amaq News Agency, the media wing of IS, the post says “IS fighters stabbed to death a Hindu businessman in Gaibandh [sic] in northern Bangladesh.”
The Daily Star could not independently verify the IS claim.
In an interview with Reuters, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said Islamic State was trying to ride a wave of religious radicalisation by “falsely claiming” a spate of killings in Bangladesh.
On May 20, suspected militants killed homeopath Sanaur Rahman and seriously injured his friend Saifuzzaman in Kushtia. Before that, Buddhist monk Shwe U Chak was killed in Naikkhangchhari of Bandarban and Sufi practitioner Shahidullah in Tanore of Rajshahi.
Debesh's family members said he had no enmity with anyone in the area. However, they claimed that Debesh had an altercation with some local drug addicts a month ago.
Following a case filed by the victim's wife with Gobindaganj Police Station, police arrested Nipen in the area around noon, said OC Mozammel.
Nipen, 34, is known as a drug addict.
Police, however, said during primary interrogation he denied his involvement in the killing.
Ananda had noticed four youths, including Nipen, coming out of the shop and hurriedly leaving, they added.
Debesh's shop is adjacent to his ancestral house in the bazaar where the family has been living for years.
Ashraful Islam, superintendent of police in Gaibandha, said they were working to find the motive behind the killing.
Asked about the IS claim, the SP said they were unaware about the claim but would verify it during investigation.
A father of five, Debesh married off his four daughters, and his only son Debashish Chandra is an undergraduate at a college in Bogra.
Hrishikesh Ghosh, a former member of Mahimaganj Union Parishad, urged the authorities not to take the incident lightly. He said another Hindu trader was killed in similar fashion in the area a couple of months ago.
Meanwhile, traders of Mahimaganj Bazar kept their shops closed for several hours until yesterday evening, protesting the murder and demanding trial of the killer(s).
Our Gaibandha correspondent contributed to this report.