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Hindu man latest victim in series of hacking murders in Bangladesh

A Hindu man has been murdered on the street in Bangladesh. The death of the 50-year-old tailor is the most recent amid a spate of hacking attacks against minorities in the deeply conservative Muslim nation.

Nikhail Chandra Joarder was killed by at least two assailants as he sat on the roadside, according to authorities in the central district of Tangail, where the crime occurred.

"They came on a motorcycle and attacked him as he sat on a roadside. They hacked him on his head, neck and hand," deputy district police chief Aslam Khan told French news agency AFP.

Religious minorities under threat?

Authorities added that they were investigating whether Joarder's death was connected to Islamist militants who are suspected of having carried out a number of similar attacks in recent months. Police officials said that the man had a complaint lodged against him in 2012 by some local Muslims after he allegedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed, but he was released after two weeks in jail after the charge against him was dropped.

Less than a week before Joarder's murder, two

gay rights activists were hacked to death

by Islamist extremists in the capital Dhaka for what the militants called promoting homosexuality. In February, a top Hindu priest was decapitated in the north of the country in an incident claimed by the "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group.

Hindus make up Bangladesh's largest religious minority, accounting for around 10 percent of the country's 160 million inhabitants.

Authorities have managed to arrest some low-level militant operatives following the five hacking deaths so far this year, but police have made little headway in rooting out who is planning the attacks.

es/tj (AP, AFP)