A Bangladeshi newspaper reports three people have been detained in connection with the hacking death of a 50-year-old Hindu tailor.
The Daily Star said Sunday one of the detainees had sued Nikhil Chandra Joardar in 2012 for his "derogatory comments" about the Prophet Muhammad.
The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the attack on the tailor in central Bangladesh, the U.S.-based monitoring organization SITE Intelligence Group said.
At least two machete-wielding assailants appeared in front of Joardar's tailoring shop in Tangail district’s Dubail village and attacked him around noon Saturday, authorities said. The men fled on a motorbike.
According to SITE, IS claimed to have killed Joardar because he had “blasphemed” The Prophet Muhammad.
In 2012, Joardar was beaten up by local Muslims who alleged he had abused the prophet in a comment.
“Following complaint from Muslims, Joardar was arrested and spent about a month in jail. The attack on him with machetes resembles the previous killings of the [secular] bloggers and activists,” Aslam Khan, a local police official, told VOA by phone.
“We are going to investigate if his killing had any connection with the incidents of 2012.”
Police have not confirmed if any militant group was involved in this killing, Khan added.
Joardar’s killing Saturday marks Bangladesh's fifth fatal hacking case in April in which Islamist extremists are suspected to have been involved.
After a law student known for his secular views was hacked to death in early April, a university teacher was killed in a machete attack. On Monday, two LGBT rights activists, one of whom was a U.S. embassy employee, were murdered in Dhaka by a machete-wielding gang.
IS claim refuted
IS has claimed responsibility following several killings of secular bloggers and activists. Authorities in Bangladesh, however, have maintained that the Sunni terrorist group has no foothold in the country and local home-grown militants engineered all of the killings.
Saturday, Bangladesh’s home minister, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, said the IS’s claim it killed Joardar was baseless.
“Home-grown militants are the killers here. The claim that Islamic State is behind such killings is a part of conspiracy,” Kamal said.
Earlier in the week, referring to the series of killings, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that they were being engineered by the opposition alliance led by Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally, Jamaat-e-Islami.
Top leaders of BNP, however, have dismissed the charge by Sheikh Hasina.
“For political reasons, the (Hasina-led) government is shielding the criminals behind these killings and slapping the blame on the opposition alliance. BNP has no connection with terrorism and such killings,” Nazrul Islam Khan, a national standing committee member of BNP, told VOA.
Former university professor Ajoy Roy, father of Bangladeshi-American secular blogger Avijit Roy who was hacked to death by Islamist militants in Dhaka last year, alleged that the government is not aggressively investigating the cases of the past killings.
Fern Robinson contributed to this report.