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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Priest killed in Bangladesh
Bangladesh policemen
The killing is the latest in a series of high-profile murders
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By Alastair Lawson
BBC correspondent in Dhaka

A Hindu priest has been murdered in Bangladesh just days after the killing of a prominent Buddhist monk sparked outrage.

The priest was dragged from his temple in the south-east of the country by a group of people who tied him to a tree before stabbing him to death.

Police say there is no clear motive for the attack, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the monk's murder last Monday in the coastal city of Chittagong.

He was attacked in his monastery by more than 20 armed men before being tied up and stabbed.

So far, there is no suggestion that religious minorities in Muslim majority Bangladesh are being targeted.

But the two murders are certain to increase fears that the government is not properly controlling law and order.

It is reported that both men could also have been victims of an extortion racket, but there is little concrete evidence to support this.

The chief priest was murdered less than 100 miles away from Chittagong.

He looked after a well-known Hindu temple in the Chagarachari district of the Chittagong hill tracks, an area populated by tribals.

Tough talk

The murder of the monk triggered angry protests last week among the Buddhist community of Chittagong.

They complained that the authorities were not doing enough to prevent violent crime.

The government came to power last year pledging to put an end to increasing lawlessness in Bangladesh.

There have been a series of other high-profile murders over the last few months, the majority of which have not been solved by the police.

Victims come from all sectors of society, and have included schoolchildren and middle class professionals.

The government says that it intends to stop a further breakdown of law and order by recruiting 5,000 more policemen.

It has also said that it will impose lengthier jail sentences on anyone found guilty of committing violent crime.

Ministers argue that it will take time for things to improve, because the previous government allowed crime to spiral out of control.

See also:

23 Apr 02 | South Asia
Protests over Bangladesh monk's murder
02 Apr 02 | South Asia
Bangladesh changes security law
11 Mar 02 | South Asia
Bangladesh law and order promise
16 Feb 02 | South Asia
Bangladesh cracks down on crime
10 Dec 01 | South Asia
Dhaka lynchings spread alarm
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