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Academic's murder sparks Hindu protest

Academic's murder sparks Hindu protest

Author: Alastair Lawson in Dhaka
Publication: BBC News
Date: November 24, 2001

Minority Hindus in the southern Bangladeshi port city of Chittagong have staged a violent protest following the murder of a prominent university professor.

The professor, Gopal Krishna Mahuri, was shot dead at point-blank range on Friday by unidentified assailants.

His killers escaped after the shooting.

Protesters said he was killed because he was a Hindu, but it was unclear if the murder was connected to the persecution of Bangladeshi Hindus since the election.

Violent mob

The murder of Professor Mahuri coincided with a visit to Chittagong by Bangladeshi Home Minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury.

Violence flared when Mr Chowdhury and another minister went to the murdered professor's home to express their condolences.

The officials were met by a predominantly Hindu mob, who were only dispersed by police with batons.

The government has stressed the country's minority Hindu community has not been targeted since the new government, which contains two hard-line Muslim parties, was elected last month.

But rights groups in India say they have documented widespread atrocities committed by Muslim radicals against the Hindu community.


Violence on university campuses is commonplace in Bangladesh, and Professor Mahuri's murder may not have been connected to recent events.

Yet there is little doubt that many in the Hindu community do feel frightened at the moment.

The government strenuously insists that few people in Bangladesh are attacked because of their faith.

But the family of the dead professor say that he was unpopular with the hardline Jammat-i-Islami party because he refused to allow them and other political parties to practise student politics on the campus where he worked.

Professor Mahuri was a widely respected academic who had taught at Nazirhat College in Chittagong for more than 35 years.

Recently he delayed his retirement to be principal of the college, which has about 3,000 students.

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