Bangladesh policemen
A 70-year-old Hindu priest is hacked to death in western Bangladesh (representational image)MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images

A 70-year-old Hindu priest identified as Ananda Gopal Ganguly was found slaughtered in western Bangladesh on 7 June, Tuesday, according to the police.

Assistant superintendent of Jhenidah police Gopinath Kanti Lal was quoted by AFP as saying, "The pattern of the killing is similar to ones carried out by local Islamist militants in recent time."

The superintendent told The Daily Star that the priest was riding a bicycle to Naldanga Bazar to perform puja when he was attacked around 9:30am.

"Later farmers found his near-decapitated body in a rice field. We do not know the identity of the killers. His body was found in an isolated area and we do not believe there are any witnesses to the killing," AFP reported him as saying.

Bangladesh is reeling from a wave of attacks on religious minorities, secular bloggers, activists and academics. On 5 June, a Christian grocer was hacked to death in Natore district. On the same day, the wife of a senior anti-terror police officer was murdered in Chittagong.

On 6 June, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan blamed the spate of killings in the country in recent months on an Israel-led "international conspiracy".

Terrorist organisations like Islamic State (Isis) and Al-Qaeda's South Asian wing have claimed some of the attacks in the past but the government denies their presence in the country. Police said that at least 40 people were killed in the last three years by home grown Islamists.

In April, a Hindu tailor, Nikhil Joarder, was hacked to death by two unknown men in Central Bangladesh. An Italian Catholic priest was shot dead in the north of the country last year. Shortly after the attack, in the north western region, some attackers tried to slit the throat of a pastor.