A Christian grocer was hacked to death by unidentified men near a church in North West Bangladesh on 5 June, police said. Shafiqul Islam, Deputy police chief of Natore district told AFP, "Sunil Gomes [the victim] was hacked to death at his grocery store just near a church at Bonpara village."

Another inspector said that the motive behind the murder of the 65-year-old man was unclear. The incident follows the murder of Mahmuda Begum, the wife of a senior police officer, who was stabbed and shot in the head in the southeastern city of Chittagong, Al Jazeera reported.

In the recent past, Bangladesh has witnessed a surge in attacks on academics, activists and religious minorities including Hindus and Buddhists. Last week, a Hindu trader had been hacked to death, prior to that a homeopath and a Buddhist monk were also murdered.

Police said that home grown Islamists have killed more than 40 people in the last three years. Extremist organisations like Islamic State (Isis) and Al- Qaeda's South Asia wing have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks, but the government has denied their presence in the country.

Meanwhile, Chittagong Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner said, "Three unidentified men stabbed and then shot Mahmuda Begum in the head as she walked her son to a school bus stop near her home." Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan reportedly said that the police officer's wife was murdered as revenge for his role in tracking down militants.

He added, "Babul Akter [the police officer] is a skilled and honest officer who played vital roles in combating militants. That's why they killed his wife as they could not find him."