Farhad Hossain Chowdhury, a Sufi spiritual leader was shot and killed along with his teenage maid in Bangladesh's northern Dinajpur disctrict, around 350km from capital Dhaka. The incident took place on Monday (13 March), police said.

According to reports, the 55-year-old was shot at his home by unidentified assailants. No group or organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack as yet.

"We are yet to ascertain who carried out the murder," local police chief Arju Mohammad told Reuters and added that they were probing whether the attackers were linked to Islamist militants.

In the recent past, Bangladesh has been witnessing a surge in attacks on spiritual leaders and those from minority religions.

On 10 March, a 65-year-old guard working at a Catholic church was attacked by unidentified men in the Sunni-majority country. Gilbert De Costa was attacked outside the Mathurapur Catholic Church in the northern Bangladeshi district of Panba.

He suffered wounds to his head, legs and hands and was being treated at the government-run hospital in the district. Three people were later arrested in connection with the incident.

In one of the most deadliest attacks in the country on 1 July 2016, a Dhaka cafe had come under siege where in militants who reportedly claimed allegiance to terror group Islamic State shot and killed 22 people – most of them foreigners. Several others were also injured in the attack.

Although, al-Qaeda and Isis have claimed some of the attacks in the country in the past, the government has denied the claims and blamed domestic militant groups for carrying out the attacks.

Bangladesh police
Local police said they were yet to ascertain who carried murdered the Sufi spiritual leader - Image for representation REUTERS/REUTERS TV