St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Mothurapur, 2014
Photo: ucanews

Police have brushed aside accusations that Islamic extremism is behind the stabbing of a church security guard in northern Bangladesh, saying the guard had a “personal feud” with his attackers, reports UCANews.

Local Catholics, however, have refused to accept the police’s explanation for the incident at St Rita’s church in Mothurapur, western Bangladesh.

“Night guard Gilbert Costa said the attackers asked for the keys to the priests’ rectory and nuns’ convent and they stabbed him for refusing to hand them over,” parish priest Father Dilip S Costa said. “I question why the attackers chose church premises to carry out the violence.”

According to a report released earlier this year by the Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Unity Council – the country’s largest minority-rights forum – violence against religious and ethnic minorities is rising. There were five times more incidents of violent abuse in 2016 than in 2015, the report says. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for many attacks carried out in Bangladesh, although the country’s government denies the group has a presence there.