Rajshahi college
Rajshahi collegeWikimedia Commons/Musfiq Munna

The academic fraternity of Bangladesh's Rajshahi University protested against the brutal murder of a professor by suspected Islamic militants on Saturday. Rajshahi University professor AFM Rezaul Karim Siddiquee was murdered near his home by unidentified people early on April 23.

Siddiquee is the sixth intellectual since 2015 to have been killed in the country.

"His neck was hacked at least three times and was 70-80 percent slit. By examining the nature of the attack, we suspect that it was carried out by extremist groups," Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mohammad Shamsuddin told Agence France Presse.

According to Bangladesh News 24, the assailants attacked the English literature professor with a sharp weapon at the Battala Crossing in Salbagan area of Rajshahi city, Bolia police station Officer-in-Charge Shahdat Hossain said. 

The police have not identified the assailants yet. However, they have said that the pattern of the killing was similar to earlier murders carried out by radical Islamic militants in the country.

The professor was involved in promoting dance, music and culture, and he had also set up a school at a former stronghold of Islamist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Nahidul Islam, a deputy commissioner of police, told AFP.

Various teachers' and students' associations took out processions on Saturday in the Rajshahi University after the professor was hacked. They condemned the attack and demanded "proper investigation into the murder," according to the Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh has gained notoriety for several such attacks on secular bloggers, intellectuals, minorities and foreigners in the last one year. A law student, who did not hesitate to publicly criticise radical Islam, was hacked to death in Dhaka earlier this month.

While confirming the Islamic State group's presence in the country, its Bangladesh "amir" said that the country was a crucial site from where attacks into other South Asian countries could be launched.