Three elderly Bauls, including two women, were critically injured in a machete attack in Bangladesh. Bauls are a syncretic religious group of Sufis who practice a tradition of mystical singing. Bauls are unique to the Bengal region of Bangladesh and neighboring parts of India.
Between eight and 10 men burst into the Akhra building where the Bauls were living at around midnight on Sunday, in a village near the border with India. They set upon the sleeping Sufis and beat them with machetes, metal rods and sticks.
"Rashida Khatun, 60, Abdur Rahim, 65, and his wife Bulu Begum, 50, were evacuated to a nearby hospital with critical injuries. Other Bauls managed to flee. The miscreants were equipped with bamboo sticks and machetes as they attacked the 'Akhra'," a police officer at the scene told the media. "Three of the singers were injured in the assault as they were asleep."
Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, it is thought to have been carried out by Islamist extremists. Bangladesh has seen a wave of attacks against religious minorities over the past two years, along with targeted killings of secular thinkers and prominent anti-Islamists.
Bangladeshi police have been investigating university professors and high-school teachers educators in the country who have reportedly have been teaching radical beliefs, including inciting terrorism against non-Muslims.
A former professor at the country's prestigious North South University in Dhaka, Hasnat Karim, was detained after the massacre at the Holey Bakery after he was allowed to leave unharmed and reportedly was seen strolling and talking with the jihadists.
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