A Hindu priest has been hacked to death at a temple in Bangladesh, police and senior administrative officials said.

Shaymanonda Das, 45, was killed on Friday in the Jhinaidah district, 300km south west of the capital, Dhaka.

"He was preparing morning prayers with flowers at the temple early in the morning and three young people came by on a motorbike, killed him with machetes and fled away," Mahbubur Rahman, the head of the local administration, said.

"The nature of killing was similar with the local militants, but we cannot say more at the moment," Mahbubur told the Reuters news agency.


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Police said they did not know the motive behind the killing and that a local member of the Jamaat-e-Islami group had been arrested.

Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people, has seen a surge in violent attacks in recent months on liberal activists, members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups.

Al Jazeera's Maher Sattar, reporting from Dhaka, said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and al-Qaeda have claimed responsibility for some of the recent killings but officials deny that those groups have any involvement and blame local organisations.

"The characteristics of the murder - three men on a motor cycle, hacking to death, these are similar to a number of attacks that have taken place in Bangladesh over the past few years," he said.

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"Hindus are the largest minority group in Bangladesh and comprise about nine percent of the population. But this is a number that has dwindled since Bangladesh was formed and many Hindus we've been told have tried to make their way to India or are thinking about what their future might be."

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies