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Sunday, September 30, 2012

After Ramu, temples attacked in Patia

Fresh attack is going on at Wakhyong Barua Para in Teknaf upazila under Cox's bazaar district. The attack is started just 07.00 pm (30 Sept).

Source:, Sunday, September 30th, 2012 4:29 pm BdST 

Chittagong, Sep 30 (— Hours after rampaging through a Buddhist village in Cox's Bazaar's Ramu Upazila in the early hours, religious fanatics on Sunday launched attacks on Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries in Patia at noon. 
"The attacks took place between noon and 1:30pm," Acting Officer-in-Charge of the Patia Police Station Aminur Rashid told 
The police officer said the fanatics had carried out the attacks alleging defamation of Prophet Mohammad. 
He said two Hindu temples and two Buddhist viharas were damaged in the attacks. 
According to the accounts of local journalists, several hundred fanatics took out a procession and launched attacks on the Lakhara Abhoy Buddhist Viahar at around noon and set it on fire. 
They also attacked the Kolagaon Rotnangkur Buddhist Vihara, Kolagaon Nobarun Sangha Durga Mandir (temple) and the Matri Mandir at Jele Para, they said. 
The attackers reportedly smashed an ancient Buddhist statue at the Rotnangkur Buddhist Vihara and set fire to a statue of Goddess Durga at the Nobarun Sangha Mandir. The fanatics also set fire to various goods in the temples, according to the newsmen. 
The OC said the situation was calm. "Additional police forces and members of the RAB have been deployed at the scene to avert further tension," he added. 
Meanwhile, tension is running high among the locals following the attacks. Top administrators and local MP Shamsul Hoque Chowdhury were present at the spot. 
Earlier on Sunday, a mob torched and vandalised a Buddhist village in Cox's Bazaar's Ramu Upazila in one of the worst religious attacks in Bangladesh which appeared to have been triggered by a Facebook posting allegedly defaming the Quran. 
Seven Buddhist Viharas, around 30 houses and shops were torched in the attacks that started at 11:30am on Saturday lasted until around 4am on Sunday. More than a hundred houses and shops were also reportedly attacked, vandalised and ransacked.

Temple attacks premeditated, deliberate: MKA

Source: The Daily Star

15 monasteries torched in Ramu, Ctg; 50 Buddhist houses vandalised and Sec 144 imposed in Ramu; ministers MKA, Dilip in Ramu; Violence shocked PM

Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir on Sunday said that the violence in Ramu of Cox's Bazar centring an anti-Islam photo on facebook is 'premeditated and deliberate act of communal violence against a minority'.
“We found evidences of gunpowder and petrol in Saturday’s arson of the Buddhist monasteries and houses,” the minister said while addressing an impromptu rally at Choumuhani intersection in Ramu around 2:00pm.
Alamgir and Industries Minister Dilip Barua, accompanied by local Awami League leaders, visited the spots of violence shortly after their arrival in Ramu around 10:00am.
“We have been informed that police and fire services were inactive during the arson,” said the minister adding that a committee, chaired by the additional divisional commissioner in Chittagong, is soon to be formed to investigate whether the law enforcers remained inactive.
Alamgir, in his speech, also promised to rebuild the Buddhist monasteries and temples and compensate the victims whose houses were destroyed.
The minister assured that the miscreants who stirred the violence would be traced and brought to book within 15 days.
Also addressing the rally, Industries Minister Dilip Barua said that in 1971 the country was liberated to establish a secular state. “The unprecedented events in Ramu have tarnished its reputation and our belief in secularism,” he said.
Barua also assured the locals that incidents like these would not recur. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also expressed concern about the incident, Alamgir told the rally.
On Sunday morning, Cox’s Bazar district administration imposed section 144 in Ramu after mobs destroyed 12 monasteries and 50 houses there late Saturday following posting of an alleged defamation of the Qur’an on a facebook account of a local Buddhist person.
Selim Md Jahangir, the superintendent of police (SP) of Cox’s Bazar said that three of the Buddhist temples were totally gutted.
The violence spread to Chittagong on Sunday morning as mobs vandalised and torched one Hindu and two more Buddhist temples in Kolagaon union of Patiya between 11:30am and 12noon, our Chittagong correspondent confirmed quoting Nazrul Islam, assistant superintendent of police (ASP) of Patiya Circle.
Quoting Uttom Kumar Barua, the owner of the facebook account, police said the photo was mistakenly tagged on his profile. Soon after the violence broke out, Uttom's facebook account was closed and police escorted him and his mother to safety, said the SP.
Uttom is son of one Supto Barua of Baruapara in Ramu upazila.
Regarding Saturday night’s incident in Cox’s Bazar, police and witnesses said, after news spread about the defaming picture on facebook, hundreds of people thronged to Chowmuhani area of Ramu and staged demonstration in protest around 10:00pm.
In a bid to control the situation, police from Ramu upazila tried to cordon the area off but were soon outnumbered and pushed back.
Around 11:00pm, riot police and Rab arrived on the spot but by then hundreds of people set ablaze Buddhist households in Baruapara of the upazila that kept burning until around 2:00am.
Police and witnesses said, around 12:30 am, a mob torched a 250-year old Buddhist temple on Cheranghata road and then set ablaze Borokang Buddha Bihar and Kendriyo Shima Bihar. Angry mob also vandalised Baruapara Buddhist temple at Srikul in Ramu.
Buddhist people started to flee their homes as the fire services failed to reach the spot amid increasing violence around 1:00am.
With the help of police, the fire services managed to douse the blaze around 2:30am but the temples and the houses were already gutted by then.
Around 3:30am, BGB, Rab and police managed to quell the violence and take control of the situation with the help of the eminent local persons including the lawmaker Lutfur Rahman Kajal, Ramu upazila parishad chairman Sohel Sarwar Kajal.
Since Sunday morning army, BGB, Rab and police have been guarding all the 27 Buddhist monasteries and temples in Ramu while police forces have been deployed in all other areas where the violence broke out.
However police were unable to confirm the number of injured persons as most Buddhist people have been in hiding since Saturday night.
While talking to The Daily Star at his ministry, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu said some identified communal forces were involved with the incident.
The situation is now under control, Inu said.

Cox’s Bazar violence: 6 pagodas burnt down, 100 houses vandalised

Source: The Independent

Ministers warn perpetrators of strict consequences

COX'S BAZAR: Authorities imposed section 144 (ban on gatherings) in the district’s Ramu upazila for an indefinite period hours after a group of people rampaged through a village of Buddhists in the area in early hours of Sunday.
A mob comprises of around 25,000 people, angered by a photograph posted in Facebook, torched dozens of homes of the Buddhist community and vandalised six 100-year-old pagodas as a sectarian violence broke out at Merunloa village in Ramu upazila here Saturday night.
Officer-in-charge (OC) of Ramu Police Station Nazibul Alam said the clash continued in the area from 11:15pm to 2:30am Sunday after a youth reportedly posted a photograph disgracing the holy Qur’an on the wall of his Facebook page.
Apprehending escalation of the sectarian violence, Upazila Nirbhahi Officer (UNO) Debi Chando slapped the ban on gathering as tension heightened in the area.
Earlier, hundreds of people stormed the houses of Buddhists at Baruapara in the upazila headquarters after they came to know about the photograph reportedly posted by Uttam Kumar Barua, 24.
Police took Uttam Kumar, a resident of Baruapara, into custody in an effort to quell the situation.
Lawmaker of Cox’s Bazar-3 constituency Lutfar Rahman Kajal, Ramu Upazila council Chairman Sohel Sarwar Kazal and Ramu Police Station officer-in-charge along with several platoons of police cordoned off Baruapara and were trying to pacify the Muslims who were vandalising, torching and looting the houses of Baruas (local terms for Buddhists) in retaliation for posting the blasphemous picture on the Facebook of Uttam Kumar Barua, also an assistant deed writer.
It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties, and authorities did not say if any of the rioters were arrested but Ramu OC said four people were injured in the midnight mayhem adding that the Buddhists got panicked and were leaving their houses for safer places.
With the help of police, the fire services managed to douse the blaze around 2:30am but the temples and the houses were already gutted by then.
Around 3:30am, units of Border Guard Bangladesh, Rapid Action Battalion, and police managed to quell the violence and take control of the situation.
Many Buddhist men and women along with their children have taken shelter either in and around the police station and its outpost or neighbouring houses to escape the wraths of Muslims.
“I left my house with my wife and children as angry Muslims stormed into my house with sticks and machetes, and started ransacking it. They also tried to torch it,” one witness Sunil Barua, 40, a businessman and resident of Baruapara said.
He along with his panic-stricken wife and children took shelter in the house of another Muslim man who is known to him.
Additional police have been called in from Cox`s Bazar town and other parts of the district to keep the situation under control.
"At least 100 houses were damaged. We called in army and border guards to quell the violence," Cox’s Bazar District Commissioner Joinul Bari told news agency AFP
Commerce Minister Dilip Barua, Home Minister MK Alamgir, and Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker visited the trouble-stricken area in the morning.
Later during an impromptu rally, MK Alamgir termed the violence ‘premeditated and deliberate act of communal violence against a minority.’
The minister said a committee, chaired by the additional divisional commissioner in Chittagong, is soon to be formed to investigate whether the law enforcers have performed their duty accordinly.
Alamgir, in his speech, also promised to rebuild the Buddhist monasteries and temples and compensate the victims whose houses were destroyed and bring the culprits to book within 15 days.
Barua, himself a Buddhist, warned perpetrators of strict consequence if anyone tries to violate congenial atmosphere between the two religious communities.
During exchanging views with reporters in the afternoon, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu said an identified vested quarter is behind Saturday’s sectarian violence in Ramu of Cox’s Bazar district and it was done to create a political instability in the country.
“This is an isolated incident …it was done by a vested quarter to destabilise the country,” he told reporters at his Secretariat office in the afternoon.
Claming that the situation is now under control, Inu said it will not be possible for the trouble mongers to destroy the communal harmony between the Muslims and other communities in the country.
Buddhists, who make up less than one percent of Bangladesh's 153 million population, are based mainly in southeastern districts, close to the border with Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Sectarian tensions have been running high since June when deadly clashes erupted between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar's western Rakhine state.
Although Bangladesh, where nearly 90 percent people are Muslims, has witnessed deadly clashes between Muslims and Hindus in the past, sectarian clashes involving Buddhists are rare.
In recent weeks tens of thousands of Muslims have hit the street across the country to protest a US-made anti-Islam mocking the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).