2012 Ramu violence

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The 2012 Ramu violence refers to a series of attacks on Buddhist monasteries, shrines, and houses of Buddhist inhabitants in Ramu Upazila[1] in Cox's Bazar District[2] in Bangladesh by local mobs on the midnight past 29 September 2012. The mobs destroyed 12 Buddhist temples and monasteries and 50 houses in reaction to a tagging of an image depicting the desecration of a Quran on the timeline of a fake Facebook account under a Buddhist male name.[3][4] The actual posting of the photo was not done by the Buddhist who was falsely slandered.[5] The Buddhist was innocent of the accusation.[6] The violence later spread to Ukhia Upazila in Cox's Bazar District[7] and Patiya Upazila in Chittagong District where Buddhist monasteries, Sikh Gurudwaras[citation needed] and Hindu temples were targeted for attacks.

An estimated 25,000 people[8] participated in the violence directed at Buddhists and over 300 people were arrested in connection to the attacks.

Background[edit]

An image depicting the desecration of a Quran was posted on the wall of one Uttam Kumar Barua's Facebook profile by an unidentified person using a pseudonym. Coincidentally, Uttam Kumar Barua, a resident of Ramu in Cox's Bazar District and an employee of the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries, happened to be a Buddhist by faith.

Some local residents took offence to the incident and staged processions and demonstrations in Ramu in the afternoon and evening of 29 September.

Events[edit]

On 29 September, at around 10 p.m., a procession was held in Ramu in protest of the perceived blasphemous image uploaded to a Facebook account. Newspaper reports stated that local Awami League leaders were initially seen mobilising the mob and emphasising the sentimental religious issue to counter the opposition. The Daily Star, a widely circulated national daily, reported that a motley group comprising local leaders of pro-Awami League organisations, BNP men, madrasa students and common people were allegedly behind the communal violence at Ramu on Saturday night.[9] At a subsequent procession, some people demanded the arrest of Uttam Kumar Barua. At around 11:30 p.m., a third procession marched towards Barua Parha, and some of the Buddhist houses were torched.[10] Subsequently, Buddhist temples, monasteries, and residences were also torched. Ten Buddhist villages were attacked as well with[10] gunpowder, kerosene, and petrol used for the purpose.[11] The arson continued till 3 a.m. 30 September.

On 30 September, in the evening, Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples were vandalized in Ukhia Upazila in Cox's Bazar District.[12] Two more Buddhist monasteries were burnt in Ukhiya early on Monday. At Marichya, the Dipankar Bouddha Bihar was torched while at Khairatipara the Pangyamitra Bouddha Bihar was also torched. By Monday, a total of six monasteries and temples have been damaged in Ukhia.[13] The fanatics also burnt the Matri Mandir Hindu temple in Jelepara.[14] The participants burned religious texts and seized Buddha statues.[15]

The violence spread to Patiya Upazila in Chittagong District on Sunday. At noon, Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples were attacked in Patiya.[12] After the midnight past Sunday i.e. on the early morning of 1 October 500 workers of the Western Marine shipping company torched two Buddhist monasteries and one Hindu temple in Patiya. In Kalagaon, the Ratnankur Bouddha Bihar and the Nabarun Sangha Durgabari were torched as was the Abhay Bouddha Bihar in Lakhera.[13]

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are suspected to be involved in the attacks. On Tuesday afternoon, 2 October, three Rohingyas were arrested by the police in Chakaria Upazila of Cox's Bazar District while they were trying to attack a Buddhist monastery in Manikpur.[16]

Investigation[edit]

On 30 September, an official inquiry committee was constituted and headed by Nurul Islam, the Additional Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong Division. It sat on 1 October and reviewed the reports of the Upazila Nirbahi Officers of the troubled upazilas and the daily newspaper reports.[13]

The Supreme Court on 12 May 2014 directed Tofail Ahmed, upazila chairman of Naikhangchhari upazila of Bandarban, to surrender before a lower court in four weeks in connection with the attack and vandalisation of a Buddhist temple at Ramu in Cox's Bazar in 2012. Tofail is the prime suspect in the Ramu incident according to a governmental investigation report.[17]

Reactions[edit]

Groups of Buddhist monks and Hindu groups in Burma,[18] India,[19] Sri Lanka,[20] and Thailand[20] demonstrated in response to the anti-Buddhist violence in Bangladesh. In Colombo, Sri Lanka, some protested outside the Bangladeshi embassy and a petition was delivered condemning the attacks.

Some windows of the Bangladeshi embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka were vandalized before police arrived and dispersed the protest.[20]

On 6 October, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina condemned the anti-Buddhist violence, stated her belief that it was premeditated, and urged restraint over the issue.[21]

On 8 October the Prime Minister herself visited the affected areas and condemned the incident while promising proper justice.[22]

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed Bangladesh Army to rebuild these temples under a project, titled ‘Rebuilding and Renovation of damaged Buddhist Temples’, spending Tk 200 million. The Bangladesh Army rebuilt and renovated these Buddhist temples and Bihars in 19 separate places incorporating the traditional designs of the renowned architects from the Buddhist community.[23]

President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid on 10 January 2014 visited several rebuilt Buddhist temples and centers at Ramu upazila of Cox’s Bazar.During the visit, president enquired about the wellbeing of local Buddhist community and distributed cheques to the affected members of the community.[23]

Places of worship destroyed[edit]

Sl. No. Name Type Place Date
1 Saada Ching Buddhist Temple Ramu, Cox's Bazar District 30 September 2012
2 Laal Ching Buddhist Temple Ramu, Cox's Bazar District 30 September 2012
4 Shreekul Cheranghata Barakyang Temple Buddhist Monastery Ramu, Cox's Bazar District 30 September 2012
6 Ramu Kendriyo Shima Bihar Buddhist Monastery Ramu, Cox's Bazar District 30 September 2012
7 Shreekul Maitree Bihar Buddhist Monastery Ramu, Cox's Bazar District 30 September 2012
9 Jadiparha Bouddha Bihar Buddhist Monastery Ramu, Cox's Bazar District 30 September 2012
10 Mithacharhi Bonbihar Buddhist Monastery Ramu, Cox's Bazar District 30 September 2012
11 Uttar Mithacharhi Bimukti Bhabna Kendra Buddhist Monastery Ramu, Cox's Bazar District 30 September 2012
15 Pashchim Ratna Sudarshan Bouddha Bihar Buddhist Monastery Kotbazar, Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar District 30 September 2012
16 Dipankar Bouddha Bihar Buddhist Monastery Marichya, Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar District 1 October 2012
17 Pragyamitra Bouddha Bihar Buddhist Monastery Khairatipara, Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar District 1 October 2012
18 Balukia Kalachand Bijayanta Bibekaram Bihar Buddhist Monastery Ukhia, Cox's Bazar District 1 October 2012
19 Ghona Jojoba Bihar Buddhist Monastery Ukhia, Cox's Bazar District 1 October 2012
20 Mahayana Bihar Buddhist Monastery Ukhia, Cox's Bazar District 1 October 2012
21 Ratnankur Bouddha Bihar Buddhist Monastery Kolagaon, Patiya, Chittagong District 1 October 2012
22 Abhay Bouddha Bihar Buddhist Monastery Lakhera, Patiya, Chittagong District 1 October 2012
23 Nabarun Sangha Durga Mandir Hindu Temple Kolagaon, Patiya, Chittagong District 1 October 2012
24 Matri Mandir Hindu Temple Jelepara, Patiya, Chittagong District 1 October 2012

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Violencia religiosa en Bangladesh por imagen ofensiva publicada en Facebook". BBC Mundo. 
  2. ^ "Desa-desa Buddha di Bangladesh diserang". BBC Indonesia. 30 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Extremists 'linked'". The Daily Star. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Khaleda for neutral probe, tough action". The Daily Star. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Bangladesh rampage over Facebook Koran image". BBC News. 30 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Bangladesh Buddhists pick up pieces after mob rampage". BBC News. Ramu, Cox’s Bazar District. 1 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "5 Buddhist temples attacked in Ukhia". BDNews24. 2 September 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Rioting mob torches temples in Bangladesh". ABC News. 30 September 2012. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Inam Ahmed, Julfikar Ali Manik (3 October 2012). "A hazy picture appears". The Daily Star. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "Buddhist temples, homes burned, looted in Ramu". bdnews24.com. 30 September 2012. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Ramu Violence: Home Minister points finger at MP". BDNEWS. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "166 nabbed for Ramu rampage". Daily Sun. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c Juberee, Abdullah; Atikuzzaman, A.K.M. (2 October 2012). "Mobs torch two more monasteries in Cox's Bazar". New Age. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "24 Buddhist and Hindu temples burnt in Bangladesh - India and UN urged to intervene" (Press release). Asian Centre for Human Rights. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Ethirajan, Anbarasan (1 February 2013). "Bangladesh Buddhists pick up pieces after mob rampage". BBC News. Ramu, Cox’s Bazar District. 
  16. ^ "3 Rohingyas held in Cox's Bazar". Daily Sun. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "SC cancels key Ramu attacker's bail". The Daily Star. 
  18. ^ "Burmese Buddhists protest attacks". The Scotsman. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Buddhists, Hindus in Tripura protest against attack on Bangladesh temples". News Track India. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c "Bangladesh embassy stoned during monks' protest" (Press release). Agence France-Presse. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "Attack on Buddhist Temples premeditated: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina". Asian Tribune. 7 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "PM visits Ramu, meets victims". bdnews24.com. 8 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "President visits rebuilt Buddhist temples in Ramu". Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS). 10 March 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.