Attack on Buddhist Temples premeditated: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, October, 7, 2012

Dhaka, Bangladesh -- Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the violent attack on Buddhist monasteries and houses at Ramu in Cox's Bazar centring an anti-Islam photo on Facebook was a premeditated , reports the ‘Daily Star’. No one linked to the recent attacks on Buddhists will be spared, she has said assuring the minorities of Bangladesh.

She told this to the Buddhists while addressing a meeting with ‘Coordination Committee of Bangladeshi Buddhists’ in the morning at her official residence Gono Bhaban.

Recalling her visit to the Buddhist temples in Ramu and Cox's Bazar, she said, 'how they can destroy these beautiful statues and historic sculpture'?

The Buddhist delegation, led by Shuddhananda Mahathero, informed the Prime Minister about its findings from its own investigation into the attacks on Buddhists and their establishments by religious fanatics in Ramu on Sep 29 and in Ukhia and Teknaf the following day.

The premier said those, who were behind the attack, will be punished after identifying them from the video footages collected after the violence.“The way in which the attack was conducted, it’s clear that it was done in a pre-planned way,” she said.

The temples damaged in the attacks would be rebuilt, the Prime Minister assured the Buddhists. She also assured that the victims would get compensation. Around 250 people have been arrested over the attacks. Ramu Police Station Officer in Charge has been withdrawn and a four-member panel has also been formed for conducting an investigation reports

"Please show restrain, I assure you that none link with the heinous crime will be spared," she told

The Prime Minister also urged people of all other religious groups to remain alert against repetition of any such occurrence in future anywhere in the country.

Sheikh Hasina said, "I think its not the end. The hoodlums have many ill motives and they might create many anarchies in the days ahead. So, I request every citizen to remain careful to thwart any such plot ."

She said, "I cannot understand how they can be so inhumane. They have no only attacked people, they also destroyed our long heritage, tradition and historical relics of Buddhism".

She assured the Buddhist community leaders of providing necessary assistance to make ready the destroyed monasteries for prayers before their 'Prabarana Purnima' at the end of this month and rehabilitation of the affected families including rebuilding of the houses gutted.

Member Secretary of the Committee Ashok Barua told her that a five-member panel led by former Inspector General of Police P R Barua , who is also vice president of Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities ( HRCBM) , an NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC of the United Nations, Bangladesh Chapter was investigating the matter.

The Buddhist delegation informed the Prime Minister about the findings of their own investigations on the attacks in Ramu and Ukhiya on September 29 and in Patiya on the following day."In our investigation, we found three motives behind the attack. These are- making the Rohingya issue more troublesome,foiling the trial of the war criminals and making the country unstable before next general election," the report they submitted to the Prime Minister said reports BSS.

They requested the Prime Minister to take the issues into consideration during official investigation into the matter. They also thanked Prime Minister for her quick response and action from the government to check further eruption of the violence.

The Prime Minister said, a section of people cannot tolerate peaceful co-existence of all religions. In 2001, they tried to destroy the communal harmony. Now they are trying again to kill the communal harmony.

The Prime Minister urged all to show their patience and tolerance, and remain careful to check any such occurrence. She asked all to stay alert during the coming religious festivals of all communities.

Sanghanayak Suddhananda Mohathero said the attack was to destroy the communal harmony in Bangladesh. The miscreants set fire on 25 monasteries out of which 12, some of 400 years old, were gutted completely. The fire destroyed many relics of Lord Buddha, he said adding the criminals used inflammables, gunpowder and explosives.

Deputy Leader of the Jatiya Sangsad Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Industries Minister Dilip Barua, Home Minister MK Alamgir, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, member secretary of the UBCPC Ashoke Barua, Buddhist community leaders P K Barua, Dr Pranab Barua, Dr Uttam Barua, Barrister Biplob Barua and heads of different monasteries were present.

Forgive us, please

The National Human Rights Commission chairman yesterday apologised to the Buddhist community for the recent communal violence that left 12 Buddhist temples burnt down.

"We are ashamed, aggrieved, sorry and asking for your forgiveness," Mizanur Rahman told a crowd while visiting Shima Bihar temple at Ramu in Cox's Bazar.

Satyapriya Mohathero, principal of the temple, told the NHRC chief though they are Bengali and gave shelters to Hindus and Muslims in his area during the Liberation War, they fell victim to such violence.

The monastery, which was not only a temple but also a museum of the history of Buddhism, had been lost forever, Mohathero continued reports the daily star.

BNP Inquiry Team

An eight-member probe body of Zia’s BNP formed to investigate the violence visited the burnt monasteries at Ramu.The team led by barrister Moudud Ahmed later, told reporters that they did not go there as a political team. As it was a sensitive issue, they were trying to make an impartial probe. In reply to a question regarding the allegation of the home minister on the role of local BNP lawmaker, Moudud said he would not make any comment on the issue now, reports the Daily Star.

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