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Attack on Bangladeshi Buddhists planned, police inactive

Bangladesh Nationalist Party standing committee member Moudud Ahmed talks to members of the Buddhist community of Ramu in Cox's Bazar yesterday while leading an eight-member team to probe the attack carried out on the community on Sept. 29. On his right is BNP leader Abdullah Al Noman and on his left is Abdul Moyeen Khan/The Daily Star

Publication Date : 06-10-2012


Questioning the role of Bangladesh police during the attack a week ago, main opposition party's team probing the attack on Buddhists in Ramu yesterday said it was a premeditated strike.

"The role of police was not satisfactory during the attack on Buddhist temples," Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) standing committee member Moudud Ahmed told reporters after visiting Ramu, Cox's Bazar.

Ahmed, who was leading the eight-member team, said it was clear that the law enforcement team was inactive during the incident, reports our Chittagong correspondent.

The team reached Shima Bihar around 10:30 a.m. and talked to the monastery authorities and members of the local Buddhist community.

He said they were trying to conduct an impartial probe as it was a sensitive issue.

BNP leaders Abdul Moyeen Khan, Abdullah Al Noman, and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury were also present.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday gave money to 85 victims of last Saturday's attack on pagodas and Buddhist homes in Ramu.

Disaster Management Minister AH Mahmood Ali handed over 100,000 Bangladesh taka (US$1226.5) to each of the 24 victims whose homes or pagodas were destroyed. Apart from them, 61 others received 50,000 taka each as their homes or pagodas were damaged, said Debi Chanda, upazila nirbahi officer of Ramu.

Every victim family got 30 kilograms of rice as well.

A mob destroyed 12 pagodas and more than 50 houses in Ramu on the night of Sept. 29. The violence was apparently triggered by a Facebook posting of a photo derogatory to the holy Quran.

Yesterday, protest and condemnation of Buddhist monks outside the country continued with about 100 monks demonstrating in Myanmar's main city Yangon.

Holding placards saying "The earth is for everyone, not only for Muslims" and "Stop insulting Buddhism", the monks staged a short protest outside the Bangladesh Embassy of the former Myanmarese capital, reports AFP.

Meanwhile, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur Rahman apologised to the Buddhist community yesterday during his visit Shima Bihar at Ramu.

A 14-member delegation of civil society would visit the scenes of violence at Ramu and Ukhia upazilas in Cox's Bazar and Hindu temples in Chittagong's Patiya upazila today.

During the visit, the delegation was expected to mount pressure on local administration to start immediate investigation into the incidents, said columnist Syed Abul Maksud, who would lead the delegation.
Chittagong police yesterday morning seized a truck at Sitakunda in Chittagong which was used in last Saturday's violence in Ramu. They also arrested its driver Rafiqul Islam and the driver's assistant Ramzan.

Later, the law enforcers handed them over to Ramu police.

Cox's Bazar police, referring to truck driver Rafiqul Islam's statement, said Ramzan was actually driving the truck last Saturday while Rafiqul was at home sleeping. Despite being the assistant, Ramzan himself drove members of the mob to Ramu, police said.

Rafiqul told police that he had left Ramzan with the truck at a workshop that night.

Meanwhile, AK Nazibul Islam, officer-in-charge of Ramu Police Station, who was withdrawn on Tuesday in connection with negligence of duty, was closed to Chittagong police headquarters Thursday night.


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