Punishment for attackers of Buddhists must | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 09, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 09, 2012

Punishment for attackers of Buddhists must

Prime minister tells rally in Ramu

Terming the recent attacks on Buddhist temples and homes in Ramu pathetic and inhuman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday renewed her assurance to hunt down the perpetrators and hand down exemplary punishment.
“The investigation committee is working to identify those responsible for the attacks. They will surely be given exemplary punishment,” she said while addressing a 'Sompritee Somabesh' (amity rally) at the Khizari Model High School in Ramu.
“We've got lot of information and are looking for more,” the prime minister said.
“It can't be tolerated. Islam speaks for peace. We've learnt from our prophet that Islam does never believe in interfering in other religions. Those who launched the attacks don't believe in any religion,” Hasina observed.
A mob of religious zealots went on the rampage in Ramu of Cox's Bazar on the night of September 29, leaving 12 temples and monasteries and over 50 houses destroyed. The violence was apparently triggered by a Facebook posting of a photo derogatory to the holy Qur'an.
The next day, two monasteries and a Hindu temple were vandalised in Patiya upazila of Chittagong, two monasteries torched in Ukhia and five houses set ablaze in Teknaf upazila of Cox's Bazar.
Accusing the local BNP MP of being behind the atrocities, the premier said, “It was found in the investigation that soon after a local MP left the place around midnight saying something, thousands of people joined in the mayhem and set fire to the houses and temples of the Buddhist community.”
“The people of the locality want to know what that MP had said … Awami League never wants to disrupt welfare of the common people,” she added.
Hasina said it was unfortunate that these attacks destroyed the century-old heritage and culture, which not only belonged to a particular religion, but also formed a part of the country's rich traditions.
She also alleged that those who had come to the assistance of the affected people were facing threats from vested quarters. “Stern action will be taken against those who are throwing threats.”
Urging the local people to assist the investigation committee publicly or secretly, she asked them to take steps for the formation of committees to avert recurrence of any such incidents.
The premier also called upon all not to unleash any attack instigated by others, and not to do anything that might hurt the feelings of the minorities.
“Even though Muslims are majority in Bangladesh, in many countries they are among the minorities. So, such attacks [on minorities] may bring trouble for the Muslims living in other countries,” Hasina added.
While delivering her speech, she invited chief of the Ramu Central Sima Bihar, Satyapriyo Mahathero, to say something.
As the premier remained standing beside him, Satyapriyo termed the incident in Ramu unexpected, and said “We never thought that such incidents might happen.”
He also urged for maintaining communal harmony among all members of the society.
Cox's Bazar district Imam Samity President Maulana Salahuddin Mohammad Tareque also spoke on the occasion, organised by the Cox's Bazar unit of Awami League.
LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu, Disaster Management Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali, State Minister for LGRD Jahangir Kabir Nanak and other leaders of the Awami League-led grand alliance were present.
Earlier, the prime minister distributed cheques amounting to Tk 2.48 crore including Tk 1.34 crore from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund among the affected people.
She also distributed 307 bundles of corrugated iron sheets, 35.42 tonnes of rice, 246 pieces of blankets, some tents, sarees, lungis, shirts, three-pieces, bed sheets, books and other necessary items.

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