Police have tightened security at all the Buddhist monasteries in Chittagong city and the district to avert any untoward incident in the face of ongoing violence against Rohingyas in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
Police officials said the decision had been taken following an order from the higher authorities as the crackdown against Rohingyas by the Myanmar security forces continued.
In the last two weeks, nearly 3,00,000 Rohingyas have sought refuge in Bangladesh fleeing military offensive in Rakhine State, pushing the number of Rohingyas living in this country to over 6,00,000.
Cashing in on the situation, the police officials said, vested quarters might try to destroy the country's communal harmony by creating anarchy, prompting them to intensify security measures at the monasteries.
According to the sources in Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP), there are 25 Buddhist monasteries in the city.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mokhleshur Rahman of CMP's Special Branch (SB) said around 200 additional police forces, both in uniform and plainclothes, have been deployed at the monasteries in the port city to avert any kind of untoward situation.
Patrolling and surveillance in the surrounding areas of the monasteries have been enhanced so that the community members feel secure, he said.
DC (North) Abdul Warish of CMP told The Daily Star, “We have been asked [by the higher authorities] to be alert… after the violence erupted in Rakhine. We have been talking with the authorities of different monasteries to know their present condition.”
In this regard, a meeting was held on Saturday with CMP commissioner in the chair, the DC said.
Apart from the monasteries in the city, there are 287 more Buddhist monasteries under 14 upazilas in Chittagong district.
Noor E Alam Mina, superintendent of police (SP) of Chittagong district, said, “We have formed a committee comprising people from different quarters under every police station.”
He said they had already talked to the authorities of different monasteries in the district and kept the police on alert so that none can fish in the troubled waters.
“We could not deploy forces at all the monasteries due to manpower shortage; however, we have asked the local authorities to remain alert round the clock”, added the SP.
In 2012, fanatics attacked Buddhist homes and temples in Ramu, Ukhia, Teknaf and Sadar upazila of Cox's Bazar on September 29 and 30, following a fake Facebook post demeaning the Quran.
An investigation by The Daily Star had exposed that a forged Facebook profile of a Buddhist youth was used to instigate the crimes. Besides, inaction of the local administration, intelligence and law enforcement agencies was blamed for the planned attack.
Contacted, Ajit Ranjan Barua, chairman of Bangladesh Bouddha Samity, said they had recently met CMP commissioner and the deputy inspector general of police of Chittagong range.
They also have requested the police high-ups to take measures so that none can take advantage of the situation, he said.
At the same time, Ajit strongly condemned the ongoing military offensive in Myanmar, and said the torture on Rohingyas was against the practice of the fundamental Buddhist principles of non-harming, mutual respect and compassion.