It is unfortunate that some of the worst incidents of communal violence that erupted in Ramu of Cox's Bazar in 2012 are yet to be brought to the notice of the High Court (HC) for hearing. One of the three reports furnished on May 16, 2013 singled out failure of local administration, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to read the signs that communal forces were fanning hate against the Buddhist community. The mob violence designed in four phases resulted in the destruction of 12 pagodas and more than 50 houses on September 29, 2012.
One of the committees had identified 298 people for the attacks and recommended that competence of local administration be improved along with strengthening oversight on social media posts. While improvements have been made on surveillance of social media posts, we see little progress on the court hearings on the violence that ripped through Ramu six years ago. And while the court system being overburdened with cases and the reconstitution of HC benches have been cited as prime reasons for a lack of progress on the case, we would like to point out that unless the communal nature of the violence is addressed, it will embolden those who wish to misuse religion of the majority to incite mob violence against the minorities of a different faith.
In the meantime, most of the accused in the Ramu cases are out on bail. We have a general election approaching at the end of the year and the ramifications of a lack of movement on a case as sensitive as this simply cannot be overstated. We would urge the authorities to constitute a separate bench to hear this case and bring those responsible to justice. It is crucial to impart the message that Bangladesh is a country of tolerance and not of bigotry and all its citizens, regardless of creed, enjoy the State's protection.