Rohingya refugee crisis: Buddhists to shun festivity in protest
12:00 AM, September 19, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:37 AM, September 19, 2017

Prabarana Purnima: Buddhists to shun festivity in protest

The country's Buddhist community will refrain from flying Fanush (colourful paper lanterns) in Prabarana Purnima this year in protest at the persecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar.

Leaders from the community said the celebration of the festival likely to be on October 5 this year would be less flamboyant and that the money collected from the festival would be distributed to the Rohingya refugees.

The announcement came at a press briefing yesterday by Bangladesh United Buddhist Forum at Dhaka Reporters Unity in the capital.

Flying paper lanterns is a tradition observed on the occasion of Prabarana Purnima, the second largest religious festival of the Buddhists, throughout Bangladesh.

Ashim Ranjan Barua, president of Bangladesh Buddhist Federation, said, "We are not releasing paper lanterns in Prabarana Purnima as a sign of protest against the horrific violence against Rohingyas [in Myanmar]."

Reading out a statement at the press briefing, Ashoke Barua, chief coordinator of the forum, said the Buddhists community of Bangladesh are in melancholy watching the misery of Rohingya refugees.

Against the backdrop of Rohingyas fleeing into the country to escape Myanmar Army's crackdown in the Rakhine state, Buddhists here decided to give money collected from the festival to the refugees, he said.

Ashoke called upon international Buddhist organisation World Fellowship of Buddhist and the United Nations along with world leaders to stop the violence by taking immediate steps.

Sanghanayaka Suddhananda Mahathero, president of Bangladesh Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha, said, "Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, we all are peace loving people. We express our heartfelt sorrow for the Muslim [Rohingya] brothers and sisters who are the victims of the violence."

If necessary, they will meet Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi over the Rohingya issue, he added.

PR Barua, senior vice president of the Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha, was also present at the briefing.

Earlier on September 8, expressing solidarity with the Rohingyas, around 100 people from the community, including monks, students and professionals, formed a human chain under the banner of Bangladesh United Buddhist Forum in front of the capital's Jatiya Press Club.

The forum submitted a memorandum two days later to the Myanmar Embassy in Dhaka demanding that repression of the Rohingya be stopped in Myanmar.

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