Bangladesh on Alert as Rohingya Blamed for Unrest

A Buddhist monk tries to salvage his belongings from a burnt temple after an attack by Muslims in Cox’s Bazar. (Photo: Reuters)

MERUNGLUA, Bangladesh—Authorities in Bangladesh have ordered security officials to remain alert around official camps of Rohingya Muslims following weekend attacks on minority Buddhists and their temples in the area.

Some 28,000 Rohingya who fled sectarian violence in western Burma to live in two official camps in the southern Cox’s Bazar district, but tens of thousands of others are scattered in the region.

Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir said he ordered security officials to stay vigilant. There’s no clear evidence that Rohingya Muslims were involved in the attacks on Buddhists, but concerns have been raised about possible links to the violence that took place between late Saturday and early Sunday.

Bangladesh’s largest-circulated Bengali-language Prothom Alo daily reported that a section of intelligence officials think radical Rohingya Muslims might have a role behind the attacks. The newspaper did not name any specific individual sources.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government is blaming Islamic radicals and activists in the political opposition.

“In primary investigations, we have found that organized radical Islamic groups attacked the houses and places of worship,” Alamgir told reporters after a visit to the scene on Sunday. “Activists of the opposition parties were also among the attacks.”

Alamgir accused local opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party lawmaker Lutfar Rahman Kajal of instigating the attack, a charge denied by the opposition legislator.

The party’s leader and Hasina’s chief rival, Khaleda Zia, said in a statement on Monday that the government was failing to protect minority Buddhists and that she feared the government may use the violence as an excuse to crack down on the opposition.

“There may be a well-planned ill motive behind the incidents,” she said.

About 1,000 Buddhists families fled their villages after rioters burned at least 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes and looted shops in anger over a Facebook photo of a burned Quran. The Facebook user was quoted in local media as saying someone else mistakenly tagged the photo to his profile. Authorities are investigating.

Buddhists continued to return home on Tuesday amid heightened security. No new violence has been reported.

Buddhists make up less than one percent of Muslim-majority Bangladesh, but followers of the two religions usually coexist peacefully. Some of the Buddhist families displaced by the attacks took shelter at the homes of Muslim neighbors, and on Monday, many Muslim families offered food to the victims.

In the 1990s, about 250,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh in the face of alleged persecution by the military junta in Burma.

Later, Burma took back most of them, leaving some 28,000 in two camps run by the government and the United Nations.

Bangladesh has been unsuccessfully negotiating with Myanmar for years to send them back and, in the meantime, tens of thousands of others have entered Bangladesh illegally in recent years.

Only about 300,000 Bangladeshis, or about 0.2 percent of the country’s 150 million people, are Facebook users.


3 Responses to Bangladesh on Alert as Rohingya Blamed for Unrest

  1. I love to give My Bible for burning rather burning home of innocence and temple…. And they can post the piciture of burning my bible on facebook or whereever they want !!!!

  2. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    Here is sensored version of my opinion as my first one was blocked.

    Someone put a picture of burning religion Book, someone make a video of faith based religion film, and the response from the followers is totally despicable! The major cause of that type of violent reaction can be traced down to the Institutionalisation of  religion.

    Some religion law gives harsh penalties based on nonsense, which includes: unacceptable, barbaric act of a public execution by cutting of the heads to apostasy in one of the religion, chopping hand for stealing a bread, stoning a woman to death for adultery, and so called family honor killing of female family member for nonsense reasons such as: going out without a company of guardians and dancing with non family members.

    The danger of blind faith is real and the worst of the worst in all forms of self destruction of our human kind. What does it spring to our mind to be a witness of that? I am quite fed up with it. The faith base violence are numbered  in everywhere,  from north-America to Australia, French to England, Libra to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan and Syria to Sudan. And now in Bangladesh! Is there any lesson learnt? 

    What is the best way in defusing faith based nonsense attacks on different believers without losing the freedom of speech and human dignity?  It has to begin with the separation of state and religion, in fact, that should be included in our human right declaration. The second is The Rule of Law, not the rule of man or the rule of religion.

    Down with all the faith base violence! 

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

  3. The inhuman act of burning a 300 year old Buddhist monastery-temple complex, which is also believed to be dates back to Emperor Asoka’s time is an irreparable loss for the people and government of Bangladesh, not only its Buddhist citizens.  National Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur
    Rahman on Wednesday cautioned the government against its intelligence
    agencies failing to thwart the ‘pre-planned’ communal riot’ in Cox’s
    Bazaar.

    The government says the riot was premeditated and local
    and international organsiations of fundamentalists had a hand behind
    the hate attacks. “The incident is being said to have been
    planned beforehand. If it was pre-planned, what were our intelligence
    agencies doing?” said Rahman at a seminar at Dhaka University.

    “They
    know everything but do not let everyone know all the information. For
    whose sake they do that? The government has to be careful,” he
    continued. Rahman defined ransacking and arson attacks on the
    Buddhist neighbourhood in Cox’s Bazaar’s Ramu as ‘the bloody face of
    communal Bangladesh’.

    He said the incident has stained the image of the communal harmony.

    I feel particularly sorry for all those who suffered the loss and agony from such treacherous and cowardly activities.  The perpetrator rohingya militant goons set arson with fuel oils and gunpowder.  Where did they get the gunpowder if they don’t have links with the terrorist elsewhere?  I would be happy if about one dozen of their top tier leaders are caught and given the rope or even death sentence for their cowardly activities against the citizens of Bangladesh.  Once again it has been proved that the rohingyas are no innocent or victimized people, they are the terrorists who took the name of rohingya to ensure their illegal entry.

    It is sad for the Muslims of the world to see this and do nothing to decry the heinous activities of the rohingya extremists and liars.  As a Muslim they are disgrace to the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (sm) and the creator Allah.  May they receive eternal doom in Dozakh (Hell) for their crime against humanity.

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