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The Wounded Buddha

October 4, 2012

When the news of temple burning in Cox’s Bazar first came as news flash, none could have imagined the degree of the damage. As time went on footages and pictures of burnt temples and houses were shown in the media.

The picture of the solitary Buddha statue in the middle of ashes and debris and surrounded by betel nut trees captured everyone’s attention. It is unharmed, other idols were not so lucky and bore sign of damages like charred mark or crack , as fire did little damage to it, but it watched all the havocs unfolded in front of it.

Solitary Buddha

Solitary Buddha Photo Courtesy: Buddhist Defense League

Last Saturday night, rioters wreaked havoc in Buddhist and Hindu temples of Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong. It was a pre-planned and well coordinated attack. Buses and pick-up trucks were used to transport the rioters to the temple sites. They used patrol, gun powder and concrete blocks to attack the Buddhist community. Before setting the houses and temples in fire, they ransacked the Buddhist houses, temple troves and even looted the offerings made by devotees. According to eye witnesses, they were not locals but local inhabitants help them to identify their houses and temples. That’s why adjacent Muslim houses to the Buddhist neighborhood did not suffer any damage! This destruction went on all night long right under the nose of local administration!

Burnt Monastery                                            Photo Courtesy:Buddhist Defense League

Burnt Monastery Photo Courtesy:Buddhist Defense League

Local fundamentalists as well as the rohingya extremists are being suspected for the attack. In Patiya, Chittagong, local shipyard laborers were involved in vandalizing Hindu and Buddhist houses and temples.

Buddhist communities are really frightened. They are now living in tents and relatives houses. For decades, they have been living in this country in peace and harmony with their Muslim neighbors. But this incident will leave a deep scar in their mind and the relationship between the two communities will not be normal again. Few no longer trust their Muslim neighbors and some are even thinking to leave their homes.

Damaged Statues                                        Photo Courtesy:Buddhist Defense League

Damaged Statues Photo Courtesy:Buddhist Defense League

Journalists and activists rushed in Cox’s Bazar. In a TV talk show one journalist of a local daily shared his interaction with Mr. Mahathero, head of Ramu Central Sima Bihar,one of the worst affected monasteries. Mr. Mahathero said that his monastery housed thousands of Bengalis in 1971 and Pakistani army did not dare to do any harm to the monastery during the liberation war. But this time the rioters gutted it down along with a well stacked library, full of rare books and scriptures. Hundred-year-old Holy Buddhist scriptures burnt into ashes within minutes.
Burnt Scriptures                                         Photo Courtesy:Buddhist Defense League

Burnt Scriptures Photo Courtesy:Buddhist Defense League

Those statues of Buddha are more than statues! They are divine and sacred spirits! Talibans destroyed the priceless Buddhist heritage of Bamiyan despite international appeal. After that insult to these spirits, their fate has been cursed and soon they were swept away from Afghanistan.

The humiliation these divine spirits suffered in the name of religion will not only curse those who were behind this, but it will bring misfortune to Bengalis. How much do we have to suffer we do not know?

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From → Analysis, My Thoughts

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