Ramu carnage: Are we any different?

Maskwaith Ahsan

Maskwaith Ahsan

The writer is an Online Journalist and Offline Media Educator.

Ramu Carnage

Will good sense ever prevail in the world? This question continues to haunt my mind and soul, especially after the recent communal violence against the peace-loving Buddhists living in the southeastern part of Bangladesh. Last weekend the villages of Ramu, Ukhiya and Teknaf of Cox’s Bazaar and Potiya of Chittagong suffered carnage like never before when dozens of temples including the 250-year-old Maitri (Friendship) Temple and at least 50 Buddhist homes were set ablaze in the most atrocious manner. The perpetrators then went on a looting rampage.

Precious artifacts including statues of Buddha were taken away. Besides Buddhist temples, Muslim radicals also destroyed Hindu temples.

Allegedly a young Buddhist man posted a photo on his facebook page insulting Islam, and this ‘allegation’ provoked violence of a magnitude that it no way matches the supposed blasphemy. Brutality of the ensuing violence aside, the very manner of this crime reflects that it was premeditated, and NOT just an instant reaction to a facebook photo. It appears that the attackers were ready with their plan well before the issue was created. How else within merely two hours of the alleged appearance of the facebook photo was a mob of thousands mobilized towards Ramu on buses and trucks, all geared with petrol and gun powder to burn down the marks of the oldest civilization of Bangladesh!

The archeology of Bangladesh is testament to the pioneering role of earlier Buddhists in establishing an enlightened civilization in this delta land. This same archeology also shows that various races of subsequent invaders kept on killing these peaceful humankinds to take over their motherland. Now, they have been marginalized to only one percent of the total population and left cornered in the southeastern part of Bangladesh. This time Muslim invaders are once again playing an all out game of terror and fear so that the Buddhist sons of the soil leave their motherland and radical looters can grab their land and wealth.

This game of terrorizing minorities in Bangladesh started after 1947 against the Hindus. We saw the same kind of mass attacks and evictions especially after the general elections of 2001 to push indigenous Hindus out of Bangladesh. It’s as if Bangladesh has lapsed into a primitive age run by jungle’s law. The 2001 genocide of Hindus never saw the face of justice and I believe it is that failure to provide justice which encouraged radical Muslims to carry out recent attacks against the Buddhist. The way Taliban destroyed ancient statues of Buddha in Afghanistan; our home-grown radical opportunists demonstrated the same savage pattern by demolishing and burning statues of Buddha in Bangladesh.

According to our minority leaders, the local police and administration maintained an unfamiliar silence during the rampage, burning and looting. Even the local MP and other area representatives were conspicuously absent during the violence and appeared only after damage had been done. No one was there to stand up for the victims.

Once the damage was done, the entire issue was made complicated by conflicting news stories, political war-mongering and rumors spread by interest-based groups. The Buddhists of Bangladesh are peaceful and harmonious people. The Rohingya issue in Myanmar could have been used as bait in instigating this violence. There is a possibility worth investigating that the Muslim radicals of Bangladesh used Rohingya refugees to create this chaos and use the situation to their advantage. Jamaat’s student wing has already started harvesting results in the shape of anarchy spreading across Bangladesh. The main opposition party, BNP, has launched a blame-game against the government, while conveniently forgetting the 2001 minority genocide during its own regime. The role of local Awami League leaders during the Ramu carnage is also under scrutiny. Does it mean that in case of violence against minorities Bengali Muslims are somehow united at heart? The answer to this question is of highest priority at this moment before claiming anymore that Bangladesh is a secular state.

Traditional media has the comparative memory of a fish, so it’s up to the virtual world to keep this issue alive. Like always, the government will perhaps form a committee to investigate the incident and submit its findings. We have hardly ever seen any such report published and/or pursued. The esteemed court is known to take suo moto action in such matters but that too loses momentum over time. Only the trauma and nightmare of the victims live on.

We strongly condemn this violence against a non-violent minority. We demand justice from a government that makes claims to secularism. If justice is delayed, it will once again be forever denied, and no one will be able to stop Bangladesh from heading towards complete radicalization.

NOTE: With new facebook settings anyone can post or tag anything to anyone’s page.

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The writer is an Online Journalist and Offline Media Educator.


215 Responses to “Ramu carnage: Are we any different?”

  1. Amalendu Barua

    Most unfortunate of human acts… people going crazy & blinded by ones adherence to or out of deep attachment to ones belief system making them blind & intolerant to others point of view…producing fanaticism…a threat to world peace. That is why Carl Marx declared that: ‘Religion is like a Opium for the human society..instead of uniting each other it divides & more often that not..it breeds, distrust, hatred, intolerance… contrary to each religion’s preaching…worst case it glorifies killings in the name of God,…& history is replete with it. How silly???? Isn’t it time we wake up from the spell of falsehood…& liberate our thought from the clutch of wrong view..& see the Truth leading to enlightenment.
    My prayer to all humanity…remove your colored glass & see, perceive & feel that, in essence we all are one & the same being, an integral part of the whole, pls continue with the following lines:

    “Seek the essence within, not the level or the Brand.

    It is the essence that matters…not the the Brand or the level.
    what’s there in a name, a rose by any other name will smell as sweet.

    Suck the nectar,savor & inhale the fragrance & use it to the benefit of the self & for others.

    We seek the light from a torch, so that, it shows us the way out of the darkness…& we don’t get adhered to the torch..I mean, our attention or sight is not on the torch but at the path…lightened by the torch so that we don’t stumble down & hurt ourselves.

    Similarly, we don’t get attached to or adhered to the great masters, teachers, messiah, neither should we get adhered to their sayings or knowledge….they or theirs teachings are really useful ,as long as we use them as guiding light to steer clear of the darkness of life to Enlightenment. If I want to cross the river (of life) to reach the other shore..what Do I do???

    I collect/ manage a raft or a boat…steer it to cross the river…but imagine, if I fall in love with the raft, get blinded by it &, out of passion…..if I refuse to leave the raft , how will I be able to reach the other side of the river (read as Enlightenment)?

    Ofcourse, we should have great reverence, respect & gratitude towards these great masters & towards their’s wisdom…for showing us the path to freedom, to liberation…that’s all.

    Unfortunately, we acts like fools…stupid enough to get strongly adhered to the Torches, the Brands…& get so passionately blinded by their association that, we fail to turn on the light of the torch…& more often than not, pick quarrel by declaring that ‘my Torch is Bigger, Brighter & Better than your Torch’…in the process..instead of using the light to lead us away from the darkness towards light. we go down to the dungeons, of hell & bring sufferings..for ourselves & for others.”

  2. Khondkar Abdus Saleque

    Are we any better than those destroyed historic buddhist monuments at Bamyan ,Afghanistan ? Bangladesh could take pride on its communual harmony and secular heritage . The incidents at Ramu has severly dented that. Unfortunately other tahn strong posts in blogs and protests in media we did not observe all religion rallies or protests .BNP and BAL are trying to gain political mileage from it .
    We must do everyhting possible to bring all offenders under justice .

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