His Excellency Mr. Tariq Ahmed Karim
High Commissioner of Bangladesh,
High Commission of Bangladesh,
EP-39, Dr. S. Radha Krishnan Marg
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi-110 021
Ref:- Destruction of 22 Buddhist and 2 Hindu temples in
Cox Bazar and Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh
October 4, 2012
H.E. High Commissioner,
Human Rights Defense India (HRDI) is a New Delhi based independent Human Rights organization comprising professionals from different walks of life. Since its inception in 2005, the HRDI has protested against numerous instances of human rights’ violation in India and of people of Indian ancestry in other parts of the globe. It is in this context that we severely condemn the recent acts of violence on the Buddhists in Bangladesh.
The villages of the Buddhists have been ransacked in Cox Bazar and Chittagong Hill Tracts. 22 Buddhist and 2 Hindu temples have reportedly been destroyed. Thousands of have fled from their homes. Many have lost their sources of livelihood. But a more deplorable fact is that it is an attack against a historical community. Buddhists have survived in eastern pockets of the Indian subcontinent, untouched by cataclysmic events unfolded in the mainland. They are thus culturally more precious than the rest. Bangladesh would be culturally poorer without them.
The provocation of the present violence appears based on canard. It was turned into a pretext for attacking temporal and religious properties of the Buddhists. But it revives an old fear of distress migration. India has been recipient of tens of thousands of Chakmas (Buddhists) and Hajongs (Hindus) who fled erstwhile East Pakistan in 1960s. They had been living in various states of north-east, primarily Arunachal Pradesh. In Chittagong Hill Tract, once their stronghold, Buddhists are steadily losing out due to resettlement. A number of them fled to India even in 1980s and 90s.
In context of the present mayhem, we appeal to the government of Bangladesh to –
1. Ensure the safety of lives and properties of the Buddhists.
2. Rebuild the Buddhist temples some of which are understood to be historical.
3. Bring the perpetrators to exemplary justice.
4. Provide fair compensation to the victims for rebuilding their lives.
5. Instill a sense of confidence amongst the victims in particular and minorities in general through political gestures.
We recall with nostalgia the vision of ‘Banga-Bandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, the founder of Bangladesh, of a sovereign nation where diverse communities could live in harmony. That vision suffered a setback after his unfortunate assassination in 1974. It is heartening to see that the present government, led by his daughter Sheikh Hasina Wajed, is trying to put that ideal back on track. You certainly have a test at hand. We appeal to you to take the violence against Buddhist community seriously and apply yourself to remedial action.
Rajesh Gogna, Advocate,
Secretary General , HRDI
8,Todermal Lane, Bengali Market,
L- 01123718929- 01123738929