Bangladesh PM suggest peace committee in violence-ridden district
Dhaka, Bangladesh : Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Monday proposed setting up an all-party peace committee to ensure peaceful co-existence among the communities in the country’ s recent religious violence-ridden southeastern Cox’s Bazaar district.
Hasina made the call as she visited homes, temples and monasteries of Buddhists in the Cox’s Bazaar district, some 292 km southeast of capital Dhaka, which on Sept. 29 night witnessed the South Asian country’s worst religious violence since independence in 1971.
Speaking at a peace rally, Hasia said there is no room for fundamentalists in Bangladesh. “Culprits involved in the violence won’t be spared,” she said.
Thousands of Muslim mobs reportedly at the instigation of vested interest groups attacked Buddhist community in the Ramu sub- district of Cox’s Bazaar on Sept. 29. The attack was triggered when a Buddhist youth, namely Uttam Barua, allegedly tagged a photo on Facebook that was insulting to Muslim holy book of Quran.
Hasina said her government would go tough against those who try to foil religious harmony in the name of Islam which does not support interference in other religions and attack on the place of worship.
In her peace rally speech, she suggested forming an all- party peace committee with representatives from all religious beliefs to thwart any such violence in future.
Before attending the peace rally, she donated “chibar” or clothes to the monks of the damaged monasteries she had visited. She also distributed money and relief materials among the affected families.
“We won’t tolerate violence. I came here with a heavy heart. It is a deplorable incident which can never be tolerated,” she said at the rally.
Hasina, however, pointed finger at the country’s main opposition party for fueling the violence in which at least 16 Buddhist temples and monasteries were fully or partially burnt and damaged in Ramu sub-district during the frenzy that started around 10:30 p.m. local time on Sept. 29.
Some 235 people have been arrested in three southeastern Bangladeshi districts since then, police said Tuesday.
Although the country’s investigation agencies say they are not sure whether this was Uttam’s own misdeed or he was used by vested interest groups to create anarchic situation by spoiling communal harmony, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party and ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have engaged in a blame game over the attacks on Buddhists.
Hasina’s arch political rival Khaleda Zia, chairperson of BNP, has been alleging that the ruling party AL party instigated the incident.
According to the police, the entire situation is now completely under control after the religious violence.