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Rioters torch Buddhist temples in Bangladesh over Facebook post

Rioters torch Buddhist temples in Bangladesh over Facebook post
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in southeastern Bangladesh, torching Buddhist temples and ransacking neighbourhoods over a Facebook post they said was derogatory to Islam.

Authorities called out paramilitary troops to control the situation in southeastern Ramu town near the port city of Chittagong after Muslim fundamentalists torched 11 Buddhist temples and damaged two others.

Some of the attackers alleged that a follower of the faith posted a photo defaming Islam on Facebook.

Witnesses and officials said several thousand Muslims took to the street shortly before midnight yesterday and attacked the temples and the Buddhist neighbourhoods in the area forcing the residents to flee their homes in fright.

‘During the several hour long attack, they torched 11 Buddhist temples, damaged two others and ransacked at least 30 Buddhist homes... no casualty was reported as most Buddhists fled their homes to evade the attack,’ a local journalist who witnessed the unrest said.

He said a group of people staged a street protest at around 10.30 pm alleging that a Buddhist youth in the area posted an offensive picture and instigated the mob to carry out the attack on the old Buddhist sites.

Paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troops were called on immediately along with anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and riot police. Army soldiers from nearby camps were also sent to patrol the neighbourhood.

‘The situation was brought under control before dawn and we enforced a ban on street rallies and protests,’ Cox’s Bazaar district’s police chief Salim Mohammad Jahangir said over telephone.

He said police had escorted the man accused of posting the insulting photograph and his mother to safety.

Home Minister Mahiuddin Khan Alamgir flew to the scene and ordered immediate actions against the attackers. [PTI]
Anisur Rahman

Anisur Rahman

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