Ramu is virtually rising like a phoenix from the ashes of last year’s communal strife.
The Buddhist settlements in Ramu and Ukhiya of Cox’s Bazar were razed on Sep 29, 2012. Homes, temples and monasteries there were left devastated by waves of arson attack.
But thanks to some initiatives taken by the government, these Buddhist villages are returning to normal. Besides homes, a total of 19 monasteries and temples that were heavily damaged have been rebuilt.
The devastated people who had lost faith in the region’s communal harmony are again looking forward to a better life.
Ramu ‘Kendrio Sima Bihar Parichalana Committee’ General Secretary Torun Barua told bdnews24.com the government provided full support in restoring peace as well as rebuilding the affected temples.
“Ramu’s Buddhist monasteries are beginning to breathe life again.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate on Sep 3 the monasteries that were newly built or restored.
A lot of the ancient Buddhist relics looted during the attack could not be recovered but there is an attempt to replace them with new statues.
The ancient tin-and-wood monasteries were gutted forever in the hate attacks, but in their places new structure made of durable bricks and cement have come up in an attempt to fill in the loss.
Kendrio Sima Bihar’s 300-year old two-storey tin and wooden temple located at Ramu’s Merongloa is now completely destroyed. The brass idol of Buddha was burned; the temple’s gold and 250 to 300 rare statues of white marble were looted by the attackers.
A three-storey Buddhist monastery, constructed from government’s funds, now replaces the old structure. A new statue of Buddha has been installed in place of the old idol. Offerings are now being made there.
The building next to this also fell prey to the attacks, but efforts to restore its visage is visible. A two-tonne white marble statue of Buddha, received from Thailand as present, has been placed there.
A new gate, a temple house and a 100-foot long statue of Buddha lying on his side at ‘Bimukti Bidorshon Bhabna Kendra’ at Ramu’s north Mithachori have also been constructed.
Personnel of Bangladesh Army and locals, who constructed and are currently supervising the restoration drive, said an architect, Biswajit Barua, designed the new structures keeping similarities with the razed monasteries.
Army’s Special Workers Organisation (SWO) repaired and constructed the temples according to the design prepared by Barua.
Now preparations are on to inaugurate these structures.
Brig Gen Shams Khan told bdnews24.com a total of 19 Buddhist temples had been repaired and reconstructed in Ramu and Ukhiya.
Of them, 12 are in Ramu Upazila while Ukhiya has seven temples.
He said members of the army got themselves involved in security work and temporary shelter construction as soon as the attacks were launched there in last September.
Source: Bd news24