Plea to protect Jumma Buddhists in Bangladesh

The Daily Mirror, September 13, 2007

Chittagong, Bangladesh -- Bangladesh Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka yesterday called on the Sri Lankan Government to put pressure on the Bangladesh Government to protect Jumma Buddhists and their lands in that country. They also called on the attention of the international community to their plight.

They appealed to human rights organizations to send a fact-finding mission to the Chittagong Hill Tracts to assess the human rights situation in that area.

The Buddhist monks also requested the Bangladesh Government to renounce violence, to stop its harmful policy towards the indigenous Jumma people, to stop its repression of human rights activists and indigenous Jumma peoples.

“Remember we share a planet with other societies and must learn to live together in harmony. We are different, but not enemies. We have common enemies to fight together such as ignorance, fear, hatred and diseases. The Lord Buddha condemned violence against others in any form whatsoever. Man biologically is one species,” they said.

They claimed that various acts of violence had been unleashed on the Buddhists in Bangladesh. They said a group of 20 armed personnel had destroyed a Buddhist meditation centre and taken away two novices to an Army camp.

The Sadhana Tila Temple which is one of the most respected temples had been reportedly destroyed on September 1, 2007.

The monks alleged there had been extra judicial killings and land grabbing from the Buddhists in Bangladesh until recently. At least two people had been killed during the past few weeks while over 222.38 acres have been taken away by force at Dighinala Upaziklla in Khaagrachari District, according to the monks.