Destruction and Desecration of Places of Worship

Bangladeshi Settlers
Armed Resistance
Religious Persecution
Rapes & Abductions
Jumma Refugees
CHT Treaty
Foreign Aid


Broken Images

On 8 May 1986, The Bangladesh Army motivated by religious fanaticism attacked "Navajyoti Buddhist Vihara" (Navajyoti Buddhist Temple) at Lalyaghona Village in Baghaichari Upazilla (sub district), destroyed and desecrated the temple by breaking down one of the images. It's part of the systematic pattern of the Bangladesh military's attack against the religious minorities of the country. Religious fundamentalism and intolerance to the religious minorities are on the rise in Bangladesh in general and military in particular.

Religious persecution and destruction of places of worship is commonplace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Religious persecution takes place in the form of torture, murder, intimidation of the monks of the Buddhist, Hindu and Christian faiths and deliberate and systematic destructions of places of worship. The following information is just a small fraction of the Bangladesh (BD) Government organised religious persecution committed against the Jumma people of the CHT.

6 August 2006

A group of Muslim settlers led by Rafique Uddin destroyed the Buddhist temple of Challyatali village under Longadu, Rangamati. Their aim was to grab the temple land. The indigenous villagers objected to the UNO (local civil administrator) against Rafique Uddin and his gang. The indigenous villagers demanded a freeze to land grabbing and religious persecution. On 7 August UNO formed a inquiry committee with Chairman of Bhasanya Adam Mr. Nurucchafa, former Longadu Chairman Mr. Sukhamoy Chakma, representative of Longadu police station, Commander of Challyatali BDR camp and Kanungo (government employee on land). However, on 8 August the Muslim settlers led by Rafique Uddin set fire the temple. A case was filed with Longadu police station in connection with the arson. But no culprit was arrested so far. It is mentionable that the temple was built with the financial assistance of Ministry of CHT Affairs.

27-31 May 2003

The Jumma people have a Buddhist temple at the peak of the Fali Tangya mountain in Barkal.The Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) wanted to destroy the temple and build a telecommunication tower on its place.
On May 27, 2003 a group of BDR led by Major Rashid brought down the signboard and the flag of the Buddhist temple. They torched the residence of the Buddhist monks. Next day they threatened the devotees who had gathered there for religious function. They imposed restriction of moving into the area. The BDR personnel tied Mr. Sneha Moy Chakma and Mr. Kitta Mohan Chakma with a pillar and dragged women out of the temple. A group of BDR led by Habilder Fazlu constructed a camp on the temple land. On 31 May 2003, the BDR attempted to destroy the temple's structure but they failed due to vehement protest and demonstration of the local people. The BDR camp is still there on the temple ground. On 7 June 2003, the local people of Barkal submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

8 September 2002

At about 10 p.m, Captain Mohammed Arif and his Bangladesh Army personnel from the Sixth Infantry Division at Bandarban rounded up the villagers of Amtoli, Bandarban District. They gathered the Jummas at the local Buddhist temple and subjected them to gruelling interrogation for four days under the pretext of apprehending the so called Jumma rebels who do not exist. During the interrogation, the Jumma villagers were abused with obscene and racially offending languages, booted, beaten and the Jumma women and girls were molested and abused even in front of their relatives. Many Jummas were injured. For example (i) Mrs. Chandra Rekha Chakma and her husband, (ii) Mr. Nishi Ratan Chakma, (iii) Mrs. Sangma Prue Marma (31), (iv) Mr. Medose Marma (50). The Bangladesh Army compelled the arrested Jummas to urinate and defecate in front of the images of the Buddha in the local Vihara (Buddhist temple) to demonstrate their deep hatred towards the non-Islamic religions of the Jumma Kafirs/Infidels. Needless to say, the Bangladesh Army forced the Jumma villagers to supply them with huge amount of rice, goats, chickens, large amount of fruits and vegetable and firewood for four days free.

14 February 1999

The Rev. Lynin Bawm, a Jumma Christian Priest of Suanalu Para, Rowangchari, Bandarban, was going to the local church to conduct the usual Sunday prayers. But Major Asaduzzaman of Rowangchari army camp stopped him on the way and ordered him to make a bamboo basket for him instead of going to the church. Rev. Bawm refused to carry out his orders. In Islamic Bangladesh, to disobey the orders of the Muslim officers (however wrong their orders might be) by the Jumma kafirs (infidels) is an unforgivable "offence". So, this arrogant military officer mercilessly beat the innocent Jumma priest and critically injured him. Rev. Bawm was so seriously injured that he had to be carried by the Jummas to Rowangchari Hospital for treatment.

27 February 1998

A group of Muslim settlers under the instructions of the Bangladesh Army ransacked and destroyed a Hindu Temple (Shiv Mandir) at Matiranga, Khagrachari District. The Bangladesh Government did not take any action against the culprits.

21 May l996

The BD Army personnel of the 17 EBR from the Marishya Milltary Zone Headquarters lead by Maj. Anwar, Second-In-Command of the said Zonal HQ, and Lt. Ferdous (the Commanaer of Ugalahari Army Camp), the Army troops from the Khagrachari Brigade Headquarters led by Maj. Tareq, and the BDR personnel from Old Lankar BDR Camp led by Capt. Mohammad Khayer (the Commander of the BDR Camp at Old Lankar) jointly attacked Jumma Bazaar in Old Lankar area bordering the Mizoram State of India and burnt down all the shops (belonged to the Jumma People). Then, on their way back to Old Lankar BDR Camp, they torched 19 Jumma houses at Lakshmiban Karbari Para village (in Thalchara area) and 16 Jumma houses at Reboti Karbari Para village in Sajek Union under the jurisdiction of Baghaichari Police Station within Rangamati District. At Lakshmiban Karbari Para village, these Military terrorists and Islamic zealots desecrated the local Buddhist Temple, broke the images of the Buddha into pieces, stole the money from the Temple Donation Box and set the Temple on fire. Similarly, they also set the local Primary School alight. After that, these Military arsonists set ablaze a Jumma house in Dhebachari area of the Lankar region.

25 April l996

Havildar Mohammad Aziz & his Armymen from Shan- tila Army Camp under the control of the Panchari Military Zone raided Milan Shakti Bouddha (Buddhist) Vihar (Temple) at Pujgang Mukh village under the jurisdiction of Panchari Polic Station within Khagrachari District in order to desecrate the non-Muslim places of worship as part of the Bangladesh (BD) Government's Bangladeshization and Islamisation of the CHT Scheme. These Military fanatics broke the head of an image of the Buddha with their rifle butts and and threw down the rest of the image on the floor. Then, they kicked with their boots on the head of another image of the Buddha to topple it. Having been seriously hurt by such blatant attack on their Temple, the Jumma people requested the local Thana (Police Station) Nirbahi (Administrative) Officer (TNO), the Deputy Commissioner of Khagrachari District, and so on to stop religious persecution and also to punish the Military culprits. At the same time, the Panchari Branch of the Hill Students Council demonstrated to protest at the planned desecration of the Temple and demanded immediate arrest and open trial of the Military terrorists and criminals. Needless to say, the BD Government had not taken any actions against the military culprits. However, Lt. Col. Mohammad Mati, the Commander of the Panchari Military Zone, inspected the Temple, saw the broken images of the Buddha and the bootmarks of the soldiers on the floor for himself, and asked the Monks and the Jummas to keep their mouths shut

6 December 1995

The soldiers of the newly brought-in 4th Field Artillery Group from Kachchaptali Army Camp under the control of the Bandarban Military Zone conducted a search-operation to capture the Shanti Bahini (SB) personnel in Kachchaptali Mouza within Bandarban District. During the operation, they thoroughly searched Nathakgiri Bouddha Vihar (Buddhist Temple) and Liragaon Bouddha Vihar (Buddhist Temple). Having found no SB personnel, nor arms and ammunitions in the Temples, the Military fanatics interrogated the Monks in a very humiliating manner and desecrated the images of the Buddha proving their profound contempt for all non-Islamic religions.

25 June 1995

Lt. Ferdous, the Commander of Bara Kojoichari Mukh Bangladesh Army Camp, and his soldiers conducted a campaign in the entire area starting from Battali and Ugalchari of Marishya to Kojoichari in order to apprehend the members of the Shanti Bahini. Having found no trace of the Shanti Bahini in the area, they attacked the local Buddhist Temple, desecrated the images of Lord Buddha, looted all valuable property, interrogated the Monk and other devotees, and tortured them during interrogation. Among the victims were: i) The Buddhist Monk of the Temple, ii) Mr. Sapya Chakma (22), a devotee and the son of Mr. Narad Muni Chakma, iii) Mr. Dhana Ram Chakma (45), a devotee and the son of Mr. Bar Dhama Chakma and so forth.

31 May l995

Rev. U Kai Chara (50), the head monk of the Jagat Shanti Buddhist Temple of Chowdhury Para vIllage under the jurisdiction of Ramgarh Upazilla and some Jumma women devotees were walking along the Mahalchari-Jaliapara Road on their way from Goria Para village under the jurisaiction of Mahaichari Upazilla to a religious function at Ramgarh. When they arrived at No. 2 Road Protection Post (Military Check Post), a group of 15 Bangladeshi road labourers, who live at Barpilak cluster village in No. 209 Barpilak Mouza of Ramgarh, began to abuse them with obscene languages. Naturally, one of the Jumma women devotees protested at the rude behaviour of the aggressive Bangladeshi labourers. The Jumma people have no right to protest even when they are abused by any Bangladeshi of the Islamic State of Bangladesh. So, the Bangladeshi labourers punished the Monk and all the women devotees by flogging them mercilessly for tneir audacity to protest in the full view of the Bangladesh military. The following Bangladeshi Settlers were among the culprits: i) Mohammad Nazrul Islam, the son of Mohammad Ahid Sarkar, ii) Mohammad Abdul Ali, the son of Mohammad Saruja Mistry, iii) Mohammad Kasem, the son of Mohammad Alauddin, iv) Mohammad Swapan, the son of Mohammad Abul Basar, and so on.

10 March 1995

The Army personnel of Bhijakijing Camp under the jurisdiction of Rangamati Police Headquarters attacked Hazachara village, rounded up the Jumma villagers, interrogated them and harassed them during the interrogations. Having found no members of the Shanti Bahini in the village, they attacked the local Buddhist Temple, searched it, desecrated it, interrogated the monk and harassed him in a very humiliating manner in order to hurt the sentiment of the Buddhist Jummas.


  1. Life is Not Ours: the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commiission
  2. Jana Samhati Samiti Report
  3. Unlawful Killings and Torture in the CHT: Amnesty International