Sadhantila Buddhist Temple

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NEWS: September 7, 2007

The situation in Sadhana Tila remains volatile and tense as the settlers continue to provoke the Buddhist monks and indigenous Jummo villagers in order to find pretext for launching a full scale communal attack.

Both sides were on the brink of a riot on 4 September when Mohamed Abbas Mian and his wife began digging the ground inside the temple boundary to erect a house. It was the second time the Muslim settlers tried to build houses in a provocative manner inside the temple enclosure.

  Muslim settlers backed by Bangladesh Army clear land of Sadantila Buddhist Temple to build houses.  

The settlers paid no heed when the Buddhist monks prevented them. In the end the monks were compelled to destroy the houses. After that, Abbas Mian and his wife called in reinforcements of his fellow settlers who made attempts to attack the monks and some lay women who had been there for religious duties. The Muslim settlers retreated when they faced resistance put up by the indigenous Jummo villagers.

  Muslim settlers argue with the resident monk of Sadhantila Buddhist Temple. Muslim settlers are often encouraged by Bangladesh Army and Government to forcibly grab indigenous Jummo Buddhist land.  

At this stage, the military personnel led by Major Qamrul Hassan intervened. The Major put on an innocent face and inquired about the incident from the Buddhist monks. On hearing their version of the incident, the army commander asked them to report the matter to the TNO (Thana Nirbahi Officer or local administrative officer).

The TNO visited the spot the following day and listened to the both sides. He held a meeting with the village elders and UP (Union Parishad or local council) chairmen and members on 7 September 2007.

  Muslim settlers illegally erected the structure of house on temple ground. Bangladesh Government and Bangladesh Army directly assist their Muslim coreligionists in dispossessing non-Muslim minorities.  

While the TNO tries to pacify the anger of the Jummos, the settlers continue to build houses at Sadhanatila grabbed from indigenous villagers under the command and protection of the Bangladesh army. Some of the houses have been built right in the orchards and courtyards of the Jummo villagers.

The beleaguered Jummos are weighing other options to defend their land and the temple.