Ramu Violence was planned: Sultana Kamal

Three human rights organisations on Wednesday demanded a judicial investigation into the violence of Ramu and Ukhia upazilas in Cox's Bazar to safeguard the interest of the minorities.

The rights bodies made the demand at a press briefing in the conference room of Cox's Bazar municipality office, reports our Chittagong correspondent.

Ain O Salish Kendra, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) and Manusher Jonno Foundation organised the press briefing one day after visiting the destruction sites of the September 29 sectarian violence.

"The law enforcers and public administration sort of failed in their duties on the days of incident," ASK Executive Director Sultana Kamal told journalists on Wednesday at a press conference in Cox's Bazaar.

She demanded bringing the real perpetrators to justice through judicial probe besides ensuring action against the law enforcers and local administration if they were found associated with the attacks.

Sultana Kamal said the incident that rocked Cox's Bazaar was not an accident. "It was planned."

A group of religious fanatics, apparently stirred by a Facebook post allegedly defaming Quran, attacked a pre-dominantly Buddhist locality in Cox's Bazaar district's Ramu upazila on the night of Sep 29. The communal attacks, one of the worst of its kind in Bangladesh, left seven Buddhist monasteries and at least 30 houses and shops smashed, looted and torched in the locality. More than 100 other houses and shops also reportedly fell prey to the zealots' wrath that fateful night.

The frenzy continued into the next day when similar attacks took place in Chittagong's Patia and Cox's Bazar's Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas.

Sultana Kamal of ASK, Manusher Jonno Foundation Executive Director Shahin Anam and TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman visited the damaged areas in Ramu on Tuesday and talked to locals.

The victims alleged much of the atrocities could have been avoided had the local administration and police acted in time.

Amid accusations against the law enforcers, authorities withdrew Officer in Charge of the Ramu Police Station Nazibul Islam.

The High Court was moved following the series of hate attacks. On Oct 3, the court issued a rule questioning the 'failure' of the law-enforcing agencies to protect Bangladeshi citizens, including religious minorities.

The Home Secretary, Inspector General of Police, Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police of Cox's Bazaar and Chittagong, and the Officer in Charge of the police station concerned have been asked to reply to the rule.