Violent attacks were on Buddhist shrines and Monasteries in Bangladesh

Religious heritage of indigeneous population damaged

Published on 4 October 2012

Author(s): Swadhin Sen

Type:  Discussion List Critical Heritage Studies

During the last week or so, violent attacks were on Buddhist shrines and Monasteries in Ramu, Ukhiya and Teknalf of Chittagong, Bangladesh. On around 12 shrines and 7 monasteries in Ramu, belonging to the indigenous Rakhaine group and Barua communities have been damaged, burnt, and looted. Some of the shrines and monasteries were well known for their entirely wooded architecture and unique wood carvings. Laal Ching, one shrine among the many belonging to the Rakhaines, was completely burnt.

Seema Vihar, a monastery of the Barua communities, were also burnt. Many metal and stone sculptures were destroyed, burnt and defaced. Old manuscripts and texts were burnt and lost. It has been a irreparable damage to the heritage. These establishments are more than 250 years old, and according to the prevailing antiquity act in Bangladesh they could be regarded as national heritage of the country. However, the Department of Archaeology of the Bangladesh Government has yet to take any step.

The main perpetrators are still to be identified by the state and government. Many conspiracy theories are being invoked and blame-games by the govt and the opposition parties are going on. Recent upsurge of religious violence in the bordering region of Myanmar and on the other side, ethnic violence in Assam along with these one in Bangladesh hint at the very vulnerable state of 'minority' ethnic and religious groups and their heritage.

This brief note is for informing all of our colleagues around the world about the present state of heritage destruction by religious violence. I will let you know in details with more data soon.

Peace be upon us,

Swadhin Sen

Contact author: swadhinsen@HOTMAIL.COM

Contact critical heritage studies discussion list: CRITICAL-HERITAGE-STUDIES@JISCMAIL.AC.UK

Back to previous page