Sattyaprio Mahatir, principal of Sima Temple, said it was disheartening that four years after the horrific attacks, no progress had been made in terms of meeting out justice to the perpetrators.
The government has promptly restored the destroyed pagodas, which is commendable but that alone cannot restore the confidence of the Buddhist community of the locality.
Despite three probes ordered by the HC following two public interest writ petitions filed by two Supreme Court lawyers, no headway has been made due to technicalities.
Meanwhile the reluctance of witnesses to appear in court has prevented the lower courts of Cox’s Bazar to start trial proceedings in the cases filed after the vicious attacks.
Tarun Barua, general secretary of the upazila unit Hindu Buddha Christian Oikya Parishad, alleged, in the charge sheet of police, there were no names of the miscreants who had active role in the attack.
At least 19 cases had been filed by police regarding the attack. They excluded and included the name according their own wish. As a result the real culprits remained out of punishment, he added.
“The police have arrested many innocent people who were not involved in the incident,” said Sumotha Barua, 30, a victim.
“I think some of them could create problem later as they have been punished in the name of attacking on the Buddhist community,” Sumotha, a school teacher, told the Dhaka Tribune.
Like Sumotha, the locals of Merong Loha, Sipahi Para and Rangkot villages at Ramu in Cox’s Bazar told this reporter that police detained mostly the innocent people rather the culprits and the masterminds.
Asked why the government was doing so and who the main culprits were, nobody uttered a single name.
Many of the local people, however, said among the attackers, there were the activists of all main political parties ruling Awami League, BNP and Jamaat.
The presence of Rohingyas in the incident was remarkable, they added.
Ranjit Palit, inspector of court police, said 19 cases had been filed accusing 945 people in connection with Ramu attack.
Meanwhile, the court dismissed a case filed by one Sudhangsa Halder.
Public Prosecutor Momtaz Ahmed said the court could not complete the work of the cases as the witnesses did not come to the tribunal.
They did not appear before the court due to threat by the attackers, he added.
Superintendent of Police Shaymal Kumar Nath could not be reached for comment, as his mobile phone was switched off.
Deputy Comissioner Md Ali Hossain denied the allegation and said army personnel had handled the whole situation ordered by the Prime Minister after the incident.
Now Border Guards Bangladesh are patrolling in the area, he added.
Ramu violence refers to a series of attacks on Buddhist monasteries, shrines, and houses of Buddhist inhabitants in Ramu upazila in Cox’s Bazar District by local mobs on the midnight past 29 September 2012.
Hundreds of people went on a rampage through the village and set fire to houses and temples of the Buddhist community in the area.
At least 12 temples and nine households were torched in the attack.
According to locals and media reports, the acts of civic vandalism in the locality came about based on a rumor that an image had been found tagged with the Facebook account of local Uttam Barua, insulting the Prophet.