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Bangladesh: Man Defends Razing 500-Year Old Hindu Temple

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A Muslim businessman has defended his demolition of a 500-year-old Hindu temple in Moulvibazar district, saying he rightfully owned the land on which the temple stood.

Local Hindus filed a complaint with authorities over the incident, which reportedly took place on February 16.

Mohammad Sufi Mian, a member of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, said the 1.33 acre plot of land where the temple stood was purchased by his father in 1975.

“My father bought this land long ago. No one said anything when we broke down the already ruined temple. Now some people are conspiring against me,” he said.

Members of the Hindu community who asked not to be named out of fear for their safety said Mian was politically influential and that they believed he paid off authorities not to investigate the destruction of the temple.

They allege that Mian and more than a dozen other men razed the temple, which was built by Ramshongkor Sharma Chowdhury, according to the only family heir in Bangladesh, Ranjit Sharma Chowdhury.

He added that the rest of his family settled in India after the partition of the sub-continent in 1947.

Mohammad Abdullah, officer in charge at the Srimangal police station, initially declined to comment on the issue but later acknowledged receiving a complaint.

“We have received the written complaint and are now trying to arrest the offender.”

Bangladesh land law prohibits the purchase or sale of land or property belonging to religious prayer houses or institutions such as mosques, temples, churches or pagodas.

Chowdhury said the temple sat on land that his family had designated for charitable works.

“One of my cousins … borrowed money from Lichu Mien [father of Mohammad]. Unable to pay the debt, he … registered the property for Lichu Mian and left the country.”

Chowdhury said Mian’s claims to the land were baseless, as property records from 2000 showed the land and temple was used by Hindu people in the area and that Chowdhury was named as caretaker of the temple.

Moulvibazar district public prosecutor ASM Azadur Rahman said the whole process of land sale was illegal.

“The law of the land forbids buying and selling of property belonging to a temple. Even if the land of the temple was sold and registered to someone else, it is invalid according to land law,” he said.

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The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

2 thoughts on “Bangladesh: Man Defends Razing 500-Year Old Hindu Temple

  • February 25, 2012 at 5:11 am
    Permalink

    But Hindus can demolish the mosque in Ayodhya with impunity and kill hundreds of innocent Muslim women and children in Gujarat without any criminal prosecution? What kind of “democracy” does India pretend to be?

    Reply
  • February 26, 2012 at 2:46 am
    Permalink

    At the time of partition the hindu population of Bangladesh was over 30% of the total population. Now it stands at about 8%. Tell us Patriot what you and your people have done with these hindus ? But the muslim population has increased in India as a whole and in Gujarat too. By the way Gujarat riot occurred due to the burning of two coaches of Sabarmati Express with 59 people inside, majority of them women and children by muslim fundamentalists.

    Reply

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