Narinjara news

70 Rakhine Buddha Statues stolen in two years

Dhaka, 12 May 03:
Theft of Buddha statues from the temples of the Rakhine Community in Bangladesh is unabated in the Rakhine dominated areas like Amtali, Galachipa in Barguna district, Kalapara and Kuakata people feeling insecured in the performance of their religious rites, according to the independent on 10th May 03.

A total of 70 Buddha statues were stolen from different temples in the Rakhine village in the coastal region during the last two years. Police administration has failed to unearth the mystery of the theft and arrest any number of the gang engaged in the theft of the statues for profiteering.

The failure of the police administration in this regard has left the Rakhine people to insecurity regarding their religious performance.

In the year of 2002 alone, a total of 33 Rakhine ancient Buddha statues were stolen from different temples.

A group of thieves engaged by the statues trafficking gang stole a bronze Buddha statue weighing two and a half kilograms from the Chatanpara Rakhine temple in May of 2002. Another group of thieves stole a statue weighing 325 kilograms from temple at Thakurpara in Taltali Township of Barguna district on August 4,2002. The statue was recovered from a derelict pond some days after its steating. A social worker, Tun Hla Pru donated the statue to the temple in 1943.

Besides these, almost all of the 30 statues in three temples at Agathakur village were stolen during the period. Since then the Rakhine of Agathakurpara area in a bit to avoid theft of their statues made of valuable wood, touchstone, copper, bronze and marvel stone kept those in the houses of their clerics.

The other statues that were stolen at different times in 2002 included, among others, the touchstone statue of Misrapur temple and one marvel stone statue of Betkata temple in Kuakata. Besides the statues, two copper bells of Kerampara temple, two bells one weighing 20 kilograms and another 15kgs of central Buddha Bihar in Kalapara township were stolen during the period.

One Rakhine leader informed that eight Buddha statues were stolen from Luxmi village area under Chapatali union and two from Haripara village under Belaitali union on January 14,2003.

Secretary of Rakhin Buddhist Welfare Association, Patuakhali Unit, said that a suspect in the theft of eight statues was handed over to the police. But police could not trace the trafficking gang, the paper concluded.  #