The Daily Janakantha authorities have regretted for mentioning Gautama Buddha as a terrorist in a special report published on April 24.
In a corrigendum published Friday, the newspaper’s editor said that the Buddhist community people had expressed resentment over the report which claimed the Buddhist monasteries were behind creating tension in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
At least two cases have been filed against the reporter, Firoz Manna, in Dhaka and Chittagong for hurting religious sentiment of the Buddhists.
Moreover, Buddhist community members and student groups in Dhaka and the CHT staged demonstrations demanding punishment of the reporter for instigating hatred.
“They [Buddhists] are mainly aggrieved because of the description of Gautama Buddha quoted from Wikipedia. The Daily Janakantha has never supported the statement of Wikipedia,” the notice says.
It adds that the newspaper published many editorials, articles and features on Buddha and Buddhism in the past.
“We are withdrawing the whole portion of the story quoted from Wikipedia and express regret,” the notice adds.
The report in question accused the Buddhist monasteries in Rangamati and Bandarban of being used as training centres run by Myanmar’s radical nationalist group called 969 Movement to wage propaganda targeting the Muslims.
In the report, the reporter expressed his concern saying that 969 Movement has converted more than 25,000 indigenous peoples as its followers in the last few months.
To describe the 969 Movement, the report mentioned: “The first ‘9’ stands for the qualities of terrorist Buddha, ‘6’ for terrorist Buddha’s lessons and the other ‘9’ means Buddhist community.”
Also Read- Janakantha journo sued for hurting religious sentiment
However, the Wikipedia article on 969 Movement, accessed online Friday afternoon, describes him as Lord Buddha.
The Janakantha authorities did not remove or correct the part of the story available online when this report was filed at 6:35pm.
The report came at a time when the indigenous communities and political groups have been protesting the death of Romel Chakma, general secretary of UPDF-backed Pahari Chhatra Parishad’s Naniarchar Upazila unit.
He fell sick after being picked up by the army at Naniarchar in Rangamati on April 5 and died while undergoing treatment at Chittagong Medical College Hospital on April 19.
Also Read- CU students protest death of Romel Chakma in torture
UPDF and PCP enforced a blockade in the district Sunday, submitted memorandum to the deputy commissioner and the home minister on Tuesday and observed Naniarchar Bazar boycott programme on Wednesday.
They have demanded a judicial inquiry into Romel’s death and trial of the army personnel responsible for torturing Romel.
[caption id="attachment_60460" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Buddhist monks, under the banner of Rakhine Buddhist Welfare Association, form a human chain in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka Friday condemning a Daily Janakantha report that termed Lord Buddha a terrorist Dhaka Tribune
On the other hand, the Bangali political groups of the CHT have labelled Romel as a terrorist and also demanded ban on UPDF, which is an unregistered organisation.
Apart from the Daily Janakantha, the Daily Kaler Kantho also published a similar report describing Romel as a terrorist after his death, and alleged that the indigenous political groups were trying to destabilise the CHT region.