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Dhaka Tribune

Rumours spread after clash breaks out near Buddhist temple in Teknaf

Locals claim the clash broke out over the yaba trade

Update : 06 Mar 2022, 02:23 PM

Buddhists and Muslims of Katakhali in Howaikhyong under Teknaf clashed over a trivial issue resulting in injuries to at least eight people on Sunday afternoon.

However, some photos of the injured and fire in a small house have been circulated on social media by the Buddhists and Hindus labelling it as a communal attack by the Muslims, apparently to ferment communal hatred and draw sympathy. 

The incident happened at a time when protests are underway across the country and the law enforcers are taking stern action following attacks on Hindu temples, Durga Puja venues and homes over the last two weeks.

Teknaf police Officer-in-Charge (OC) Md Hafizur Rahman and UNO Md Parvez Chowdhury visited the area but they refused to comment on the matter. 

According to the Buddhists, an altercation took place between a Muslim youth named Tofayel Ahmed and some Chakma youths including Umongi Chakma in the morning over a trivial matter.

Also Read - US report lists communal attacks in Bangladesh in 2020

Later supporters of Tofayel and the Chakma youths of the area clashed with locally-made weapons around 4pm.

During the clash, a small hut adjacent to Aranya Kutir Thought Centre was vandalized. At one point, a small fire was seen at the hut. However, the fire was doused immediately.

The Chakma people alleged that the Muslim youths led by Tofayel attacked them, assaulted some women and then set fire to the Aranya Kutir Centre after vandalism.

On the other hand, Tofayel claimed that the Buddhists torched the centre to divert the incident.

“Some Chakma men in a drunken state intercepted me on my way home from Doigyakata in the morning, resulting in a scuffle. When we went there to settle the matter in the afternoon, they threw bricks at us,” he added.

Also Read - Experts: Awareness needed to stop misinformation on internet

The injured include five from the Chakma community including Umongi Chakma while the rest are Chakma youths. They took primary treatment at different hospitals and health centres.

Meanwhile, wishing to remain anonymous, locals claimed that the incident took place over yaba trade.

Local administration or law enforcers could not confirm the matter.

Katakhali police outpost members said police were deployed in the area following the clash.

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