The Inspector General of Police on Wednesday told the High Court the police had immediately ordered reinforcements on being informed about last month’s hate attacks on Buddhist settlements in Ramu.
Hassan Mahmood Khandaker came up with the claim in the report after the higher court wanted to know what the police had done when one of the worst communal riots in decades had broken out.
The report, however, did not mention exactly when the police first received the news, amid allegations that they were too late to react to the violence.
Deputy Attorney General Al Amin submitted the report, prepared by Senior Assistance Superintendent of Police (Law) Md Mizanur Rahman on behalf of IGP, to the bench of Justices Mirza Hossain Haider and Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo.
On Oct 3, the court asked the police and the Ministry of Home Affairs to report in 15 days detailing what they had done to protect the lives and property of the minority Buddhists.
The riot that began on Sep 29 night lasted for two days, leaving houses, shops and temples of Buddhists and Hindus looted, ravaged and burnt.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, a resident of Ramu, moved the court. The Home Secretary was also asked to respond but he failed to turn in his version and prayed for more time.
According to the report, immediately after receiving the news of riot from the Cox’s Bazaar district’s Superintendent of Police, the IGP had made arrangements for additional police deployment at Ramu, and contacted other stakeholders of the government for ensuring security of the minority community.
“He along with the Home Minister visited the area the day after the incident. At that time he ordered Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the area to take immediate action against those involved in the incidents at Ramu and other places,” said the report.
“The DIG himself monitored the overall situation and performances of RAB, police, Armed Police Battalion and BGB deployed in the affected areas.
“A three-member team led by the DIG of the Chittagong range has been formed to investigate the Sep 29 incident at Ramu, alongside the probe initiated by the government,” the report continued.
“As many as 16 cases were filed with four police stations in Cox’s Bazaar following the incidents at Ramu and its adjoining areas and 211 suspects have been arrested.”
The report continued, the police had also been directed to secure the lives and property of all minority communities, their places of worship including pagoda, temple, and church in line with the High Court order.
It further said precautionary measures were taken to prevent a repeat.
“The Inspector General of Police is also holding meetings with local leaders of all religious communities, politicians, and members of the civil society in the affected areas. The Inspector General of Police visited Cox’s Bazaar district on Oct 15 for evaluating the latest situation there,” it clarified.
The riot broke out over the allegation of denigrating Islam by a Buddhist youth. At least seven Buddhist temples, 30 houses and a number of shops were set afire during the riot.
The hate attacks spread to Cox’s Bazaar’s Ukhia and Teknaf and Chittagong’s Patia the next day.
Ramu Police Station’s Officer in-Charge Nozibul Islam was removed after the incident amid allegations that the riot would have been avoided had police gone into action immediately.