BANGLADESH: BUDDHIST CLERICS TAKE CHRISTIANS CAPTIVE


Monks hold converts in pagoda to forcibly turn them back to Buddhism.

DHAKA, Bangladesh, December 18 (Compass Direct News) – Buddhist clerics and local council officials are holding 13 newly converted Christians captive in a pagoda in a southeastern mountainous district of Bangladesh in an attempt to forcibly return them to Buddhism.

A spokesman for the Parbatta Adivasi (Hill Tract) Christian Church told Compass on condition of anonymity that “the plight of the Christians is horrifying.”

Local government council officials in Jorachuri sub-district in Rangamati district, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Dhaka, are helping the Buddhist monks to hold the Christians against their will, he said.

“The 13 tribal Christians were taken forcefully to a pagoda on Dec. 10 to accept Buddhism against their will,” he said. “They will be kept in a pagoda for 10 days to perform the rituals to be Buddhists – their heads were shaved, and they were given yellow saffron robes to dress in.”

All the captive Christians are men between 28 and 52 years old, he said. They became Christians around four months ago at various times in the country, which has a Buddhist population of 0.7 percent. Muslims make up nearly 90 percent of the Bangladeshi population, with Hindus accounting for about 9 percent, according to government figures.

According to the source, two Buddhist clerics, Pronoyon Chakma and Jianoprio Vikku, and two local council members, Vira Chakma and Rubichandra Chakma, were behind the anti-Christian activities along with nine other Buddhist leaders.

“It’s the first time they have taken 13 Christians to the pagoda to make them Buddhist – this is how they plan to make Buddhists of all the converted Christians in that area,” he said. “The pagoda has little capacity to accommodate them; otherwise they would hold captive more than 13 people.”

The Christian leader said Buddhist leaders and local council officials have warned Christians to return to Buddhism or be evicted, saying, “You cannot live here – you have to leave this place with your family members because you became Christians. Those who became Christians cannot live in this predominantly Buddhist area.”

Fearing for their lives, the source said, some area Christians have gone into hiding.

Mogdhan Union Council Chairman Arun Kanti Chakma, the source said, warned that Christian converts would be ostracized, beaten, and – assuming they returned to Buddhism only to return to Christianity – killed.

“The chairman threatened to beat the Christians unless they change their faith to Buddhism,” he said. “The chairman also threatened, ‘If you become Christian again, we will not keep you alive.’”

In another mountainous neighborhood in the Khaokhali area near Jorachuri, about 50 recently converted Christians have been cut off from all communications. They are barred from going to Rangamati town and are living in isolation.

“Those captors and other influential Buddhists leaders are threatening other converted Christians that they will face the same consequences as the 13 captives are facing,” the source said. “They are warning us, ‘All of you should be reconverted to Buddhism in the same way.’”

About 400 people in the district have become Christians over the past year. Like Buddhists, Christians make up less than 1 percent of the Bangladeshi population of 153.5 million.

Christians in the district have not informed police, fearing that any police action would infuriate terrorist groups among the tribal people of the area. The source said terrorist groups have been known to put the lives of Christians in jeopardy at the slightest provocation.

“We did not inform police because underground terrorist groups of those tribal people would get riled up by any kind of police action, and our life would come to a sticky end,” he said. “If we tell police, it will create more problems.”

In addition, he added, the threatened area lies in hills surrounded by nearly impassable mountain terrain, making access unlikely for police action against the captors.  

Report from Compass Direct News

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2 thoughts on “BANGLADESH: BUDDHIST CLERICS TAKE CHRISTIANS CAPTIVE

  1. Well Prem, it was the facts that were reported above. Denial of that doesn’t change the fact that the above happened.

    While it is certainly true that in certain times of history some people going by the name of ‘Christians’ have forced some people to become ‘Christianised, especially those going by the name of Roman Catholics – it is not true that those you are especially speaking of above have been forcibly made to become Christians at all. The Gospel truth was presented to them and the God of all Truth through the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit transformed them, leading them to accept and believe the truth. That you can’t understand that is also of no surprise, as the unrighteous always suppress the truth in their ungodliness in order to quieten their conscience.

    Proper and exact news needs to be reported, that is right – not the myths that are being propogated by those who think people around the world cannot see the facts as they truly are. The criminal behaviour of the people you are defending is still criminal behaviour, no matter how loud their supporters cry otherwise and try to obscure the eyes of the world through through foolish rambling. I’m sure if you ask the 11 percent you are referring to that very few (if any) will say they had (or continue to have) a gun pointed at them when they ‘converted.’

  2. THIS IS NOT TRUE. BECAUSE, IT IS CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE BEEN FORCIBLY CONVERTING BUDDHISTS AND OTHER BELIVERS INTO CHRISTIANITY ALL AROUND THE WORLD. THERE WAS NO CHRISTIANS IN SRI LANKA ABOUT TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO. BUT, NOW ABOUT 11 PERCENT ARE CHRISITIAN BELIVERS. IN BANGLADESH ALSO NGO S ARE DOING THE SAME. SO, PROPER AND EXACT NEWS MUST BE REPORTED WITHOUT GIVING A MISTAKEN VIEW TO THE WORLD.

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