Site of Shijok Buddhist temple declared as a reserved area for security forces


Hill Voice, 27 March 2023, Rangamati: Although army were recently withdrawn from the army camp built on the site of the Shijokmukh Sarbojanin Buddhist Bihara in in Sarbowatli Union of Baghaichari of Rangamati district, a signboard has been hung declaring the place of the Buddhist temple as a reserved area for the security forces.

The signboard stated, ‘Camp used by security forces, No entry without permission’ and ‘Damage of any kind of government property located in the camp is a punishable offence’.

Today, March 27, 2023, around 10:30 am, a group of BGB members led by one Naik Subedar from Shijokmukh BGB camp under 37 BGB Rajanagar Zone of Longadu Upazila went there and installed the said signboard.

It is to be noted that on March 25, 2023, at approximately 12:30 pm, the army of the Shijok army camp built in the premises of the Shijokmukh Buddhist Bihara moved to the neighboring Durchari Bazar army camp with their ammunition, weapons and equipment, without telling anyone. While leaving, the name of the camp was also erased from the main gate of the army camp. But the various houses, sentry posts etc. built for the camp were not demolished.

According to the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord of 1997, after the withdrawal of the temporary camp, the camp site should be handed over to the real owner or Hill District Council, but the army did not do so. Additionally, the BGB authorities today put up signboards mentioning the said place in Buddhist temple as a ‘reserved area’ for the security forces, which is clearly illegal and a violation of the CHT Accord.

It is to be noted that last April 25, 2019, a group of army personnel under the leadership of Captain Khaled and Warrant Officer Hasmat of Maini Zone of 21 Bir Regiment of Longadu Upazila set up the army camp on the premises of Shijokmukh Sarnajanin Buddhist Bihara occupying land by force and violating the CHT Accord. Immediately after the establishment of the army camp, the army of the camp created various obstacles in the performance of religious functions and committed religious persecution in Bihara and carried out immense harassment and oppressive activities on the Jumma people of the area.

It is known that the said Buddhist temple is a very old monastery, which was built by the displaced persons after the Kaptai Dam in the 1960s.