Myanmar’s Hindu refugees mark festival in Bangladesh camp

This photo taken on October 18, 2018 shows Hindu refugees from Myanmar gathering to celebrate their festival at the Kutapalong refugee camp in southern Bangladesh. (AFP / Mohammad Faraz~)
Updated 20 October 2018
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Myanmar’s Hindu refugees mark festival in Bangladesh camp

  • The Hindus are camping only a kilometer away from Kutupalong near Cox’s Bazar, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been living
  • The Hindu refugees say that their community was attacked in August 2017 in northern Rakhine state by Rohingya militants

KUTUPALONG, Bangladesh: Hindu refugees from Myanmar living in a camp in Bangladesh have been celebrating the festival of Durga Puja for the first time since fleeing violence in northern Rakhine state last year.
More than 500 Hindus escaped their homes last August along with over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims as Myanmar’s army launched a brutal crackdown that the UN says amounted to “ethnic cleansing.”
Hindu community leader Jibon Sharma told AFP that the terrifying circumstances of their escape prevented them from celebrating the annual festival last year.
But now local authorities in southeastern Bangladesh and the country’s Hindu minority have helped them, including with materials to build the pavilions housing displays of the many-armed goddess Durga.
“When we were in Myanmar we used to worship regularly. But it’s different here. Bangladeshis helped us beyond imagination with money and clothes,” Sharma told AFP.
“We are very grateful to them.”
The Hindu refugees say that their community was attacked in August 2017 in northern Rakhine state by Rohingya militants, and relations with the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh remain tense.
The Hindus are camping only a kilometer or two (a mile) around away from the world’s largest refugee camp — Kutupalong near Cox’s Bazar — where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been living.
“We have full-time security posted at this camp. We are well aware of the tension between them,” said police official Jahangir Alam.
The festival includes 10 days of music and cultural performances, as well as clothes being gifted to cheering children.
“I forgot when was the last time we had such a great Puja (prayer ritual). I am seeing my kids’ happy faces... I am very happy,” Suma Paul, a Hindu refugee, said as she cried happy tears.


Polish parliament honors slain Gdansk mayor with prayer

Updated 16 January 2019
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Polish parliament honors slain Gdansk mayor with prayer

  • The attacker stabbed the mayor three times, in the heart and the abdomen
  • The stabbing happened while the mayor was onstage during a fundraising event

WARSAW: Polish lawmakers have paid respects to the popular mayor of Gdansk, who died after being stabbed by an ex-convict with a grudge.
Parliament members stood Wednesday for a minute of silence and prayed for Pawel Adamowicz, who died on Monday after being stabbed while onstage at a fundraising event the evening before.
Grzegorz Schetyna, the head of the opposition Civic Platform party, remembered Adamowicz as a courageous man who had devoted his life to his city, and blamed “insane hatred” for his killing.
The assailant stabbed Adamowicz three times in the heart and abdomen and told the crowd it was revenge against Civic Platform, which was in power when he was imprisoned for bank robberies. Adamowicz was a longtime member of the party but left it in 2015.