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Bangladesh court: Why weren't Buddhists protected?

Associated Press Published: October 3, 2012

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh's High Court asked the government on Wednesday to explain why local officials failed to provide security to minority Buddhists whose homes, temples and businesses were attacked over a picture of a burned Quran posted on Facebook.

A two-judge panel asked top bureaucrats of the Home Ministry and local administrators to reply within a week and ordered authorities to ensure safety in troubled areas of southern Bangladesh.

The judges ruled after a lawyer presented several newspaper reports on last weekend's attacks. At least 10 temples and 40 homes were torched, looted or vandalized in the coastal district of Cox's Bazar.

The court also asked a government-formed investigative committee to submit its findings to it by Oct. 17.

The government has already removed a local police chief for failing to thwart the attacks.

A 25-year-old Buddhist man has been blamed for the Facebook posting but local media quoted him as saying he was not responsible.

No new violence has been reported since the government deployed military troops, paramilitary border guards and police at Ramu in Cox's Bazar district. Authorities have also increased security around two camps of Rohingya Muslims in the district. Many villagers have blamed them for the violence, although there is no clear evidence of their involvement.

Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir has blamed radical groups, citing initial reports, but said authorities are still investigating the attacks.

On Wednesday, about 500 Buddhists who lost their homes were staying in makeshift tents installed by authorities in Ramu.

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