Terrorists Attack ISKCON Temple in Chittagong, Bangladesh
By ISKCON News Weekly Staff on 23 May 2009
On May 18, ISKCON News Weekly received a distraught message from an obviously emotional monk at ISKCON’s Nandankanan Sri Sri Gour Nitai Ashram in Chittagong, the main seaport of Bangladesh.
On May 14 at 3pm, the devotee said, he and his peers were busy preparing for a weekend festival when fifty to sixty terrorists burst into the temple, brandishing knives and iron bars. They first destroyed the kitchens, devotee accommodation, and Gaura Nitai deities. Then, as the devotees ran into the temple courtyard in a panic, the attackers poured boiling water on them from the balcony, badly burning many.
The terrorists also stole ten to twelve thousand taka (Bangladesh’s monetary unit) from the temple donation box, as well as a further ten thousand from individual residents. Devotees phoned the nearby police station again and again, but to no avail.
“Their negligence of duty came at a terrible cost,” Chinmoydham Dasa said in his message to ISKCON News. “Many devotees were injured and had to be brought to the hospital’s emergency room.”
By the time the police finally arrived, the terrorists had caused 80,000 taka worth of damage. Neither did they seem remotely intimidated by the presence of law enforcement. And it was soon clear why. When the terrorists threatened the devotees, “You must all leave now and hand the temple over to us!” the police remained silent, not voicing any defense.
“For this crime of the police, thousands of devotees took to the streets to protest,” Chinmoydham said. He explains that after this, the police eventually took out a case against the attackers.
Chinmoydham’s report was in broken English, and it is unsure what group the terrorists belonged to, or what exactly happened when the police arrived, although it appears that the temple remains unsafe for the devotees. More detailed news on the attack and current situation will be reported as it comes in.