A distressing incident unfolded on the night of Friday, 5th January, as a fire ravaged the entrance of a historic Buddhist monastery situated in the Cheranghata area of Ramu upazila in Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh. The untimely outbreak of the fire, occurring at 2 a.m. while the venerable priests were peacefully asleep, has stirred concern and drawn attention to the vulnerability of this cherished 150-year-old sanctuary.
As reported by Officer-in-Charge Abu Taher Dewan from the Ramu police station, the sudden calamity struck the serene confines of the monastery, posing a grave threat to its ancient structure and cultural significance. The initial moments of the conflagration were met with frantic shouts for assistance from the startled priests, swiftly drawing the attention of nearby locals, who valiantly rushed in to aid and promptly tackled the blaze. Their swift intervention helped contain the fire and prevented further devastation.
Describing the efforts to control the situation, Dewan mentioned, “After receiving the distressing information, the Ramu Fire Service promptly mobilized and deployed to the scene, successfully bringing the fire under control.” Despite their efforts, the inferno inflicted damage upon a wooden staircase within the sacred grounds of the monastery, marking a sobering consequence of the fire’s ferocity.
It later emerged that a ‘masked man’ scaled the wall of the monastery, poured kerosene on the staircase and set it on fire. The development was confirmed by Rapid Action Battalion-5 spokesperson Jamilul Haque.
The incident not only sheds light on the perilous vulnerability of historically significant sites but also highlights the invaluable role of community solidarity and prompt response in safeguarding cultural heritage. The swift action taken by the locals in response to the priests’ cries for help serves as a testament to the collective responsibility toward preserving such revered landmarks.
This distressing event prompts a reflection on the need for enhanced protective measures and vigilance to prevent similar mishaps from endangering the rich historical and cultural tapestry of revered sites like the Cheranghata Ancient Buddhist Monastery. Preserving these symbols of cultural heritage stands as a shared responsibility, calling for proactive measures to mitigate risks and ensure their enduring legacy for generations to come.