03/14/2021 Bangladesh (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), Christians in Bangladesh are protesting against the recent demolition of a church in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
On February 25, officials from the Forest Department and 8-10 Muslim civilians tore down an under-construction church in Kurukpata Union, located in the Bandarban District. Forest officials claim the church was being illegally built in a forest reserve.
“Official said they demolished the church building because it was being constructed in a forest reserve,” Adhirang Tripura, a member of the church community, told UCAN. “But my question is, why are illegal activities like cutting down trees and lifting stones from rivers not stopped? Can’t we as minorities practice our religion properly?”
According to Tripura, the under-construction church was being built to replace an old structure made of bamboo and straw. That old structure had existed without complaint for years. Some 160 Christians reportedly attended the church that was demolished.
On March 8, around 200 Christians formed a human chain and held a silent protest against the demolition of the church. The Christian protestors sought assurances of their religious freedom rights and demanded compensation of the loss of the church building.
In a written statement, the protestors said that Christians in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have been the victims of terrorism and have had their churches destroyed and their homes set on fire.