70-year-old Chiute Tamang was working in his field when the earth shook on Apr 25. He grabbed a tree. His wife and daughter were inside the house at the time, but managed to run out. In the blink of an eye, the building turned into a heap of stones. They were the lucky ones.
The signs had been clear for months; beneath the veneer of normalcy in Sri Lanka’s southwestern coastal town of Aluthgama, religious tensions were brewing, but no one was sure how or when they would erupt.
Two Myanmar Buddhist politicians who were visiting Malaysia narrowly escaped a late night assassination attempt outside a leading shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur this month. The incident has raised fears of an overseas spillover of the religious violence that has engulfed their state of Rakhine in recent years.
Rendered the nowhere people in their own homeland, thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are fleeing inhuman living conditions, lack of humanitarian aid and rising sectarian tensions in their country. And the very state that is supposed to protect them now stands accused of ‘ethnic cleansing’.
Anxiety has yet to die down over a week after crowds of Muslims torched more than
a dozen temples and scores of houses in southeast Bangladesh, leaving thousands of Buddhists with the unshakeable premonition that more violence was forthcoming.