It has been seven years since communal attacks were carried on Buddhist Bihars (temple premises) at Ramu, Ukhia and Teknaf in Cox's Bazar.
The trial of the case is being delayed because of the unavailability of witnesses, or the inclusion of false ones.
Exactly 15,182 people were charged in the case. Of these, 526 got bail after being arrested and some others got bail after surrendering at court. Sources at the court say that about 100 are absconding.
Though charge-sheets have been framed against the accused, the trial is pending because of the unavailability of witnesses, claimed Faridul Alam, the public prosecutor at Cox's Bazar District and Sessions Judge Court.
Sources say that hearings in the case have not been held even though the judicial committee has submitted an investigation report on the directive of the High Court.
Sources also say that although a monitoring cell has been formed under the home ministry, there is little progress in the case. The affected community is frustrated by the delay in justice.
On September 29, 2012, a fanatical communal group torched many houses in the Buddhist Palli in Ramu under Cox's Bazar over the tagging of a Muslim person in a Facebook post that defamed the Quran, allegedly posted by a Buddhist named Uttam Barua.
The clash spread to Ukhia, Teknaf and Chattogram's Patiya area. Twelve Buddhist monastries and 26 houses were burnt down in the violence
Six other Buddhist monasteries and hundreds of settlements were attacked, looted and vandalised in the violence.
The next day, on September 30, four more Buddhist monasteries and many artifacts were burnt.
Nineteen cases had been filed at Ramu, Ukhia and Teknaf police stations over the incidents. Of these, 8 were filed at Ramu police station, 7 at Ukhia, 2 at Teknaf and 2 at Cox's Bazar Sadar police station.
Parvez Talukder, the court inspector of Cox's Bazar Judge Court, said that of the 19 cases that were filed, the one filed by Sudhangshu Barua at Ramu police station was dismissed after a settlement between the two parties.
The remaining 18 cases are under trial, and are at the witness collection stage. Most of the witnesses could not be traced at their given addresses, and some had been marked as false witnesses for speaking in favour of the accused.
Abdullah Al Mamun, the additional superintendent of police of the Cox's Bazar Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) said, "The Ukhia court forwarded a case filed over the attack on Ghona Jetbon Buddhist Bihar in the Ukhia area of Ramu, Lot Ukhiarghona Jadipara Arya Bangsha Buddhist Bihar, Lalching of Fotekharhul, Sadaching, Moitree Bihar and Ajanta Buddhist Bihar of Chakmarpul Union, to the PBI for further investigation".
The PBI investigated the incidents and submitted charge sheets against the accused at court at the end of 2016. Abdullah Al Mamun said some of the accused had been identified by different images and video footage that had been appended with the charge sheet.
Sources at the Ramu Central Buddhist Youth Council said that all the complainants in the case are police. The affected people do not know any of the people included in the list.
Sources also allege that the names of many identified perpetrators were dropped from the charge sheet, and some innocent journalists were framed instead.
Sources also said that the names of some frontline activists who led the attacks are not in the charge sheet. The witnesses are too afraid to go to court to give statements because most of them are Buddhist.
The assistant director of Ramu Central Shima Bihar Progganondo Bhikkhu said that communal harmony had been disrupted because of the tragedy; now, harmony can only return if justice is served.
Md Iqbal Hossain, the additional superintendent of police of Cox's Bazar and also the spokesperson of the district police, said, "All 15 cases are being tried."
Police have arrested 500 accused. Some accused have taken bail from high court, and some got bail after surrender. The police are trying to arrest the absconders.
The engineering department of the army has built modern buildings on the burnt sites. The government has helped the affected people to build houses to replace the burnt ones.
Ekushey Padak award winning Buddhist Guru Shattapriya Mahather said, "Our hundred-year-old tradition had been burnt down, but our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has helped us rebuild it."
He added that they hope justice will be served and that communal harmony will return.