In February 2020, while the Bengali Muslim settlers after having forcibly occupied the lands of Jumma indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), went on constructing houses, the Jumma people prevented them and following the trend, the Bengali Muslim settlers attacked upon the Jumma people under indulgence of the army. As a part of criminalizing the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and rights activists involved in the movement for implementation of CHT Accord, in the name of searching drive against terrorists, 4 houses were thoroughly searched, 4 persons were apprehended and kept under detention in the camp and one person was prejudicially killed in the name of crossfire by the security forces in February.
Alongside, rowdy atrocities of the armed terrorist groups backed by the army and ruling party continue to occur unabated. In February 2020 alone, 8 innocent Jumma people were kidnapped by the army-and-ruling-party-backed terrorists widely known as Reformist Group. Altogether 5 innocent people of who 2 were killed by the Reformist terrorists and 3 were killed by the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) terrorists. In addition, 12 houses were set ablaze by the ALP miscreants. Under extensive coverage provided by the army, the Reformist Group terrorists searched many houses in different localities and meted out torture upon a house wife by dragging her out of the house.
In February 2020, a meeting of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission was though organized but could not be held due to crisis of the quorum. However, the new office for Bandarban district branch of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission was inaugurated. As it had been earlier in December 2019, also this time, the Bengali Muslim settlers surrounded the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Office under incitement of the administration and army authority. In February 2020, violating the CHT Accord, the army undertook an initiative to construct a dam across the Sijokchara (Sijok stream) under Sajek Union of Baghaichari Upazila of Rangamati hill district the project of which, as alleged by the locals, would definitely bring a wide-scale damage to the localities.
In February 2020, the PCJSS launched strong protest against the special quarter of vested interest that published out a baseless, concocted and politically motivated news titled: “Santu Larma seeks Indian interference in CHT affairs,” in a bid to achieve their mean political objective and divert the event to different course by capitalizing the India visit of Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, President of PCJSS and also Chairman of CHT Regional Council whose was to perform religious rites and rituals of his departed parents.
Settlers Attempt to grab lands: Attack upon Jumma people in Nanyachar
The indigenous Jumma people offered a tough resistance to a 70-80-member mob of Bengali Muslim settlers who were in an attempt to grab the lands and construct houses around 9:00 am on 11 February 2020 at 17 Mile area of Bogachari of Nanyachar upazila under Rangamati Hill District. As a result, there was an altercation between the two sides and at certain phase, the settlers began to attack the Jumma villagers. Consequently, both the sides got involved in clashes, chasing and counter-chasing that lasted for a few hours.
During the incident of chasing and counter-chasing, the Jumma drivers and passengers of auto-rickshaws and motor bikes coming from Rangamati and also from Khagrachari reportedly came under surprise attacks of the settlers already housed along the Rangamati-Khagrachhari main road. During the turmoil, a motor bike passenger named Ananta Mohan Chakma (65) of Hazachari Poshchim Para under Ghilachari union of Nanyachar got serious injuries in head and knees. Later, he was sent to the Rangamati General Hospital. Besides, another motor bike driver named Sufal Chakma, s/o Mangal Sen Chakma of Machine Para under Mahalchari Upazila of Khagrachari hill district also came under attack; he could somehow manage to wriggle out but was robbed of mobile phone and money he had.
It was learnt that on 5 February 2020, one Bengali settler named Habib along with a group of his fellow men built a house on a land owned by Mrs. Sanchita Chakma (Shikha Ma), daughter of Robi Chandra Chakma at 17-Mile area of Bogachari ignoring protest of the local Jumma villagers. At this, having been encouraged and incited, 10 more settler families arrived there to build their houses in the very presence of a group of army on 7 February 2020. On the following day of 8 February 2020, the local Jumma villagers partially dismantled the house built already. On next day the 9 February 2020 the house was fully razed down. But this prompted the settlers in a mob to go there and build houses again. Now, as the Jumma villagers prevented them, a fresh clash broke out between the two communities on 11 February 2020.
It is learnt that after the confrontation there was a meeting with Jumma and settler leaders led by Nanyachar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (Executive Officer), Second-in-Command (2IC) of Nanyachar Army Zone and Upazila Vice Chairman between 12.15 pm to 1:00 pm, but there was no decision drawn over the land grabbing incident. During the meeting, though the local Jummas managed to show their land-related documents, the Bengali settlers including Habib who led land grabbing attempt could not reportedly show any documents.
It is also learnt that the Major (2IC) of Nanyachar Army Zone, without taking any steps against illegal construction of houses by the Bengali settlers and instead, names and addresses of the Jumma people who were allegedly held as responsible for attacking the Bengali settlers were noted down in the meeting. Reportedly, he made a list of 50/60 Jumma villagers as attackers. The local Jumma residents suspected that fresh cases would be filed or there might be conducted army operation against them.
Army initiative for a dam across the Sijokchara in Baghaichari
It has been learnt that the army had an initiative for construction of a dam across the Sijok Chhara adjacent to Bridgepara of Sajek Union under Baghaichari Upazila of Rangamati hill district. It is learnt that army inspected the site for many times during the last 2-3 months and the measurement had already been taken by the engineers. Besides, it is also learnt that the proposed dam site was visited by Minister for CHT Affairs Bir Bahadur, Secretary of Ministry of CHT Affairs, GOC of Chittagong Army Division, and Brigade Commanders of Rangamati and Khagrachari Brigades. But consent of the local Jumma people was not sought and even the people were not informed of.
With the issue of probable construction of dam, there has given rise multi-faceted tension and fear of damage among the local people. As per estimation of the residents concerned, 250 acres of arable lands belonging to 105 Jumma families will be affected if the dam is constructed. A huge amount of lands will be inundated. From a source concerned, it has been learnt that basically, the army has undertaken the initiative to substantiate the beauty and enhance the facilities of tourism in Sajek. The army is in concept that the dam water will get near to the tourism establishments and that it will be easier to supply water to the resorts.
It is worth mentioning that hundreds of acres of lands are being illegally occupied and taken in acquisition in the name of establishing Tourism Centers in the three hill districts by army and other government authorities. The worth of special mentioning tourism center established by the army are: establishment of luxurious resort at Ruilui village of Sajek under Baghaichari upazila in Rangamati district which lead to 5 families evicted and 65 Jumma families under threat of eviction; Anindya Tourism Center established in Ruma upazila, having the Bawm inhabitants evicted from their ancestral homesteads; various Tourism Centers established or under procession to establish at Dola Mro Para (Jibon Nagar), Kapru Para (Nilgiri), Chimbuk Sholo Mile, Wai Junction (Baro Mile) and in the Keokradong hill occupying 600 acres of lands in Bandarban district.
Criminalization of Jumma rights activists: 4 houses searched, 4 arrested and 1 killed in crossfire by army
In order to null the Accord implementation process, to weaken the movement of Jumma people by way of destroying the PCJSS leadership and to execute their heinous plots against the CHT Accord and interest of the Jumma peoples, the government, law enforcement and security forces in league with a certain quarter of the ruling party continue to hatch one after another conspiracy to criminalize PCJSS members and rights activists in CHT. A few incidents of such atrocities taken place in February are given below.
The army picked up one Bhagyaram Tripura (32) of Mitingyachari village under Rajasthali Upazila of Rangamati hill district on 2 February 2020. He was handed over to the court having him entangled in the incident of killing army man and Dipamoy Talukder in Rajasthali.
The RAB-7 commanded by ASP Kazi Tareq Aziz arrested one Saikapa Pangkhua, s/o Saplala Pangkhua from the Bus Terminal of Rangamati town on 8 February 2020. Saikap Pangkhua has been learnt to be a resident of Lizo village of Harina under Barkal Upazila. After arrest, he was alleged of having involved in arms trafficking and brought before the court.
On 14 February 2020, a 10-12-member BGB group from Jagannathchara BGB camp searched 3-4 houses including the house of Lakkhiraj Chakma, President of Aimachara UP Branch Juba Samiti, for twice. Firstly, they searched from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and afterward from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm during which the army entered Lakkhiraj Chakma’s house by breaking the door and abused in very bad languages. Lakkhiraj was not present during this time.
The army arrested and took away Lalram Bawm (43), PCJSS Agriculture & Land Affairs Secretary of Ruma Thana Committee from Munuam Para around 5:00 pm on 18 February 2020. But Lalram Bawm (43) has not yet been released and nor he has been handed over to police or court as per the law. Lalram Bawm lives in Boga Lake area of Ruma Sadar Union.
It was learnt that the security forces, by an act of insetting a shotgun, arrested one Subhash Chakma (33), s/o Kiran Bikash Chakma from Nalkata area of Shuknachari under Panchhari Upazila of Khagrachari hill district on 23 February 2020. The arrestee’s house is in Longadu Upazila of Rangamati hill district.
At 2:45 am on 26 February 2020, a group of army from Subalong Camp under Rangamati Army Zone killed Arpon Chakma (31) who had been kidnapped by the Reformist terrorist group one week ago, in the name of crossfire in Sahajbandha village of Bandukbhanga Union under Rangamati Sadar Upazila. On 19 February 2020, a group of Reformist terrorists had attacked the Boalkhali village under Charikhyongmukh area of Bandhukbhanga Union and killed one Suman Chakma while kidnapping Arpon Chakma at the gun point. After kidnapping, the Reformist terrorists handed Arpon Chakma over to the Army Camp of Subalong.
Activities of army-backed armed group: 5 killed, 8 kidnapped and arson in 12 houses
With a mean objective to direct the CHT crisis to different course, the ruling leadership, in league with the state machineries and direct support, by providing shelter and support to the army-backed armed terrorist group known as ‘Reformist groups’ and a split faction of Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), and using both the terrorist groups against PCJSS and implementation process of CHT Accord and establishing a reign of killings, terror, extortion and kidnapping by them in CHT continue. A few incidents of such atrocities taken place in February are given below.
It was learnt that a group of miscreants supported by Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) set 12 houses ablaze in Rupsi Union of Lama Upazila under Bandarban hill district on 9 February 2020. The householders affected by arson are: Shoishoi Mong Marma, Mongkyaw Ching Marma (Karbari/Village Head), Hlame Marma, Enamul Haque, Md. Shah Alam, Mong Ching Marma and Nasir Uddin. The miscreants torched the houses and hay heaves. The local people informed that the marauders looted the village and went to Betchara via Thanchi. The villages of the villagers who have been passing sleepless nights at the rampage and atrocities of the ALP-backed terrorists are: Hafez Para and Master Para of Ward No. 2 and several villages under Ward no.1 of Rupsi Union. The terrorists issued standing order with threat of arson if the amount of money is not paid on time. Although less in number yet they swoop upon the contractors, business men and vehicles showing intimidation of weapon. It is reported that the main culprit of this gang and also associate of the ALP was caught by police from Yangchi Bazar of Fashyakhali union of Lama upazila.
It came to be known that one Rony Khiyang was kidnapped by some masked armed miscreants from Dhanuchara area of Ghilachari Union under Rajasthali Upazila of Rangamati hill district on 12 February 2020. On the other side, the masked armed miscreants kidnapped Mongching Marma, member of Ward No. 5 under Raikhali Union from Karigarpara of Kaptai Upazila on 18 February 2020. The inhabitants informed that the ALP armed terrorists command the dominance in Rajasthali and Kaptai areas and they have been carrying out killings, kidnapping and realization of ransom for so long.
An 8-member Reformist armed terrorists led by Ronel Chakma (Amar Dhan) kidnapped Sadhan Bikash Chakma (60), s/o late Reboti Mohan Chakma of Dewanchar Village under No. 2 Barkal Union of Barkal Upazila under Rangamati hill district around 7:30 pm on 14 February 2020. Sadhan Bikash’s eldest son, Natun Bikash Chakma communicated with the kidnappers at 7:00 pm on 15 February 2020. The Reformist terrorists demanded BDT 10 lakh as ransom. It is to be mentioned that Sadhan Bikash Chakma is a returnee member of PCJSS and at present he is serving in EPI Health Department under Barkal Upazila Hospital.
On 19 February 2020, a Reformist terrorist group attacked the Boalkhali village in Charikhyongmukh area of Bandukbhanga Union under Rangamati Sadar Upazila and killed a youth named Suman Chakma following which they kidnapped one Arpon Chakma on 19 February 2020. The Reformist terrorists took Arpon Chakma to their den close to the Subalong army camp and kept him as hostage there. At last, the Reformist terrorist handed Arpon Chakma over to the Subalong army camp from where a group of army took Arpon Chakma to Sahajbandha village of Bandhukbhanga union under Rangamati Sadar Upazila and killed him by shooting and later articulated that Arpon had died in crossfire exchanged between the terrorists and army on 26 February 2020.
A 10/12-member armed Reformist terrorist group led by Pintu Chakma and Porandhan Chakma of Kamilachari village under Mogban union of Rangamati Sadar Upazila conducted a search in the house of Sunil Kanti Chakma s/o Daya Lal Chakma of Godapara village under the same union at around 10:30 pm on 20 February 2020. The Reformist terrorists asked for whereabouts of Sunil Kanti Chakma and vandalized the household articles. But Sunil Kanti was not present by then. The terrorists, for not having found Sunil Kanti, dragged his wife out of the house and beat her mercilessly. While going back, they took away several mobile phones and BDT 2,500 from Sunil’s house.
On the other side, another Reformist armed terrorist group kidnapped Anilmoy Dewan (32) s/o Kalo Bikash Dewan from Bhaibonchara of Khagrachhari hill district at 4:00 pm on 20 February 2020. Afterward, they had to release Anilmoy Dewan in the face of mass pressure.
In a tip off assisted by the local intelligence staff, an armed group of Reformist terrorists kidnapped an innocent person named Kaushal Chakma (28), s/o Nirode Mohan Chakma from Kaptai Bazaar of Kaptai Upazila under Rangamati hill district at 10 am on 22 February 2020. Kaushal Chakma is an inhabitant of Tarengya Adam under Mogban Union of Rangamati Sadar Upazila, adjacent to Kaptai Upazila. It is learnt that Kaushal Chakma is a member of Village Defence Party (VDP) of Mogban Union and serving as a toll collector of Mogban Union Parishad. During the incident, Kaushal Chakma was sitting in a tea stall along with a businessman. By this time, one intelligence member appeared before them and gave a call to somebody over cell phone. Immediately after the call, a group of Reformist armed terrorists reached there and took away Sunil Kanti Chakma at the gun point.
An 8/10-member armed group wearing half pant and mask while firing here and there entered Manik Ghosh’s tea stall in Jamchari Mukh Bazaar at 6:30 pm on 22 February 2020. By then the Rajvilla Union’s No. 7 Ward Awami League President Bachanu Marma who was sitting inside was in an attempt to flee away. While fleeing, the assault terrorist group killed him by shooting in chest, belly and back. During the fire, Mong Kyaw Ching Marma (25) and Kyaw Prue Marma received bullet hits. While going out of the tea stall, the terrorists shot at the ex-UP member U Chaw Thuwai (60), Hla Mong Ching Marma in front of another shop and Aadame Marma at the Bouddha Temple gate – all of them sustained wounds. One Ba Khoi Marma, an inhabitant of Jamcharimukh village died at her residence in heart failure due to fear on hearing the sounds of fire.
It is learnt from the local residents’ source that quite a couple of years back, the leaders of Jamcharimukh Para and a good number of other villages got divided into two sides centering the leadership of Ward No. 7 and extension of dominance. One of the sides is headed by the Awami League leader Mongpu Marma who was kidnapped while the other side is led by brother U Chaw Prue Marma, a leader of the national opposition party, BNP. Since sharp contradiction exists between the two brothers as over the political issue and so is over the family and property related issues also. The time is as such that the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), also called Mog Party enjoys monopoly dominance in various areas of Bandarban hill district. Hence, many are also in opinion that the contraction of brothers might have been capitalized and conspired the said incident using the ALP, in a bid to create an anti-PCJSS mass opinion.
A 6-member armed Reformist group led by Amar Dhan Chakma (Ronel) and Lakkhi Ranjan Chakma (Nishan) kidnapped Dayal Muni Chakma (39), s/o Mano Ranjan Chakma of Suguripada village under Barkal Upazila of Rangamati hill district on 24 February 2020 from Banarupa Samata Ferry Ghat of Rangamati town. Dayal Muni Chakma who was kidnapped had arrived in Rangamati by motor boat to sell banana and turmeric on 23 February 2020. After kidnapping the terrorists demanded BDT 6 lakh as ransom from Dayal Muni’s family, the local inhabitants’ source said.
The armed Reformist terrorists kidnapped Binda Chakma, Deputy Assistant Agricultural Officer on duty in Sajek Union under Baghaichari Upazila of Rangamati hill district from Kobakhali area of Dighinala Upazila under Khagrachari hill district around 4:00 pm on 25 February 2020. Mr. Binda Chakma was on his way to Dighinala from Baghaichari by motor bike. It was learnt that the terrorists demanded BDT 10 lakh as ransom soon after kidnapping Binda Chakma. On cash payment of BDT 2 lakh and on condition of paying BDT 8 lakh on 27 February 2020, the Reformist terrorists released Binda Chakma at 7:00 pm in that evening.
Land Commission meeting in Bandarban lands in quorum crisis
On 3 February 2020, the meeting of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission had been in quorum crisis. Out of 9 members, only Chairman of Land Commission Anowar-Ul Hoque, Bohmong Circle Chief Raja Ucha Prue Chowdhury, Chairman of Bandarban Hill District Council Kya Shwe Hla and Acting Commissioner of Chittagong Division Mohammad Sahab Uddin had attended the meeting. Hence, formal meeting of the Commission could not be held as per schedule. However, informal discussion was held on resolution of the previous meeting held on 23 December 2019, list of internally displaced persons etc. issues. Besides, A T M Kauser, Chief Executive Officer of Bandarban Hill District Council and Zuam Lian Bawm, representative of Chakma Circle Chief and also district president of Movement for Protection of Forest and Land in CHT were present in the meeting.
Prior to the informal meeting held in Bandarban Hill District Council auditorium, the new branch office of the Land Commission office was inaugurated by the Chairman of the Commission.
As per declaration, the Bengali Muslim settlers under the banner of Parbatya Chattagram Nagorik Parishad organized a demonstration in the front of Bandarban Hill District Council Gate on 3 February 2020. It is to be mentioned that in a press conference held on 2 February 2020 in Bandarban, the settlers had called strike on 3 February 2020 and declared blockade against the land commission chairman and members. Accordingly, on 3 February the settlers kept the Land Commission Chairman and Members under seizure for almost half an hour. During the barricade, they shouted slogans against the Land Commission chairman-members, the Land Commission Act and Rules thereof while delivering provocative, hate and threatening speeches.
Afterwards, the Parbatya Nagorik Parishad leaders headed by its Convenor Alkach Al-Mamun Bhuiyan, member of the organization Kazi Mujibur Rahman and member of Khagrachari Nagorik Parishad Salma Ahmed submitted a memorandum to the Chairman of Land Commission. The demands of the settlers include: cancellation the present Land Commission; amendment of the Land Commission Act; appointment of equal numbers of Bengali community members in the Land Commission, etc.
It is to be worth mentioning that the Chairman of CHT Regional Council Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma had requested the Chairman of the Commission to hold meeting at Rangamati instead of Bandarban due to insecurity issue in Bandarban. But the Commission Chairman did not pay attention to the request made. Hence, Chairman of CHT Regional Council J B Larma and Chakma Circle Chief Barrister Devasish Roy remained absent in the meeting.
PCJSS protests against the false and fabricated news on Santu Larma’s visit to India
Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), in a press release signed by the Assistant Information and Publicity Secretary Sajib Chakma dated 14 February 2020, protests against the false, baseless and fabricated news that had been published by the nenow.in, parbattanews.com and chttimes24.com on Santu Larma’s visit to India.
In its rejoinder, PCJSS said that it has come to notice of the news titled “Bangladesh: Push for Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord” published on news portal ‘Northeast Now’ on 12 February from Guwahati of Assam in India; and also news titled ‘Santu Larma seeks Indian interference in Chittagong Hill Tracts’ published on ‘parbattanews.com’ and ‘Santu Larma seeks Indian interference in implementing the Peace Accord: Claims Indian Media’ published on ‘chttimes24.com’ on 13 February based on the news appeared in the ‘Northeast Now’ (nenow.in).
The news under different headlines that had been made public in the said online news portals had been absolutely a lie, baseless and concocted. The PCJSS takes into account that such baseless, fabricated and politically motivated news is being articulated by special quarter of vested interest with a mean objective to direct the event of the President of PCJSS and also Chairman of CHT Regional Council Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma’s visit to India for performing rites and rituals of his parents’ remains, to different course and thereby to thwart down the democratic movement for implementation of CHT Accord and above-all to portray the image of PCJSS leadership a controversy. Therefore, the PCJSS made strong protests with condemnation against the false, baseless and fabricated news that has been published by the nenow.in, parbattanews.com and chttimes24.com.
This report has been published and circulated by Information and Publicity Department of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Smahati Samiti (PCJSS) from its Central Office, Kalyanpur, Rangamati, Chittagong Hill Tracts. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: pcjss.org