Though Covid-19 pandemic risk and panic yet remains as usual, the people are bound to step out of their houses to meet their needs of life and livelihood. But as the days pass by, the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord and various Anti-Jumma intriguing and devastating programs of the government and state forces have become an issue of the highest concern superseding the Covid-19 virus panic in the hills. In one hand, they are escalating the presence, control, dominance, interference and repression of the state forces including the army and intelligence forces by many times while, having the CHT Accord violated, various self-styled developing projects, road construction, establishing tourism complex have been being implemented on pleas of so-called security and development, on the other. Besides, with having engaged various communal and fundamentalist groups and quarters of vested interest in implementing numerous sabotaging conspiracies including land occupation and illegal infiltration of the outsiders; and a reign of terror is being established by providing direct support and cooperation to the off-track various terrorist elements and inciting them in CHT. It is the government and army that have created the situation to meet their mean self ends.
It passes 23 years after signing the Accord, which was aimed at peaceful political solution to the CHT crisis; establishment of peace in the region putting an end to the conflict; and development ensuring the Jumma-inhabiting feature of the region. It is not only that the implementation process of the Accord ostensibly has got stopped even though the signatory Hasina-led government is in power for so long but also, in addition, with a view to confusing, the government has been spreading deceitful and false information on implementation of the Accord; the fraudulent act of which has unmasked the lip-served honesty and sincerity of the government. The government that let the white pigeon fly while pronouncing words of peace and solution; it is the same government that has set itself in the role to kill it. Ostensibly, now the government, not by peaceful and political means, but wants to stop the Jumma people’s movement for establishment of their just right by military might using language of weapon. Consequently, there goes development aggression in one hand while the government has been trying to stop voice of the Jumma people by the army and inciting its rearing terrorist groups, on the other. Observing the situational development, it seems that the government has gone mad with the game of eviction and elimination of the Jumma people. Needless to say, what the government is doing, in a nutshell, is unjust and unfair. On the contrary, the Jumma people, of course, as it had been in the past and as it goes with any struggle for assertion of justice in the world, are determined to resist it.
In last month, incidents took place wherein 2 innocent persons were picked up by the army from their homes and detained them unjustly under army custody. House of a teacher was searched and 2 Jumma persons were harassed for nothing. Besides, the army supplied combat uniform to the domesticated terrorists and got many villages searched wherein involved very rough dealing with many including threatening to the innocent villagers. The latest planning that has raised grave concern is rehabilitation of some 500 settler families in Sajek of Marishya and Dakghar Mon of areas of Longadu Upazila. On the other side, the issue that raises the stern concern is: having the native Jumma families placed for eviction and leaving their life and livelihood endangered, construction of ambitious tourist complex including luxurious Five Star Hotel at Nilgiri of Bandarban is underway.
In last September, too, the army-backed terrorist groups of Reformists, UPDF (Democratic) and Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) did not stop. But the most ironical fact is that as much the army speaks against terrorism and extortion much more is their direct-indirect support and cooperation with those elements. The army, in one end, go searching houses and harassing people keeping those elements by their side while, on the other hand, the terrorists are given a free-hand license and indulgence for conducting extortion and terrorist activities. The last month has witnessed killing of 3 persons, abduction of 3 persons, 3 held and tortured, 1 house vandalized and numerous extortions, threats and incidents of harassment, etc. carried out by the Reformists and UPDF (Democratic) terrorists. On the other hand, the ALP kidnapped 2 Bengali men in Bandarban and caused numerous incidents of harassment.
Likewise the earlier incidents, violations upon women have not stopped. Rather brutality and outrages seem to have crossed the limit. Especially, towards the of this month, it was in Khagrachhari Sadar area, a mentally disabled indigenous woman was gang-raped by 9 Bengali settlers by breaking the door at wee hours within defense perimeter area of the security forces and valuables of the house were looted. The incident has made the people stunned, concerned and agitated. By the time, 5 Jumma women including female child were victimized of raping by Bengali settlers and police constable. Of them, 2 Jumma women were raped, 2 were attempted to have raped 1 woman was raped by the police constable.
In last month, the incidents of violation that took place include: 2 incidents of land occupation, incident of beating 3 Jumma villagers with threatening centering an attempt to forcible land occupation in Longadu of Rangamati and Alikadam of Bandarban district. Besides, an allegation of illegal occupation of land measuring 10 acres by Bidyananda Foundationin in Alikadam of Bandarban hill district. In fact, keeping pace with the anti-Accord role and suppression and oppression of the government and army, the illegal land occupation or attempt to occupy lands illegally by various organizations and individuals from outside have become an everyday happening now-a-days.
Issue of further concern to the CHT people is that widespread infiltration of Rohingyas into CHT and evidence of their obtaining National Identity Cards. Evidence also reveals underhand involvement of some local quarters of vested interest behind getting NIDs by the Rohingya men. It is to be noted that the Rohingyas are becoming more and more reckless and formidable day by day. Of them, many are involved in drug business and extreme radicalism. Besides, in recent times, many dacoit groups have come into being from among them who are often getting involved in lootings and killings.
In fact, CHT has now turned into an explorable fire ball. The back of Jumma people has got stuck to wall now. The government, state forces and conspirators have pushed the Jumma national entity and entity of their birth land to the brink of destruction. Though signing of CHT Accord followed by implementation of some sections of the Accord did focus hope of ray among the Jumma people, it is for not full implementation of the Accord; alongside anti-accord turn of the government and state forces; and for meting out destructive measures against PCJSS, the counter part of the Accord, and its leaders & workers and the people; there have created utter resentment and despair among the Jumma people. Today, Jumma people’s faith and confidence in the accord-signatory government have got almost shattered due to continued deception, fraudulence and behavioral animosity on part of the government. Consequently, the wildfire of people’s resistance may widespread at any moment of time. The people may embark upon ‘do or die’ struggle to protect own entity and birth land. Under this circumstance, the holistic situation may get back to the pre-accord form of state. If it happens as such, PCJSS, the signatory of the Accord and Jumma people cannot be held responsible, which will not be considered as rational, realistic and acceptable.
A. Atrocities of security forces, development aggression and conspiracy of relocation of settlers
There have been numerous raids and intimidation operations by the army, including picking up two people from their houses, illegally detaining them, searching two houses including a teacher, harassing two persons, construction of semi-finished houses for the camp occupying the lands of 4 persons and assisting the terrorist groups directly. Apart from this, there are plans to set up a luxury tourist complex on the land of Mro people and relocate 500 new Bengali settlers to Baghaichhari and Longadu in Rangamati district.
- On 8 September 2020, the army cordoned off the house of Amar Jiban Chakma (53), former Chairman of Ghilachhari Union Parishad in Keretchhari village of Ghilachhari union under Nanyachar upazila. However, he was not at home at that time.
- On 10 September 2020, it was alleged that the Longadu Army Zone of 21 Bir (Durbedya Ekush) of the Army had provided 25 sets of Army uniforms to the Reformist armed terrorists. A group of 14 armed members of Reformists led by Apan Chakma has been stationed at Manikjorchhara village of Longadu Sadar under the shelter of the army near the Longadu Upazila Sadar Army Camp.
- It is learnt that the BGB and the army jointly conducted combing operations in different villages of Ruma upazila of Bandarban district for three consecutive days on 10-12 September 2020. During this time, they carried out these operations in Kala Para, Arjun Para, Edenpara, Ramdupara, Adiga Para, Bishai Para, Lahpara, Kista Para, Chungtang Para and Jhigan Para of Ruma upazila. This caused great panic among the people and disrupted the movement.
- On 18 September 2020, at around 7:30 pm, the Army arrested Nikolai Pangkho, a member of the Rangamati District Committee of the PCJSS, from his home at Bijan Sarani in Rangamati town. It is learnt that he was handed over to Rangamati police station next day of his arrest.
- A luxurious tourist complex with a five-star hotel is being constructed at the initiative of the army on the land of Jumma people at the Nilgiri in the Chimbuk hills of Bandarban. The Army and Sikder Group are jointly building this giant tourist complex at the top of the hill and 12 separate villas with the main hotel building to facilitate tourists from one hill to another, with modern cable cars. This will evict the local Jumma residents and endanger their livelihood. There are also allegations that the army has plans to set up resorts, restaurants, shopping centers, etc. in Dola Mro Para (Jibannagar) of Chimbuk Hill, Kapru Mro Para (Nilgiri), Chimbuk Shola Miles, Y Junction (12 Miles), Keokradong Peak of Keokradong Hill in Rum etc. by occupying huge land of large number of hard-core poor and backward Jumma people living there.
- At the initiative of the Longadu Zone of the Bangladesh Army’s Durbedya Ekush (21 Bir), a heinous plan has been taken to relocate at least 500 families of Muslim Bengali settlers in Baghaihat and Charkilo of Marishya in Baghaichhari Upazila under Rangamati Hill District. Local sources have already confirmed that a list of 200/250 families of settlers from different areas including Batyapara, Jharnatila, Headman Tila, Bhaibonchhara, Sonai, Hazachhara has been prepared for this purpose. According to sources, at least 500 families will be relocated in the two areas and each enlisted settler family will be given 3.0 acres of hilly land and Tk. 10,000 in cash. On the other hand, the Bengali settlers have claimed that they have kabuliyat (land settlement document) for around 500 acres of land from the Dakghar Mon (big hill) to Bame Longadu under Longadu upazila in their name. But there is no record of such land document (Kabuliyat) in the name of settlers in the headman’s office.
- On the night of 24 September 2020, a group of army from the army camp set up on the premises of Sijok Mukh Buddhist Monastery in Baghaichhari upazila of Rangamati district went to New Lalyaghona village and searched the house of a Jumma school teacher named Bir Kumar Chakma (Bir Master). Earlier, army members harassed Junu Chakma, an assistant teacher in the same village, and Debashish Chakma, two Jummas, for guiding them to the house of Bir Master.
- On the night of 27 September 2020, a group of Bangladesh Army and Reformist terrorists abducted two Jumma people named U Thowai Aoi Marma (56) from Natunpara village in Roangchhari Sadar area of Bandarban Hill District and Sahlaching Marma from Anjai Para village. After the harassment, Sahlaching was released Marma, but U Thoai Aoi Marma was taken to Bandarban. Family member of the victim has not yet found the whereabouts of U Thowai Aoi Marma.
- On 26 September 2020, as per the previous instructions of the Army, all the Kechki nets of the fishermen in three unions including the Chairman, Member, Headman Karbari and Fishermen of Banduk Bhanga Union, Balukhali Union and Mogban Union of Rangamati Sadar Upazila appeared in Rangamati Army Zone. At the same time, two Majors in the army zone threatened the fish businessmen and fishermen, saying, “Strict action will be taken against them, whether they are fishermen or traders, if they are found to have paid extortion to the PCJSS.” As soon as the Reformists and the UPDF (Democratic) terrorists stationed at the localities, they continue to harass and oppress the people, including the extortion. However, the army did not take action against them, rather providing cooperation to them for carrying out various terrorist activities.
- The army have taken initiative to build a semi-pacca house by occupying the land of four Jumma villagers namely Rupayan Chakma, Sumon Chakma, Alo Karbari and Amalendra Chakma of No. 9 Kalp Karbari Para of Massalong in Baghaichhari Upazila for the new army camp set up a few months ago.
B. Activities of army-backed terrorist groups
There have been 3 killings, 3 abductions, 3 detention and tortures, 1 house vandalism and numerous extortions, threats and harassment by army-backed Reformist and UPDF (Democratic) terrorist groups. On the other hand, the Arakan Liberation Army (ALP) has abducted two (Bengali) people in Bandarban and harassed them numerous times.
- On 01 September 2020, unidentified terrorists shot dead a young man named Mongsiu Marma (40) by entering his house in Baghmara Bazar area of Rajvila Union in Bandarban Sadar Upazila. According to multiple local sources, a few days ago, an armed group of ALP and army-backed Reformists demanded Tk. 3 lakh from Mongsieu Marma. It is learnt that they threatened to kill him if he did not pay the extortion. Mongsiu Marma was shot dead at night as he refused to pay extortion.
- On the night of 01 September 2020, a group of miscreants shot dead a Jumma named Jendra Tripura (48) at Fer Karbari Para in Guimara Upazila of Khagrachhari. “In the middle of the night, a group of masked terrorists asked me to open the door,” said Palindri Tripura, wife of the deceased. When he refused to open the door, the terrorists broke down the door and shot him dead. Later he tied the rope and took the body away. The nobody recognized the gunmen as they were wearing masks.
- On 8 September 2020, Reformist and UPDF (Democratic) armed terrorists killed Suresh Kumar Chakma (56), a resident of Shikal Para of Ward No. 7 of Ghilachhari Union in Nanyachar Upazila, in his own tea shop near Ghilachhari Union. The miscreants arrived at the spot by an autorickshaw and shot Suresh Kumar leaving him spot death.
- On 12 September 2020, the Reformist armed group demanded Tk. 3,000 from each of the shopkeepers of Barkal Bazar and employees in Barkal Upazila. According to local sources, the shopkeepers later collected Tk. 500 from each shop and sent it to the Reformists.
- On 17 September 2020, a man named Dullye Tripura, son of Naja Kumar Tripura was allegedly abducted from a shop in Alutila Rishang Jharna area of Khagrachhari by an army-backed Reformist terrorist led by Fulen tripura.
- On 10 September 2020 two labourers named Nizam and Jahangir were abducted by army-backed foreigner terrorist group ALP while more than 15 workers of Sufia Saudagar and Kalam Saudagar, a timber trader, came for work at Krau Para area of Sadar Union in Ruma Upazila. After being detained for three hours, the terrorists released detainees while Sufia Saudagar promised to pay Tk. 30,000 immediately and the rest the next Thursday. ALP members, on the other hand, continue to harass local Jumma villagers in various ways. They take chickens, pigs and vegetables from the villagers at gunpoint for free or at low cost. The local Jumma forced the villagers to supply wine. In some cases, it has been alleged that they try to seduce the young women in the village.
- On the night of 17 September 2020, Reformist terrorists stationed at Jibtali in Rangamati captured a fisherman named Hero Lal Chakma, a resident of Panchhari Para, while he was fishing in Kaptai Lake. After being detained overnight and interrogated and harassed, he was released under custody of some elders of the area.
- On 26 September 2020, army-backed Reformist terrorists abducted Sujyoti Chakma (30), son of late Mangal Mohan Chakma of Galachhari village in Longadu union of Longadu upazila of Rangamati district under shelter of the administration.
- On 25 September 2020, while all the headmen and Karbaris of the Longadu upazila gathered at the Longadu Upazila Parishad auditorium to receive furniture provided by the UNDP to run their offices and preservation of documents, they were called out from the auditorium by the Reformist armed terrorists and interrogated and threatened. Even mobile phones of some were also snatched. It is learnt that Md. Tuhin and Md. Arsad were also present as representatives of Longadu Zone of the Army along with the Reformist armed members at that time.
- On 23 September 2020, according to Kanak Baran Chakma alias Supram (53), a member of the PCJSS returned to normal life as per CHT Accord, was abducted by army-backed Reformists and UPDF (Democratic) armed terrorists from Tetultala in Khagrachhari district town.
- On 22 September 2020, a group of Reformist terrorists raided Panchhari area of Jibtali Union and vandalized the house and belongings of Nunu Chakma (42). Nunu Chakma and her family were not at home at the time. It is to be noted that around a month ago, the grocery shop owned by Nunu Chakma in Panchhari was closed down by the Reformists.
- On 30 September 2020, Reformist and UPDF (Democratic) terrorists forced a Rangamati-bound launch from Bilachhari into their hideout and detained two Jumma passengers of the launch. The terrorists then took the two detainees to their station and tortured them by pouring water on their noses, alleging that they were in touch with the PCJSS. The two tortured people were identified as 1. Lakshi Bijay Chakma (28), son of Natun Chandra Chakma of Kalabanya village of Barkal upazila and 2. Fara Chakma, son of Mangal Kumar Chakma of Dhulyachhari village of Jibtali Union. Later, the terrorists released them in the custody of Jatin Chandra Tanchanga, the headman of the local Kaushalyaghona mouza.
- It is alleged that the Reformist and UPDF (Democratic) terrorists threatened SSC candidate Arun Chakma (18), SSC candidate Mohim Chakma (18), SSC candidate Ratan Chakma (18) and Nab Jyoti Chakma of Garakaba village in Mogban Union. The terrorists ordered Mahim Chakma’s father Nabajyoti Chakma to pay Tk. 2 lakh and Arun Chakma’s father Nishi Kumar Chakma to pay Tk. 40,000. The terrorists threatened to kill their sons otherwise.
C. Violence against Indigenous women and girl
In September, five Jumma women, including girl, were raped by Muslim Bengali settlers and policemen. Among them, 2 Jumma women were gang-raped and 2 attempted rape and 1 was raped by a policeman.
- On 5 September 2020, a Jumma woman (26), a housewife, was forcibly raped by a Bengali settler named Md. Solaiman in Massalong Bazar area of Sajek Union in Baghaichhari upazila of Rangamati district. However, the locals arrested Md. Solaiman in red-handed and handed him over to the police.
- On 7 September 2020, a Tripura girl was attempted to rape by two Bengali settlers in Kewa Para village on the Panchhari-Matiranga border in Maratila area of Panchhari upazila under Khagrachhari district. At that time, when the Tripura girl went to the jungle near her house to fetch cows, two young Bengali settlers grabbed her and tried to rape her. At this time the teenager was able to run away somehow.
- On 9 September 2020, Jumma housewife (22) was allegedly molested at her home by two settler youths named Md. Rabiul (25) and Md. Chunnu (30) at Geitya Mahajan Para village in Barkal upazila of Rangamati district. Then on 11 September 2020 at 10:00 am an arbitration was held at the Gorastan Awami League office with the coordination of the acting president of the Barkal Thana branch of the Awami League Md. Nazrul Islam. The settlers accused were fined Tk. 10,000 in the arbitration for the incident. However, the Jumma people did not accept the money.
- On 14 September 2020, a policeman named Md. Nazmul Hasan (23) raped a sixth grade Chakma schoolgirl of a local school, by calling her to a forest near the Bhairafa Janajagaran Buddhist monastery of Merung Union in Dighinala Upazila of Khagrachhari. The locals, sensing the incident, surrounded the area and caught Nazmul Hasan. Later, on the morning of 15 September 2020, Dighinala police arrested the rapist Md. Nazmul Hasan.
- At around 2.30 pm on 24 September 2020, a mentally challenged Jumma woman was gang-raped and valuables of the house looted by 9 Bengali settlers at her home in Balpiye Adam village near Golabari Union Office in Sadar upazila of Khagrachhari district. When the mother of the victim first tried to stop the Bengali settlers from entering the house, the miscreants tied the victim Jumma woman and her mother and old father with ropes and locked them in a separate room. Later, they took the Jumma woman to another room and gang-raped her in turn. The miscreants also looted Tk. 8,000 in cash and gold ornaments from the house before leaving. The victim’s mother has filed a case against 9 people. Then on 26 September, the police arrested 7 out of 9 accused from different places in Khagrachhari and Chittagong.
D. Land grabbing by Muslim settlers and outsiders
Attempts were made by Muslim Bengali settlers to evict 2 lands, 3 Jumma people were beaten and threatened for land grabbing and 10 acres of lands of Jumma people were occupied in Bandarban by outsider Bidyananda Foundation in Bandarban.
- Alikadam-1: On 5 September 2020, two Jumma people were beaten up by settlers in Tain mouza of Chaiksyang union under Alikadam upazila of Bandarban district in an attempt to occupy their land. It is learnt that Monghlaching Marma (42) and his father Mongthuikhoi (8) went to clear the weeds in their garden (5 acres) with their family members at around 10:30 am. At that time, a settler named Badal, a resident of Abul Kashem Para, and his gang prevented him from cleaning the garden with a stick. Claiming his possession of the garden, Badal threatened Mong Mong Hla to leave the place. While the gardener’s nephew Monghlaching Marma (25) asked Badal whether he had any papers of land document, the settler Badal and his gang suddenly attacked Monghlaching and Mong Mong Hla. Monghlaching and his uncle Mong Mong Hla were injured. The female members of the family were threatened with rape and verbally abused.
- Alikadam-2: There is an allegation of occupation of land of Mro community by Bidyananda Foundation in Pamiya Karbari Para of Mangu Mouza of Chaiksyang Union under Alikadam Upazila of Bandarban. According to locals, in 2019, the authorities of Bidyananda Foundation’s Dwipatari Orphanage visited Damtua Jharna in said area. Later, when they liked the land there, they paid money to Longnet Mro, the headman of Mangu Mouza, and first a person named Md. Mizanur Rahman took the 5.0 acres of land in possession of Mro people as a deed of donation. Although they first took 5.0 acres of land, this year they have taken 5.0 acres of land again, all together occupying 10 acres of hills. The reason for land grabbing is that the villagers are facing various problems, such as the are not being able to cultivate Jum, having difficulty in rearing cattle, and the balance of the village environment is being destroyed.
- Longadu: A Muslim settler named Md. Bachar, son of Md. Abul Kalam of Bhaibonchhara Guchhgram, has been accused of illegally constructing a house on 5.0 acres of land belonging to a Jumma villager named Rangachan Chakma in Longadu upazila of Rangamati district. When Rangachan Chakma tried to stop him, Md. Bashar threatened Rangachan Chakma and filed a case against him and claimed the land as his own. Rangachan Chakma submitted an application to Commander of Bame Longadu sub-zone to make the land vacant from occupation of the settler. It is to be noted that the Bengali settler had built a house on the land of Rangachan Chakma once before. The Bame Longadu camp commander then banned both sides from taking any work in the land.
E. Issuance of national identity cards to Rohingyas illegally in Bandarban
Recently, it has been found that Rohingyas are given national identity cards freely and illegally in the Bandarban hill district. Rohingyas have been accused of infiltrating the Chittagong Hill Tracts for a long time and obtaining permanent resident certificates.
It is to be noted that after the violent incident on 25 August 2017 in Rakhine of Myanmar, large numbers of Rohingyas infiltrated in Bangladesh. According to the biometric registration of the Department of Immigration and Passports, the number of Rohingyas entering Bangladesh is 11,17,057 people. The Rohingyas have been given shelter in 34 camps in UkhiPa and Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar.
According to the latest figures from the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), an organization of international organizations working with the Rohingya, there are now 9,05,622 Rohingyas in 34 camps. In the last three years, the Rohingya population of the camps has decreased by more than two lakhs. However, all quarters, government and non-government actor, opined that these Rohingyas are merging into the locality. They have spread to different districts including three hill districts, Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong and Dhaka.
Recently, Jahangir Aziz, chairman of Ghumdhum Union Parishad of Naikhyongchhari Upazila, said that there are still 400 to 500 Rohingya voters in Ghumdhum Union. With the help of money, the local syndicate is making Rohingyas of Bangladesh citizens with deceit in everyone’s eyes. This cycle includes information collectors, verifiers, identifiers, and even public representatives. In July the Election Commission had ordered to cancel the identity cards of 13 Rohingyas who had taken national identity cards. But surprisingly, even after two months, the Rohingya national identity card named Ayubul Haque is still on the server.
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