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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

National Roundtable on ILO Convention 169 and Indigenous Peoples and the Bangladesh Parliament held in Dhaka

Source: Kapaeeng Foundation

On 20 December 2009 a national roundtable on ‘ILO Convention 169’ and ‘Indigenous Peoples and the Bangladesh Parliament’ was organized by ILO and RDC at Spectra Conventional Centre, Gulshan, Dhaka. The objective of the roundtable was to create awareness on ILO C169 and advocate Parliamentary role on Indigenous Peoples issues.

The first session of the roundtable with theme “Ratification of ILO C169: Way Forward” had started at 10 o’clock chaired by Prof. H K S Arefin. Mr. Dipankar Talukdar, State Minister of the CHT Affairs Ministry was present as Chief Guest and Mr. Masud Ahmed, Secretary In-charge of CHT Affairs Ministry was present as special guest at the first session. Country Director of ILO Ms Panudda Boonpala had delivered welcome speech.

Mr. Coen Kompier, Senior Labour Standard Specialist, ILO Delhi office had presented the overview of ILO 169. Mr. Goutam Kumar Chakma, Member of CHT Regional Council and Mr. Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum spoke as panel discussant.

State Minister for CHT Affairs Dipankar Talukdar reiterated government commitment to implement the CHT Accord. He expressed his optimism that present government would ratify the ILO Convention 169 as most of the rights contained in the ILO 169 were recognized by the CHT Accord. He expressed his support to form a parliamentarian caucus for indigenous peoples’ causes. He said that CHT Affairs Ministry already sent a letter to correct the derogatory matters regarding indigenous peoples from textbooks. He also informed that the government had already started the process of forming a separate land commission to settle the land disputes of the plain land indigenous people.

The Second Session with theme “Indigenous Peoples and the Bangladesh National Parliament” was held at 01 o’clock chaired by Dr. Harun-Ur-Rashid, Pro Vice Chancellor and moderated by Mr. Hasanul Haque Inu, MP. Prof. Mesbah Kamal had presented the Key note Paper on `Indigenous Peoples and the Bangladesh Parliament’,

Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura MP, Chairman, Task Force for Rehabilitation of Jumma Refugee and IPD’s was present as Chief Guest at the second session and Mr. Shawkat Momen Shahjahan MP from Tangail, Ms Rubi Rahman MP, Rawshan Jahan MP and Shanaullah Lovelu were present as special guest.

Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura said that it was good initiative to form a parliamentary caucus for indigenous peoples’ causes. He said that Prime Minister would support if she was convinced the right things. He was optimistic to implement the CHT Accord by the present government within rest 4 year tenure. However, he expressed his concerns over anti-accord activities of extreme nationalist and communal groups in the banner of Sama Odhikar Andolon.

MPs who attended roundtable as special guest supported the initiative of ILO and RDC to form a parliamentary caucus. They expressed their commitment to work for the causes of indigenous peoples.

Finally national roundtable formed a committee with following Parliament Members to works for forming a ‘Parliament CAUCUS for indigenous peoples’ causes’ within next parliament session-

(a) 5 MPs of indigenous peoples;

(b) 3 MPs from Awami League (namely Shawkat Momen Shahjahan, Rubi Rahaman and Rawshan Jahan;

(c) 2 MPs from Workers’ Party (Rashed Khan Menon and Fazle Hossain Badshah;

(d) 1 MP from Jatiya Samastantrik Dal (Hasanul Haque Inu).

The roundtable also formed a 3-member technical support committee with Mr. Goutam Kumar Chakma, Mr. Mesbah Kamal and Mr. Sanjeeb Drong.

The roundtable was ended with vote of thanks by Abhilash Tripura, National Coordinator, Promotion of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of ILO Dhaka office.

Kidnapping, extortion and killing undermines peace accord in CHT


Very recently anti-accord element of UPDF and reformist group of PCJSS jointly have launched terrorist activities, such as, kidnapping, extortion, ransoms, killings etc at some parts of Rangamti and Khagrachari district in order to make unstable of CHT situation. For instances-

PCJSS member kidnapped by reformist and UPDF cadres in Naniarchar

On 25 November 2009 around 2:00 pm a returnee PCJSS member Mr. Debabrata Chakma alias Karlo (42) s/o Karma Das Chakma of village- Krishnamachara of Ghilachari union under Naniarchar upazila (sub-district) of Rangamati district was kidnapped from Naniarchar Bazaar by Pragoti Chakma (38) s/o Tripura Charan Chakma of village- Bhuiya Adam of Ghilachari union and Sumanta Chakma (28) s/o Prahlad Chakma of village- Gulshachari of No. 3 Burighat union of Naniarchar upazila who are known as so-called reformist activist.

It is mentionable that Mr. Debabrata Chakma alias Karlo has been staying at TTC area under Rangamati municipality for long time. He is no more involved with PCJSS activities and is involved with fishing business for earnings for survival of his family. He went to Naniarchar Bazaar on that day for his fishing business.

It is learnt that soon after kidnapping, the kidnappers handed Mr. Karlo over to the UPDF commander of Naniarchar area Mr. Orchid Chakma alias Robi (42) s/o unknown from Kowkhali upazila.

It is reported that after four days on 29 November 2009 Mr. Karlo was released in lieu of taka 200,000/- as ransom.

An innocent villager beaten by reformist cadres in Khagrachari

On 26 November 2009, Mr. Pratijagot Chakma (50) s/o Pahr Chandra Chakma, an innocent villager of village- Betchari Madyam Para under Kamalchari union of Khagrachari sadar upazila of Khagrachari district went to join a funeral ceremony of the village. On the way of returning to his home he was halted at the shop of Kamini Ranjan Chakma. In the mean time, Plaban Chakma (18) s/o unknown accompanied by two associates named Jiban Chakma and Nirvik Chakma known as reformist activist arrived at the shop and then beat Mr. Pratijagot Chakma mercilessly. The miscreants put logs on the chest of Pratijagot Chakma. Thus, Pratijagot Chakma got injured seriously and he was admitted to Khagrachari General Hospital.

Miscreants attempt to shoot PCJSS leader in Rangamati

On 8 December 2009 around 12:45 am a group of miscreants attempted to shoot Mr. Arabinda Chakma (47) of Rajdip area under Rangamati municipality, a returnee PCJSS member and General Secretary in charge of Rangamati sadar upazila committee of PCJSS. It is learnt that at that time the miscreants surrounded the house of Arabinda while Arabinda Chakma with his family members was in sleep. At a stage, the miscreants shot at the house 2/3 rounds. However, nobody was injured in this arm attack.

A villager kidnapped by Reformist group in Dighinala

On 13 December 2009 at about 8:00 am an armed group numbering 11 led by Ajay Tripura (30) and Milan Chakma (29) known as reformist group kidnapped an innocent villager named Paripurna Chakma (29) s/o Gonga Dhar Chakma, village- Choto Kangara Kheya under Merung union of Dighinala upazila of Khagrachari district from a shop named Moner Manusher Dokan of Songrachari of Dighinala. It is learnt that at that time Paripurna Chakma was going to Dighinala from his village Choto Kangara Kheya. Other more two persons of the armed group were identified as Jewel Chakma and Subhash Chakma.

Japanese MP suggests a roadmap to implement CHT peace accord

Source: Kapaeeng Foundation

A visiting Japanese parliamentarian, Naoto Sakaguchi, on Monday urged the government to declare a roadmap for implementing the Chittagong Hill Tracts peace accord singed in 1997.
‘The government should also earmark funds through a block allotment to implement the treaty,’ the member of the Japanese House of Representatives told reporters after a three-day tour of the Hill Tracts.
He suggested that the government should prioritise land dispute issue to implement the accord, which was signed after more than two decades of armed insurgency in the hilly region.
Ain O Salish Kendra executive director Sultana Kamal, deputy head of Information and Cultural Division of Japanese Embassy Ken Komine and CHT Commission coordinator Hana Shams Ahmed, among others, were present at the briefing held at the Kendra office at Lalmatia in the city.
Sakaguchi, a leader of Democratic Party of Japan, also said that his government would provide assistance in implementing the CHT accord if the Bangladesh government needs help from them.
Emphasising on the sustainable tourism, he said Japanese government is ready to support sustainable tourism as it would generate employment in the country.
However, sustainable tourism is an industry committed to leave a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income and employment for the local people.
The aim of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development is a positive experience for local people, tourism companies, and tourists themselves. But sustainable tourism is not the same as ‘eco-tourism’.
Naoto Sakaguchi, also a member of foreign affairs committee of the Japanese House, also emphasized the need for industrialization of the CHT, saying, ‘Industrialization should be given priority along with agriculture to boost the economic condition of the CHT.’
The area of Chittagong Hill Tracts, comprising the three hilly districts of Rrangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban, is about 13,184 sq kms, which is approximately one-tenth of the total area of Bangladesh.
The CHT is a distinct region in terms of its ethnic, cultural and environmental diversity compared to the rest of Bangladesh.

Tourism Development in violation of CHT Accord: PCJSS

Source: PCJSS

On 23 December 2009 in a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on planning ministry undertook decision to promote tourism industry in CHT. The meeting was held at CHT Development Board conference in Rangamati with Committee Chairman Col (retd) Oli Ahmed in chair. The meeting was attended by members of the parliamentary standing committee, namely, planning minister Air Vice Martial (rtd) A K Khandakar, Md. Azizul Haque Chowdhury MP, Hamida Banu MP, Nawab Ali Abbas Khan and Shamsul Islam. Besides, secretary of planning ministry Habibullah Majumdar, secretary of CHT affairs ministry Masud Ahma, chairman of Tourism Corporation Hemayet Uddin Abdul Malek, deputy director of UNDP-CHTDF Prasenjit Chakma and Orshowja Chakma.

As part of the tourism development in CHT, the parliamentary standing committee on planning ministry decided to build road along the bank of Kaptai Lake. The road will be connected with Bandarban, Khagrachari and Chittagong districts. Decision was also taken to set up cable car, zoo and recreation centre for children along the road side.

It is mentionable that as per CHT Accord, the subject of ‘local tourism’ was vested with the three Hill District Councils (HDCs). As apex body of special administrative arrangement for CHT region, the CHT Regional Council (CHTRC) has the right to coordinate and supervise the subjects.

However, the subject of local tourism is yet to be transferred to HDCs. The parliamentary standing committee did not discuss to transfer subject to the HDCs. Moreover, the parliamentary standing committee undertook this decision without having consultation with HDCs and CHTRC. Even, representatives of these institutions were not invited in the meeting. Hence the decision of development of tourism in CHT is direct violation of CHT Accord. Though present government has been reiterating its commitment to implement CHT Accord fully, however, no initiative for implementation of main issues of the CHT Accord except reconstitution of few committees has been undertaken during the tenure of last one year.

It is also learnt that upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Bandarban sadar upazila (sub-district) Mr. Anupam Barua set up tourist centre at Kana Para area under Bandarban upazila by occupying land of indigenous people. A connecting road is also being constructed by the food for work project.

The owners of this land, namely, Mr. Mong Nue Prue Marma, Mr. Lal Lung Ruyal Bawm and Mr. Lal Pian Than Bawm contacted with UNO and objected against the construction of tourist centre on their land. However, UNO rejected their claims and filed case against them with Bandanban police station.

The owners of land submitted memorandum to state minister of CHT affairs ministry Mr. Dipankar Talukdar seeking justice and security. But no action has been taken against it so far.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Demand to probe post-poll 2001 violence in Bangladesh

Source: IANS

Dhaka, Dec 10 (IANS) A lawyer in Bangladesh Thursday served a notice on the government to constitute an inquiry commission within seven days to investigate atrocities on religious minorities immediately after the 2001 parliamentary poll.
Lawyer Manzill Murshed listed offences of murder, rape and torture of Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, besides cadres of political parties that lost the poll, swept by a four-party alliance led by Begum Khaleda Zia and her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

The Dhaka High Court had May 6 this year directed the government to form this inquiry commission within two months and get the report from the commission within six months.

As the government did not comply with the court directive, Murshed served the notice, Star Online, web site of The Daily Star, said.

He told The Daily Star that he would file a contempt of court petition against the government if it does not form the commission within seven days.

According to United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) 2003 report, an unknown number of Hindus and other religious minorities from Bangladesh remained internally displaced or were asylum seekers in India as a result of post-election violence that began in October 2001.

Nearly 7,000 Bangladeshis sought asylum elsewhere during the year, including more than 1,100 in Austria, more than 1,000 in the Slovak Republic, and nearly 1,000 in the US.

In the weeks following the Oct 1, 2001, general elections, Bangladesh witnessed an outburst of systematic attacks on the minority Hindu community across the country, in addition to attacks on activists of the freshly ousted Awami League.

By Oct 8 that year, at least 30 people had been killed and more than 1,000 others injured. Their houses were torched, ransacked and in many cases seized, women were raped, and temples were desecrated, according to New Delhi-based Human Rights Features.

Among the worst hit were the Hindu-dominated areas in Barisal, Bhola, Pirojpur, Satkhira, Jessore, Khulna, Kushtia, Jhenidah, Bagerhat, Feni, Tangail, Noakhali, Natore, Bogra, Sirajganj, Munshiganj, Narayanganj, Narsingdi, Brahmanbaria, Gazipur and Chittagong.

Many Hindu families reportedly fled their homes and sought refuge in areas considered ’safe.’ The Bangladesh Observer, a Dhaka daily, reported that at least 10,000 people of the minority community from Barisal district had left their homes following attacks by activists of the fundamentalist Jamaat-i-Islami party and had taken shelter in neighbouring Gopalganj district, the electorate of the present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Many others fled to the Indian states of Tripura and West Bengal.

The government of Zia that took office after winning a two-thirds majority in the poll, denied these incidents.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bangladesh: 15000 cases of Violence against women and Children in last year

Source: The Daily star News

About 15,000 cases were filed under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act last year across the country, Home Minister Shahara Khatun said yesterday.

The cases involving violence against women and children account for ten percent of the total cases, she said as the chief guest at a discussion on 'Responsibilities of the government and the civil society for prevention of repression of women' at Biam auditorium in the city.

The minister also urged men to come forward to prevent violence against women.

"If we can launch a movement with proper participation of men and women, we can succeed in preventing violence against women," she said.

Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) organised the discussion to mark the International Women Repression Prevention Fortnight that began on November 25 and the International Human Rights Day.

The theme of this fortnight is 'Unite to End Violence against Women'.

Replying to a question from reporters, Shahara Khatun said the government is fully prepared to combat national or international terrorism. "The government is ready to tackle any terrorist activities in the country," she said.

According to the monitoring cell at the Police Headquarters, at least 3,413 women were tortured over dowry, 83 women fell victim to torture, 2,336 were abducted, 2476 raped, 36 killed after rape, 33 injured after rape and 117 women killed during the period from January to October this year.

Mahila Parishad President Ayesha Khanam said that although a political government is now in power and most conscious people are in the ministry and parliament, women continue to face violence.

Referring to a survey prepared on the basis of newspaper reports, she said at least 937 women were killed during the period from January to October this year.

Additional Inspector General of Police (training) Aminul Islam, Mahila Parishad general secretary Maleka Banu, assistant general secretary Advocate Masuda Rehana Begum, Sahana Kabir and Maksuda Akhter also spoke.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Chakma woman attempted to rape by an army in Nanyachar

Source: Kapaeeng Foundation


On 8 November 2009 an army from Ghilachari army camp under Nanyachar army zone of 1 Bir Bengal allegedly attempted to rape a Chakma woman named Ms. Jamuna Chakma (21) w/o Shyamal Kanti Chakma of Krishnamachara village of Ghilachari union under Naniachar upazila (sub-district) in Rangamati district. The culprit was identified as Md. Ziaul. Later local people observed road blockade programme protesting against the incident. During the road blockade programme, agitated people allegedly hit and broke the glasses of an army pick-up. On the contrary, army personnel beat the protesters with stick and firewood leaving some women and men seriously injured.

Beginning of the incident

On that day around 3:00 pm Ms. Jamuna Chakma went to nearby well to bring water. At that time, army person Md. Ziaul also went there from their nearby sentry post in name of bringing drinking water. When he found Ms. Jamuna Chakma alone, he tried to grab her from behind and attempted to rape. But Ms. Jamuna Chakma could narrowly run away and reach nearby turmeric and ginger field where some Jumma villagers were working.

No sooner of the incident, husband of Ms. Jamuna Chakma along with neighboring villagers went to the Ghilachari camp and put objection against Md Ziaul. The camp authority, making eye-watch punishment to the culprit, tried to terminate the matter by offering some money to husband of Ms. Jamuna.

Immediate protest

But the local people and the victim’s husband did not agree on the verdict of the Ghilachari camp authority. That’s why, soon after hearing the verdict of the Ghilachari camp authority, the local people in participation of a huge number of women brought out a procession protesting the incident.

At one stage, on that day around 5:00 pm Lt. Colonel Md. Mushfikur Rahaman, Commander of Nanyachar army zone visited the spot and gave assurance of appropriate punishment of the actual criminal to the people demonstrating.

Demonstration continues, demands to the upazila leaders visiting the spot

On 9 November 2009, the local people again brought out a procession at Ghilachari area along the Rangamati-Khagrachari road. At that time, Chairman of Nanyachar upazila council Mr. Pritimoy Chakma, Upazila Executive Officer (UNO) of Nanyachar upazila Md Jahirul Islam, Chairman of Nanyachar union Mr. Panchanon Chakma, Chairman of Burighat union Mr. Pranati Ranjan Chakma and Chairman of Ghilachari union Mr. Mithu Chakma council visited the spot and at one stage, they were surrounded by the demonstrators. They were compelled by the demonstrators to give undertaking to fulfill the following demands:

(1) to punish the army involved with this incident without any delay;

(2) to withdraw Ghilachari army camp;

(3) to ensure security of life of the Jumma villagers;

(4) to stop harassment and torture on women;

Investigation Committee formed

On 12 November 2009 an Investigation Committee was formed in initiative of upazila chairman and upazila executive officer. The committee is as follows:

(1) Convener- Kumentu Chakma, vice chairman of Nanyachar upazila, (2) Member- Md. Rafique, S I of Nanyachar police station, (3) Member- Reni Chakma, women affairs officer of Nanyachar upazila, (4) Member- Mithu Chakma, chairman of No. 4 Ghilachari union council, (5) Member- Babul Karmakar, representative of Awami League of Nanyachar upazila.

The Investigation Committee has not yet published any report.

Army surrounded local leaders’ and villagers’ houses

On 12 November 2009 a group of army from Ghilachari camp conducted operation at Ghilachari area. During the operation, army surrounded the houses of (1) Pulak Chakma, s/o Bandajya Chakma, member of No. 2 Ward of Ghilachari union council and (2) Ananta Bikash Chakma, s/o Jersen Chakma of Ghilachari village of Ghilachari union.

Again, on 13 November 2009 army encircled the houses of (1) Mithu Chakma, s/o Sukra Kumar Chakma, chairman of No. 4 Ghilachari union council, (2) Amar Jiban Chakma, s/o Rabindra Nath Chakma, ex-chairman of Ghilachari union council and (3) Jogendra Chakma, s/o Mohan Banshi Chakma, member of No. 7 Ward of Ghilachari union council.

Again procession, hit on army pickup (car) and army attack on villagers

On 17 November 2009, the villagers again brought out a procession Ghilachari area along Khagrachari-Rangamati road. At one stage, protesters broke the front glass of a pickup of army when an army pickup was trying to overtake the procession and women protesters hit the army personnel with their wearing cloth ‘Pinon’. On the contrary, army also beat the demonstrators. In this brutal attack, the following persons were seriously injured:

(1) Ms. Jhinu Chakma (25) w/o Kalaboa Chakma, village- Kabukchari Mukh,

(2) Ms. Maya Chakma (15) d/o Buddha Kumar Chakma, student of class 9 of Mahaprum high school, village- Kabukchari Mukh,

(3) Ms. Chadra Mela Chakma (36) w/o Suresh Kumar Chakma (Barpeda), village- Kutukchari Nich Para of Kutukchari union,

(4) Mr. Anil Chakma (42) s/o Nandi Kumar Chakma, village- Pakujyachari of Mahalchari upazila of Khagrachari district,

(5) Ms. Kalabi Chakma (45) w/o Rajmoni Chakma, village- Kutukchari Badalama chara of Kutukchari union.

Among them, the first 4 persons were got admitted to Rangamati general hospital with serious injury.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

17 houses of indigenous people ransacked

Source: The Daily Star News

At least five women were injured as a local influential person and his men attacked and ransacked 17 houses in an attempt to illegally evict indigenous people in Shialor village in Haripur upazila yesterday.

Of the injured indigenous women, Baramai Maddi, 46, was committed to Haripur Upazila Health Complex in a critical state.

Police said Abdul Alim and his men attacked the indigenous people around 11:30am and badly damaged 17 thatched houses.

President of Jatiya Adibashi Parishad of Haripur unit Soniram Hemrom told The Daily Star about 50 people led by Alim launched the attack for illegally evicting them from Som Maddi's ancestral land.

Alim claimed he purchased the 3.25 acres of land from Som's mother 22 years ago. However, Soniram trashed the claim and said in their tradition mothers cannot sell any land.

Soniram added on the day of the attack the indigenous male people went to the district headquarters to attend hearing of a case filed by Alim against 200 people to "harass" them.

The District Jatiya Adibashi Parishad protested the incident and submitted a memorandum to Water Resources Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen and Deputy Commissioner Munshi Shahabuddin Ahmed in the afternoon.

In the memorandum they demanded immediate arrest of the attackers and withdrawal all false cases against the indigenous people.

Friday, November 27, 2009

30 lakh acres of land vested property

Source: The Daily star News

There are about 30 lakh acres of land treated as vested property in the country and most of them have been under the possession of vested quarters for the last 44 years, leaders of research and human rights organisations said yesterday.
But the government puts the figure at 6.50 lakh, they said at a press conference at the National Press Club.
They also said the proposed Vested Property Return (Amendment) Act 2009 is not acceptable, since it will protect the interest of only the vested quarters.
This Act does not have any specific provision regarding the return of the lands to the genuine owners, they added.
They also demanded that the government include specific rules in the proposed law, so that the real owners can get back their property.
They also called on the government to publish a gazette notification on the enemy properties as per the census list of 1974, so that the co-partners or the family members or the community members of the original owners can apply to the court to get back the properties.
Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Sammilita Samajik Andolon, Orpito Sampatti Ain Protirodh Andolon (Enemy Property Law Resistance Movement), HDRC, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA), Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Nijera Kori (NK), Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) jointly organised the press conference.
Speaking at the press conference, Justice Mohammad Gholam Rabbani demanded enactment of a fresh law enabling the original owners or their family members to get back their properties.
ASK Executive Director Sultana Kamal said the proposed act is inconsistent with the spirit of the communal harmony, the constitution and the humanity.
Prof Abul Barakat, Advocate Subrata Chowdhury, Shamsul Huda, Ayesha Khanam, and Khushi Kabir also spoke while Advocate Tobarak Hossain read out a written statement.
Tobarak Hossain said influential people with the connivance of local land officials had occupied these lands, and that even the land officials themselves illegally occupied a large portion of the vested property.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hindu School girl abducted and forcefully converted to Islam at Chandaikona, Bangladesh

Picture (courtesy: HRCBM-Bangladesh): Ms.Shewli Rani Sarkar who was kidnapped and abducted by some Muslim perpetrators on 2nd of November,2009

a Minor Hindu School girl abducted and forcefully converted to Islam at Chandaikona ( Haldar para) Royganj under Sirajganj District on 2 NOVEMBER, 2009

HRCBM-Bangladesh , November 10 :: Ms.Shewli Rani Sarkar(15) – daughter of Chitta ranjan Sarkar (40) of Chandaikona ( Haldar para ) under Raiganj Thana Dist Sirajganj , a Hindu School girl ( SSC Examinee) abducted and forcefully converted to Islam.

Ms.Shewli Rani Sarkar who was kidnapped and abducted by some Muslim perpetrators on 2nd of November,2009 at about 8 A.M. in the morning while she was proceeding towards her private school teacher at Royganj Upazila of Serajganj district of Bangladesh. She was lifted forcefully by a microbus bearing registration No Dhaka Metro –Ga-11-9690 .

As per first information report (FIR) filed by Mr.Chitta Ranjan Sarkar - father of the victim on 2nd of November,2009 at Royganj police station it is stated therein that her minor daughter was forcefully captured by below noted perpetrators and picked her showing deadly arms to board her in a micro bus hired by those perpetrators at about 8 A.M. while she was going to take coaching with her class mate Ms.Shawn (14) and those perpetrators had gone to unknown destination with the victim from Chandai Kona Bus Stand.

Perpetrators are : 1. Abdullah al Mamun (26) son of late Altaf Hossain, 2. Md. Siddique Hossain (25) son of Sajjad 3. Driver Mintu Sheikh son of Farid Uddin, 4. Peerjada Azmal Hossain (35) son of late Fazar Ali, 5. Mohammd Biblab (23) son of late Matiar Rahman, all of village Sengati, P.S - Royganj, District-Serajganj, Bangladesh.As soon as the news of kidnapping of this victim came to knowledge of the local people they immeidately staged demonstration and barricated roads of the local area and protested against this type of holiganism.

Police was informed but police could not recover this victim girl till writing of this report.

Communicated with Shamsul Hoque, Officer-in-Charge of Royganj police station ( 01713374045 ) over telephone and came to know that he is trying to recover the victim girl soon. Mr.Shamsul Hoque also informed us that the micro bus which was hired by perpetrators has been recovered, but police could not recover the victim nor arrested perpetrators. A case No.01 dated 02.11.2009 under section 7/30 of Women and Children Repression Act has been started against those perpetrators at Royganj police station. The OC has sought assistance from the member of public through an advertisement published the daily Korotoa on 5 November 2009 .

Meanwhile , President Chandaikona Traders Association , A Halim Khan , mentor cum close associate of perpetrator has been fomenting communal tension against the local minorities . It is learn that Halim Khan , an associate of Islamist group , has been playing a dubious role in the community . It appears that, he may have a link with this women trafficking in the country .

The allegation that Muslim men entice Hindu and Christian women into marriage for reasons other than love, as part of an Islamist conspiracy, has recently been investigated by the Kerala Police and has brought out some ugly details," report The Indian Express ,October 1,2009

Under his instruction Sheuli Rani ( 15) was converted Islam and forced her to get herself married ( in the Nikahnama , Sheuli Sarkar was shown at age 20) with Abdullah Al Mamun (29) that was later registered in an affidavit of the Notary Public

The legal guardian of the victim informed us that some Islamic fundamentalist are also involved with this crime for forceful conversion as per Sharia Law. And those perpetrators and their associates are chanting slogans to support them as they believe that they committed no crime as per Islamic law.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vested Property Return (amend) Act: 'Consult with HR bodies, experts'

source: The Dailystar

angladesh Mahila Parishad yesterday expressed concern over the move to pass the propsed Vested Property Return (amendment) Act 2009 in parliament without consulting with experts, human rights organisations and representatives of the victims who lost their lands through loopholes of the vested property return act.

In a statement, the Parishad said the cabinet has recently approved the Vested Property Return (amendment) Act 2009, which would soon be placed in parliament.

But the fact is that no discussion took place with the representatives of the victims, legal experts, civil society members, researchers and rights activists before finalising the law, it added.

Those who have been harassed and lost their lands and properties due to the loopholes of the Vested Property Return Act would again fall victim to vested quarters and their rights would not be protected if the proposed amended act is passed without any changes, the Parishad said.

So, it called on the government to consult with the experts and representatives of the victims and bring changes to the amended act as per their suggestions with a view to protecting the rights of minorities.

UPDF cadres kidnap 2 innocent villagers in Barkal


On 9 November 2009 at 7:00 am an armed group of UPDF numbering 9 led by Laxmi Ranjan Chakma (26) s/o late Brisha Ketu Chakma, village- Aima Chara Mukh under Aima Chara union of Barkal upazila kidnapped 2 innocent villagers from Shuvalong area under Barkal upazila of Rangamati district. The persons kidnapped are as follows: (1) Mr. Pattar Moni Chakma (38) s/o late Kina Chan Chakma of village- Subari Pada of Bhushan Chara union of Barkal upazila. (He is also a member ward no.4 of Bhushanchara union council); (2) Mr. Joy Kumar Chakma (37) s/o late Dina Mohan Chakma of village- Boiragi Para of Bhushanchara union. It is learnt that on that day at above-said time Pattar Moni Chakma and Joy Kumar Chakma including others were coming towards Rangamati from their home with banana for selling by a country-boat. When they reached Furamukh area of Shuvalong union under Barkal upazila, they along with others were stopped by UPDF armed cadres. UPDF cadres asked the boat-drivers whether they had yearly pass or not. At that time, UPDF cadres seized also the cell phones of the boat passengers. At one stage, UPDF cadres kidnapped the two persons. While leaving the spot UPDF cadres said to the boatmen to contact them after 7 days for the kidnapped persons.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Remove discrimination against Harijans

Source: The Daily Star News

Speakers at the triennial council of Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad (BHOP) yesterday called for removal of discrimination against Harijans or low-caste Hindus.

Speaking as the chief guest, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan pledged to work towards ensuring their rights.

"I know, you have a lot of problems such as low and discriminatory pays, lack of facilities and job insecurity. But I tell you this government is pro-people and believes in equal rights of all as enshrined in the constitution. We shall raise your issue in the next parliament session," he said.

BHOP organised the council in association with Manusher Jonno Foundation and FAIR, a local NGO, on the Dhakeswari National Temple premises in the city.

There are around 15 lakh Harijans in Bangladesh and mostly they work as cleaners of city corporations and municipalities. But their wages are very low -- ranging from Tk 600 to Tk 1200, BHOP leaders said.

As people consider them 'untouchable', they undergo immense sufferings in public places. They live in the colonies dubbed as 'sweeper colony'. Even when someone gets highly educated and applies for jobs, they are not invited for tests because of their status, they noted.

Shahjahan Khan, also an adviser to Madaripur chapter of BHOP, said, "We all -- Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims -- fought together during the liberation war. We all are equal."

But society is cheating the Harijan community, he said, adding that the prime minister herself wants to eliminate all discrimination from society.

Addressing as special guest, Dr Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin MP said there should not be any discrimination among people in society. This government is working to end all discrimination.

BHOP Secretary General Nirmal Chandra Das said Harijans keep the cities and towns clean, but they are forced to live in shabby and congested colonies.

"Nowadays, people from other communities are filling up the posts of sweepers in the city corporations and municipalities in exchange for bribes," Das said.

He demanded that the wages of sweepers be increased considering the market price and uniformity be maintained in all the city corporations and municipalities in this regard.

Manusher Jonno Foundation Programme Manager Rezwanul Karim said the government should frame a law to remove all discrimination against them.

Akhtaruzzaman of FAIR, Kazal Debnath of Dhaka Mahanagar Puja Udjapon Committee, and Harijan district and divisional level leaders from across the country also spoke.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ethnic minority people demand CID probe of Kartik Kisku murder

Source: Kapaeeng Foundation & New Age

Nov 2nd, 09: Ethnic minority people in Rajshahi on Sunday demanded immediate arrest of and punishment for the killers of their elderly leader Kartik Kisku.They made the demand from an hour-long human chain participated by over a hundred indigenous people under the banner of Jatiya Adibashi Parishad from 11:00 am.Their leaders also demanded CID investigation into Kisku’s murder in village Joyda Adarpara under Godagari upazila of the district last week.Addressing the human chain, leaders of the ethnic people said hired goons of local influentials and land grabbers had killed Kartik Kisku, 65, who was a leader of the Jatiya Adibashi Parishad.Kisku went missing Tuesday afternoon. Locals found his body in a canal on Wednesday.The speakers also complained that incidents of such killings and attack on ethnic minority communities had increased in the northern region in the recent times.They also called upon the administration to take steps to protect their lives and property from the land grabbers.They expressed grave concern that organised gangs, backed by local influential people, were killing ethnic minority people and driving them out from their homesteads in a planned way.They also alleged that the influential people of the area were trying to cover up the incident and criticised the police for their inaction.

Tripura woman raped by miscreants at Sonaichari in Chittagong

Source: Kapaeeng Foundation

On 30 October 2009 an indigenous Tripura woman (19 years) was become a victim of gang raped in Sonaichari of Sitakunda under Chittagong district. It is learnt that, in the hilly region of Keshabpur of Sonaichari Union under Sitakunda upazila (sub-district) a 19 years young girl from Rangamati (who was there to visit their relatives) was gang raped by local Union Parishad (Local government council councilor) member Jahur and his 7 associates. Forcefully she was taken by them in the hilly region at evening.She was recovered by her relatives unconsciously at next morning and then taken to Sitakunda police station. After filling a case at Sitakunda police station she was examined by doctors.Case was filled against Jahur Member (45), Suman (28), Hannan (32), Nuruzamman (42), Shamim(32), Selim (34) and Mona (45). All of them were inhabitant of Keshabpur village under Sonaichari Union of Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong district. It is mentionable that Sitakunda area is exclusively indigenous Tripura inhabitant area especially in mountain region of Sitakunda and very unfortunately it has become a common feature of this area. They are very poor and depend on forest resources.

Tripura school teacher sexual abused by Bengali settlers in Panchari

Source: Kapaeeng Foundation

On 18 October 2009 at 11.00 am a pre-primary school teacher of UNICEF Para Kendra (16 years) of village Sindhu Karbari Para of Waduk Para of Panchari Mouza under Panchari upazila (sub-district) of Khagrachari district was abused by two unknown Bengali settler while taking bath near the stream. It is learnt that while taking bath in stream suddenly two Bengali settlers came and made tighter her mouth and show knife and tried to rape her but due to shouting of victim culprit were fled away. Unfortunately she was not able to mention their name but confess that, those settler’s faces were known to her.A FIR was lodged in Panchari police station and she was sent to Khagrachari sadar hospital for medical test. Local Tripura community leader Mr. Shushil Jibon Tripura, General Secretary of Bangladesh Tripura Kalyan (Welfare) Samsad (BTKS), Mr. Sukanta Tripura, Organizing Secretary of BTKS Headman Khetra Mohan Roaza, Chairperson of Durbar Network Shefalika Tripura, General Secretary of Khagrapura Mahila Kalyan Samity (KMKS) Shapla Tripura, Kuheli Chakma of Durbar Network, Advocate Anupam Chakma, Legal Adviser of Zabarang Kalyan Samity, Pramod Bikash Tripura, EX President of Tripura Student Forum, Bangladesh, Joytee Tripura, Office Secretary of BTKS has visited her in hospital.After completing some formalities she was sent to Khagrachari Judicial Magistrate Court and it is learnt that a case was filled in Judicial Magistrate Court, Khagrachari.

Indigenous people stage long march in 8 dists for rights

Primary Source: Kapaeeng Foundation
Secondary Source: The DailyStar

Thousands of indigenous people yesterday joined long marches in Natore, Rajshahi, Naogaon, Pabna, Bogra, Joypurhat, Thakurgaon and Dinajpur districts to press home their demand for forming a separate land commission to protect land rights of the indigenous people living in plain lands.

Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) organised the programmes.

Several hundred people marched about 30 kilometres from Kakonhat to reach Rajshahi deputy commissioner's office at around 2:00pm, reports our staff correspondent from Rajshahi.

They held a rally on the DC office premises and submitted a memorandum demanding formation of a separate land commission to resolve the land-related problems of the indigenous people of plain lands.

The indigenous people demanded stopping occupation of their lands in the name of land survey and using forged deeds.

Proper investigations should be carried out to resolve the land related problems in the plain lands, they said.

JAP President Anil Marandi led the demonstration in Rajshahi.

Thakurgaon unit of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad yesterday submitted memorandum to the prime minister through Thakurgaon deputy commissioner demanding their constitutional rights and formation of a separate land commission for the indigenous people of plan land, reports our Thakurgaon correspondent.

Indigenous people have suffered discriminations in different fields as the government did not pay proper attention to their cause, speakers said at the discussion organised by the indigenous people in front of the deputy commissioner's office.

Urging the government to save the indigenous people's land from grabbers, they said all fake documents prepared to occupy indigenous people's lands should be declared illegal.

They demanded withdrawal of all false cases against indigenous people.

After a procession that paraded different streets in the town, the participants started for Birol upazila under Dinajpur district where indigenous people from 16 districts of the northern region will attend a huge rally today.

Our Pabna correspondent adds: Jatiya Adivasi Parishad yesterday brought out a procession in Pabna town and submitted memorandum to the prime minister through the deputy commissioner's office demanding steps to establish rights of indigenous people living in plain lands.

Several hundred indigenous people joined a procession from the premises of Pabna Tarash Bhaban at noon.

After parading the main streets in the town, they held a protest meeting in front of Pabna Deputy Commissioner's Office.

President of district unit of JAP Ram Prashad Mahato chaired the protest meeting where indigenous leaders Jaleshar Mahato, Jagannath Mahato, Filip Samaddar Khakan, Suruti Mahato, Aloka Mahato spoke, among others.

The indigenous people contributed to making the land fertile but now they are neglected in their own country, speakers said at the meeting.

Indigenous people are becoming landless as criminals with the help of a section of officials are grabbing their lands, they said.

They demanded establishment of a separate land commission for the indigenous people living in plain lands so that they can live with dignity, maintaining own tradition and culture.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Human Chain, Rally: Punish rapist of Satkhira speech impaired girl

Source: The Daily star

Several hundred people yesterday joined a human chain and a rally in the town demanding punishment to the rapist and abductors of a hearing and speech impaired girl and protection of the victim's family members and case witnesses.

A good number of physically and mentally challenged men and women also joined the human chain on Satkhira-Kaliganj road in front of Satkhira Collectorate Building.

Satkhira Pratibandhi Punarbasan Kalyan Samity, Bangladesh Pratibandhi Punarbasan Kalyan Samity and National Alliance of Disabled People's Organisations jointly organised the programme.

After getting released on bail, the two main charge-sheeted accused in the case for abduction and rape of the girl are now threatening the complainant and witnesses not to proceed further with the case, speakers told the rally.

They urged the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police of Satkhira to take steps for ensuring security of the complainant and witnesses and punishment of the culprits.

Daughter of a rickshaw van driver of Dakkhin Sreepur village in Kaliganj upazila, the 16-year-old hearing and speech impaired girl worked as a maid at a house in the same village.

Bangladesh: Land Grabbers set fire on three Hindu Families at Sighra Upazila, Natore

One person roasted alive

Source: The Daily Sambad

Influential Land grabbers set fire on three Minority families at night belonging to Hindus at village- Tajpur- Singhra Upazila of Natore District of BANGLADESH on 02.11.2009. The perpetrators also blocked the doors and windows under lock from outside sprinkling petrol on their houses. The perpetrators tried to kill those members of three Hindu families to grab Deity’s properties belonging to Hindus.

Raj Behari Ghosh (90) was sent to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital as his burn injury tossing about in pain was reported to be worse. Today (04.11.2009) it is reported by local police that Raj Behari Ghosh expired at the Rajshahi Medical College Hospital due to such attack.

The dwelling houses belonging to Hindu families 1) Ratan Ghosh 2) Nripen Ghosh 3) Batbehari Ghosh was burnt to ashes. The perpetrators, having been enlarged on bail from criminal cases, took revenge on those Hindu families.

Because, recently on 24th October, 09 with the leadership of an advocate Sajedur Rahman Khan and Union Parishad Member –Hasib of village -Tajpur with their hoodlums attacked 12 Hindu dwelling houses physically assaulting twenty three, destroyed houses, looted belongings. Besides, a woman was also sexually assaulted.

Those Hindu victims tried to intercept perpetrators, at the time of forceful occupation of 200 decimals of Deity’s (Debottor) landed properties recently on 24th Oct.09. In this connection Mr.Sreebash Halder filed criminal cases against 33 perpetrators at local police station. Those perpetrators having been enlarged on bail from the court attacked again on those Hindu families on 2nd of November, 09 as symbol of retaliation.

In this connection a sense of insecurity amongst the Minority communities are going on.

Mr.Rafiqul Islam, the Superintendent of Police, Natore visited the spot.

He also assured victim of persecution that within three days the perpetrators would be arrested.

In this connection Mr.Nagendra Nath Ghosh lodged first information report (FIR) against those 20 perpetrators at Singhra police station being Sighra P.S. case No. 05 dated 02.11.2009 against perpetrators under section 447/448/326/307/436/385/387/379/506(ii) and 109 of Penal code. Police was deployed at the spot and police informed that the present situation is under control.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Anti-militancy rally Nov 12

Source: The Daily Star News

Shamprodaikota, Jongibad Birodhi Mancha (SJBM), a citizens' platform against militancy and communalism, will hold a mass procession and rally in the city on November 12 demanding stern actions against religious extremism.

They also demanded ban on other religious extremist parties like Hizb ut-Tahrir who have been involved in promoting militancy in the country.

The demands came from a press conference at Liberation War Museum in the city.

The speakers at the press conference blamed Jamaat-e-Islami for promoting militant activities in the county saying most of the arrested militants were involved in the politics of Jamaat in the past.

Ajoy Roy, president of Sammilito Samajik Andolan, presided over the press conference. Prof Syed Anwar Hossain of Dhaka University read out a written statement at the press conference.

Scrap decision to conduct CHT land survey

Source: The Daily Star News

Speakers at a dialogue yesterday urged the CHT Land Commission to scrap its decision to conduct a land survey in Chittagong Hill Tracts without resolving the prevailing land disputes.

Conducting land survey before resolving the disputes stands against the spirit of the CHT peace accord and the traditional land ownership system in the hills, they added.

They also demanded amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001, terming it inconsistent with the CHT peace accord.

They also called for immediate cancellation of lease on lands in the CHT and rehabilitation of Bengali settlers.

The Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) and Chittagong Hill Tracts Forest and Land Rights Protection Movement organised the dialogue at the ALRD auditorium in the capital.

The speakers also pointed out that the decision to complete the land survey within five months is unrealistic.

They said the administration in the hills arbitrarily taking decisions on the land management. But as per the CHT accord, they were supposed to hand over the responsibility to the district council members and Circle chiefs.

Justice Ghulam Rabbani said the existing land disputes must be settled in line with the CHT accord before any survey.

Dr Abul Barakat presented a study conducted by UNDP. According to the study, about 38 percent of Adivasi households in the Chittagong Hill Tracts were forced to relocate at least once during the period from 1977 to 2007.

About 22 percent of households were forcefully evicted from their homestead at least once during this period, it added.

The research also shows that in 82 percent of cases, the land grabbers were Bangali.

On average, every household in CHT lost at least 115 decimals of land during this period.

Dr Abul Barakat also stressed the need to resolve the land disputes before conducting any survey.

Prof Sadeka Halim, a commissioner of the Land Commission, said the land survey guidelines for the plain land cannot be applied to the hills.

Khushi Kabir, chairperson of ALRD, Samsul Huda, executive director of ALRD, Prof Amena Mohsin, Dr Swapan Adnan, member of CHT Commission, Sudatta Bikash Tanchangya and Mangal Kumar Chakma also spoke.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Garo people celebrate 'Wangala'

Source: The Daily star News

The indigenous Garo people at Madhupur in Tangail yesterday celebrated their largest annual festival Wangala/Onegala, a festival for dedicating crops to the goods.

Thousands of indigenous Garo people of Madhupur Garh region and other guests, including representatives of different NGOs and foreigners, joined the daylong programmes on Pirgachha Cent Paul High School premises at Pirgachha Dharmopalli in Madhupur.

With singing songs and giving wreaths to guests by the student of the school the celebration began.

Prof Mesbah Kamal, Philip Gain, Rakhi Mrong attended the programme among many others as guest.

Babul D Nokrake, Mrigen Hagidak, Monalisa Daru and Graner Nokrake also addressed the function.

After completion of all traditional formalities to dedicate crops to gods, Garo people performed an eye-catching cultural event on the same stage.

They performed their traditional dances, including Gorirua, Grikka, Nanggory, Dellang Mangpina, Amak Balanga Malla, Serenging and Bi Sa Dimdima dances on the stage.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Portrait of Jihad: A documentary by Shahriar Kabir

CEMS at SOAS invites you to the premiere


Portrait of Jihad

A documentary by Shahriar Kabir

on the rise of Islamic militancy in Bangladesh and its regional network

The show is followed by an academic discussion on War Crimes 1971 and the impact of the culture of impunity

Monday 2 November 2009, 7pm @ G2 (Lecture Theatre)

SOAS Main Building, University of London

Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Nearest Tube: Russell Square.

Panel members

Lord Avebury

House of Lords; Chair of International Bangladesh Foundation

Dr. Irfan Ahmed Al Alawi

International Director, Centre for Islamic Pluralism

Martin Bright

Presenter of Channel 4’s film - Who Speaks For Muslims? & the author of When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries: The British state's flirtation with radical Islamism

Shahriar Kabir

Bangladeshi journalist, filmmaker, author & human rights activist


Prof Werner Menski


This is a FREE event

Please note that seats are limited and will be offered on a first come first served basis

RSVP: Ms Anna Dugoni (

A seminar on "Bangladesh: Accountability and Human Rights violations" at UK

From Lord Avebury

ph: 020-7274 4617 (UK)

October 19, 2009

Dear Colleague,

Bangladesh: Accountability and human rights violations

As Chair of the International Bangladesh Foundation I have the pleasure of inviting you to a seminar on Bangladesh: Accountability and human rights violations with Shahriar Kabir, Human Rights Activist, from Bangladesh to be held on Tuesday 3 Nov 2009, 11am-1pm, Committee Room 4A, Houses of Parliament.

Shahriar Kabir, Acting President of International Forum for Secular Bangladesh, will talk about Bangladesh’s failure to bring the perpetrators of gross human rights violation, committed at the very founding of the state, to justice, which has encouraged a culture of impunity and also led to institutionalizing of violence in Bangladesh. We hope you will join us for what promises to be an important and useful discussion.