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Monday, June 29, 2009

URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Extra-Judicial Killing by the Military Forces at Shuvalong in Rangamati, Bangladesh

Picture (courtesy: PCJSS-CHT): The dead body of Tarun Kusum Chakma.

URGENT ACTION
Extra-Judicial Killing by the Military Forces at Shuvalong in Rangamati, Bangladesh


Introduction
On 26 June 2009 an innocent Jumma youth was shot dead by the military forces of Shuvalong camp of 6 Bengal led by Major Manjur, Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik in Shuvalong, 30 kms off the district town, under Barkal upazila in Rangamati district.
Description of Incident
Mr. Tarun Kusum Chakma (30), s/o Gunadhar Chakma was a permanent resident of Bhushanchara of Harina union under Barkal upazila (sub-district) in Rangamati district, but stayed at Moitreenagar under Rangamati municipality with his family. He was an innocent youth and used to earning by day labour or by collection of forest products for family survival. Couple of days ago, he went to Shuvalong area for earnings. It is mentionable that he was active supporter of PCJSS for implementation of the CHT Accord.
On 26 June Friday was a market day of Shuvalong Bazaar. Like other villagers, he also went to Shuvalong bazzar for marketing. However, a group of members of UPDF, an anti-accord terrorist organisation, with the help of Mintu Bikash Chakma (who is familiar as Bhumihin Mintu), caught Tarun Kusum Chakam while he got down Shuvalong Bazaar from a steamer at around 9.30 am. Then he was handed over to Shuvalong camp authority after heavily torture labeling him as miscreant. However, camp authority released him found nothing after interrogation.
Again, UPDF men tried to catch him when he reached at Bazaar after getting release from army custody. Having no alternative to safe his life, he tried to escape from UPDF attack and jumped over the lake (Kaptai Lake) near Shuvalong forest outpost. At that time, a group of army led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik of 6 Bengal and a group of UPDF men ran after him by two separate boats when he was swimming for escaping. But the army shot him when he came to land near Dhanmia shrine. He sustained bullet injuries on his leg and scrotum. The military forces led by Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik started to torture brutally. At a stage, the neck of Tarun Kasum was broken. There were several wounded on his body.
Army personnel arrested another Jumma youth named Elen Chakma from the spot. UPDF claimed him as member of the UPDF who went to spot to help army to catch so-called miscreants.
However, the army authority of Shuvalong camp make several fabricated news in order to conceal their misdeed which were published on several national and local dailies and aired on electronic media. The army firstly made propaganda that a dozen of armed miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma proceeded toward Suvalong Bazar to commit sabotage activities. Being informed, army challenged them when the armed miscreants reached at the place near Dhanmia shrine at about 11.00 am. At one stage, the miscreants started fleeing the scene by firing gunshots at army. The army also retaliated by firing bullets, leaving Tarun Kusum Chakma dead on the spot.
The army made second story that clash between two rival groups took place near Shuvalong bazaar. Being informed, the army rushed there and recovered dead body of Tarun Kusum Chakma from the spot.
The army made another third story that the miscreants led by Tarun Kusum Chakma made armed attack on a group of regular patrolling party of the military forces when they (army) reached Dhanmia shrine. Even, army firstly named Tarun Kusum as Jagadish Chakma.
These stories were fully fabricated and motivated. The people who came to market witnessed that he was caught by UPDF men and handed over to army. Victim’s younger brother Palash Chakma said that he was not involved with any terrorist activity. He was fully innocent.
It is also worth mentioning that Elen Chakma, who was arrested during the incident, was claimed as member of the UPDF in a press release by Shantidev Chakma, chief of Rangamati district. Shantidev mentioned that Elen went there to help army to catch the victim and the army mistakenly arrested him. This statement of UPDF proved that UPDF men also involved with this heinous killing.
The dead body was brought in Rangamati sadar hospital for post mortem in the evening on 26 June. The dead body was handed over to victim’s elder sister and younger brother afternoon on 27 June.

Action Needed


This incident is a violation of inherent rights to life, which was ensured by the Constitution of Bangladesh and international legal instruments ratified by Bangladesh. However, military forces deployed in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) continued to be responsible for extra-judicial killings and for custodial killings since long time.
The CHT Accord signed between Government of Bangladesh and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) on 2 December 1997 stipulates for demilitarization of the CHT region. However, the army was entrusted responsibility to combat law and order situation by imposing de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’ in 2001. Consequently, the military forces continue having the negative attitude toward CHT and indigenous Jumma people. The military forces are also against the withdrawal of temporary camps from CHT though CHT Accord provides to do the same. With this view, they once again has taken up the programme of operation in CHT and highlighting it in the news media widely so that they can thwart the government to have any camp withdrawn or closed down at this moment.
Though Awami League-led present grand alliance government assured in its election manifesto that it would implement the CHT Accord fully and stop extra-judicial killing in the country. However, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrest, frequently checking, conducting military operation through out the CHT, helping Bengali settlers in occupying indigenous Jumma people’s land and expansion of cluster villages of Bengali settlers by the military forces continued unabated in CHT. Killing of Tarun Kusum Chakma was a result of military atrocities in CHT.
With this backdrop, letter should be sent to Government of Bangladesh raising following demands-



  1. to conduct judicial inquiry of the extra-judicial killing of Tarun Kusum Chakma;

  2. To punish the military personnel responsible for the heinous killing including Major Manjur, Warrant Officer Saiful and Corporal Atik of Shuvalong camp;

  3. To provide compensation to the family of the victim;

  4. To withdraw all temporary camps of army, Ansar, APBN and VDPs including de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’ as per CHT Accord soon;

  5. To implement the CHT Accord in letter and spirit.

Please write to:



Ms. Sheikh Hasina,
Honourable Prime Minister,
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh,
Prime Minister’s Office, Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Fax : +880 2 8113243 / 3244 / 1015 / 1490,
Email: Info@pmo.gov.bd,
E-mail: psecy@pmo.gov.bd

Mr. Mohammad Ruhul Amin,
Chief Justice,
Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Supreme Court Building,
Ramna, Dhaka-1000, BANGLADESH, Fax: +880 2 956 5058, Tel: +880 2 956 2792


Dr. Dipu Moni,
Honorable Minister, Foreign Ministry,
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh,
Dhaka, Fax: +880 2 9558566, Tel: 956-2852


Ms. Sahara Khatun, Honorable Minister, Ministry Home Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka, BANGLADESH, Fax: +88-02-7160405, 88-02-7164788 (O), Tel:+88-02-7169069 (O)

Mr. Dipankar Talukdar MP,
Honorable State Minister, CHT Affairs Ministry,
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka, BANGLADESH, Tel: +880-2- 7161774, E-mail: mochtadh@bttb.net

Ms. Sajeda Chowdhury,
Convenor of CHT Accord Implementation Committee and Deputy Leader of Jatiya Sangsad, Sangsad Bhabab, Tejgaon, Dhaka


Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma,
Chairman, CHT Regional Council, Rangamati, Chittagong Hill Tracts, BANGLADESH, Tel: +88-0351-63381, Fax: 0351-63278, E-mail: chtrc@yahoo.com


Mr. Promod Mankin, MP and Chairman,
Parliamentary Standing Committee on CHT Affairs Ministry,
Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, Dhaka
Justice (Rtd) Amirul Kabir Chowdhury,
Chairman, Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission, House # 6/3, Block # D, Lalmatia, Dhaka, BANGLADESH, Tel: +88 02 9137724

General Md Abdul Mubeen,
Chief of Army Staff, Bangladesh Army,
Army Headquarters, Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka, BANGLADESH,
Fax: +880 2 875 4455, Tel: +880 2 987 0011, E-mail: itdte@army.mil.bd

Mr. Nur Mohammad, Inspector General of Police (IGP),
Bangladesh Police, Police Headquarters', Fulbaria, Dhaka-1000, BANGLADESH,
Fax: +880 2 956 3362 / 956 3363, Tel: +880 2 956 2054 / 717 6451 / 717 6677,
E-mail: ig@police.gov.bd