Binota Moy Dhamai
The Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) is alarmed and expresses its concern and condemnation on the successive attacks to key indigenous leaders and human rights defenders in Bangladesh. Following the attack to Mr. Sanjeeb Drong last 22 January comes the attack of another two prominent indigenous leaders of Bangladesh, Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma and Raja Devasish Roy, last January 27.
Mr. Larma also known as Santu Larma is the President of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), Chairman of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Regional Council and President of the Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF). He played a vital role in the movement for the self determination of the CHT Jumma Indigenous Peoples and is one of the signatories of the CHT Peace Accord. Raja Devasish Roy, on the other hand, is the Chakma Circle Chief and a member of the Human Rights Advocacy Committee of AIPP. He is also a well prominent and respected indigenous rights advocate both in the regional and international level.
According to our reliable sources, Mr. Larma and Raja Devasish were on their way to Khagrachari district on a convoy to attend to two separate meetings when they were attacked by unidentified miscreants. The convoy was attacked in 3 spots: the first attack happened in Betchari in Naniachar upazila and the succeeding attacks in Lemuchari and Maischari in Mahalchari upazila. The miscreants threw brickbats and indiscriminately fired on the convoy and managed to flee the scene immediately. Mr. Larma sustained minor injuries in his hands from glass splinters and his vehicle was badly damaged. His companions in the vehicle also sustained minor injuries from the glass splinters. Raja Devasish’s vehicle was also attacked but he was able to escape unscathed. Despite the shock and alarm brought about by the attacks, both Mr. Larma and Raja Devasish were still able to attend their scheduled meetings.
The successive attack on indigenous leaders in Bangladesh are very alarming and puts into question the safety and security of human rights defenders and indigenous leaders in the said country.
With this, we would like to call the attention of the government of Bangladesh to give immediate attention and action on this matter. We call on the government to conduct an impartial investigation and prosecute those involved in these attacks, including the earlier attack to Mr. Sanjeeb Drong. Finally, we call on the government to ensure the safety and security of the victims and their families to take concrete measures to prevent further attacks intimidation and violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms accorded to every citizen regardless of their political beliefs and affiliations.
We hope that the concerned government officials of Bangladesh will take urgent and appropriate actions on this matter.
Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact