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Monday, January 25, 2010

Report on Baghaichari (Baghaihat and Sajek) situation in Rangamati

Source: PCJSS

8 Jumma villagers injured by attack of Bengali settlers

Today’s morning (on 24 January 2010) Jumma people have allegedly been attacked by Bengali settlers in Baghaichari sadar and Baghaihat. At least 8 persons in two places have been injured in this communal attack.

It is learnt that around 9.30 am a group of Bengali settlers made attack on Jumma people at Choumuhani area of Baghaichari sadar under Baghaichari upazila in Rangamati district. The following persons were injured in attack-

(1) Mr. Bijoy Chakma (25) s/o Alok Bikash Chakma of village Magban in Baghaichari, sustained injury on his head;

(2) Mr. Sohel Chakma (student) of village Chahabachara in Baghaichari;

(3) Mr. Samapta Chakma of village Babu Para of Baghaichari;

(4) Mr. Dayal Chandra Chakma of village Malya in Baghaichari.

They were admitted at Baghaichari upazila hospital. Dayal Chandra Chakma came to Baghaichari headquarters to withdraw aged allowance.

On the other, at the morning Bengali settlers made attack on hostel of Baghaihat High School where Jumma students have been staying. It is reported that at least 3 students and head teacher of the school were injured. They were identified as-

(1) Mr. Shakyabodhi Chakma, Head Teacher of Baghaihat High School;

(2) Mr. Rubel Chakma, a student of SSC candidate;

(3) Mr. Soikat Chakma, a student of SSC candidate;

(4) Mr. Mithun Chakma, a student of SSC candidate.

It is reported that at present 36 students and teachers of Baghaihat High School including above-mentioned victims have been logged at school house and encircled by the army and police at Baghaihat area.

Tension during last night:

It is also learnt that Bengali settlers gathered at Nursary Para of Baghaihat area under Baghaichari upazila to attack Jumma villages. Sensing this, the Jumma villagers gathered at nearby places of Nursay Para to prevent Bengali settlers’ attack.

However, Bengali settlers refrained from attack as security forces prevented them and as sensing the gathering of Jumma people to oppose any attack of Bengali settlers.

It is also reported that a group of army from Baghaihat zone conducted operation at Nandaram villager under Sajek union. During the operation, army tried to arrest the two following Karbaries (village head), failed to do so as villagers opposed to arrest them-

(1) Mr. Sumati Ranjan Chakma, Karbari of South Nandaram village;

(2) Mr. Udayan Chakma, Karbari of North Nandaram village.

Beginning of the incident:

Since starting of January 2010, Bengali settlers with the support of Baghaihat army zone resumed expansion of their settlement in Sajek area under Baghaichari upazila in Rangamati district. A number of houses have already been erected by the Bengali settlers occupying Jumma villagers’ land.

Protesting against the expansion of Bengali settlement, local Jumma villagers have been boycotting the Baghaihat bazaar since the start of expansion of Bengali settlement. It is also reported that the villagers, under the banner of Sajek Bhumi Rakkha Committee, submitted a memorandum to the Baghaichhari UNO on 10 January 2010 with an ultimatum of 16 January to return them their lands. As the deadline expired without any fruitful result on 16 January, Jumma villagers started their agitation and started to boycott Baghaihat market from 18 January.

Army operation and 8 Jumma injured:

Tension mourned since 22 Janauray 2010 while army tortured on Jumma villagers. It is reported that the incident first took place when some indigenous people of Ratkaba scolded two indigenous women as they came to the local bazar to sell their goods despite a ban by villagers.

On information, the security forces of Baghaihat zone picked up two Jumma youths namely Karnajoy Chakma and Kalabija Chakma from the Baghaihat bazaar and beaten them up mercilessly at zone office, leaving them injured. At one stage, Jumma women under the banner of Sachetan Nari Committee, led by its Convener Lojo Mukhi Chakma, protested the army action on the youths and took them away from army custody.

Following the incident, the security forces went to the bazar again and beaten up the indigenous Jumma villagers indiscriminately, leaving following eight people injured-

(1) Mr. Gyana Moy Karbari (45),

(2) Gyanendu Chakma (55),

(3) Bindu Chakma (48),

(4) Shanti Bimal Chakma (32),

(5) Anadi Ranjan Chakma (45)and

(6) Lojo Mukhi Chakma (45)

(7) Ranjana Bap (42)

(8) Sharni Bap.

Present of Dipankar Talukdar in Baghaichari:

State Minister for CHT Affairs Ministry is now visiting in Baghaichari area. However, local Jumma villagers alleged that he did not take any effective measure to prevent the Bengali settlers or to control the situation.

Urgent Action Needed:

Tension is going on at Baghaihat area of Sajek union and upazila headquarters under Baghaichari upazila. With this circumstance, the following action should be taken on urgent basis-

1. Immediate action to rescue the Jumma students and teacher who are not logged at Baghaihat high school by the army and police

2. Bengali settlers should be closed from Baghaihat areas

3. Expansion of Bengali settlement should be stopped

4. Land and homesteads occupied by Bengali settlers should be returned back to Jumma villagers

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