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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Curfew slapped on Khagrachhari municipality

Source: The Daily Star News

Pickets burn firewood at Mohazonpara in Khagrachhari sadar upazila Tuesday morning to enforce a daylong road and waterway blockade. Photo: Star

The authorities have imposed a curfew on Khagrachhari municipality and its neighbouring areas for 10 hours from 9:00pm Tuesday in the wake of fresh violence in the area that killed at least one person.

At least 50 people were injured and 66 houses burnt in clashes between indigenous people and Bangalee settlers on Tuesday that forced the authorities to roll out army Tuesday afternoon.

Muhammad Abdullah, deputy commissioner of Khagrachhari, told The Daily Star he imposed curfew to avoid any untoward incident at night.

The dead was identified as Anwar Hossain, 22, a fourth class employee of Khagrachhari municipality.

Bangalee settlers set fire to at least 37 houses of indigenous people --20 were in Mahajanpara, 10 in Narankhiya, four in Habongpuriya and three in Narikelbagan area.

Indigenous people also torched at least 29 houses of Bangalee settlers --10 in Mohammadpur, seven in Shalbagan, five in College Gate, five in Senakalyan Area and two in Masterpara area.

Body of Anwar, son of Rawshan Ali, was recovered from Shalbagan area shortly after the houses were torched in the area.

Shahidur Khan, officer-in-charge of Khagrachhari Sadar Police Station, confirmed the news saying Anwar was shot in the head.

Twenty vehicles were also vandalised during the clashes in the district headquarters.

Witnesses said the clash broke out around 11:30am after a group of settlers belonging to Parbatya Bangalee Chhatra Parishad (PBCP) chased a procession of the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF), a platform of the indigenous people.

UPDF brought out the procession as part of its daylong protests against the violence in Baghaichhari Upazila in Rangamati district that cost two lives and left many others injured.

The indigenous people had blockaded roads and waterways in Khagrachhari and Rangamati districts to press their six-point demand.

The authorities imposed section 144 in the town to stave off the spread of the violence, reports our Khagrachhari correspondent.

Volatile situation in Khagrachhari later started to calm down around 4:00pm after joint forces of army, armed police battalions and police started patrolling the streets.

They announced by handheld mikes warning the residents to remain indoors that if anyone found outside their houses would be arrested.

Talat Mamun, reporter of private television ntv, was among the injured.

The indigenous demonstrators set up pickets at more than 15 points in Khagrachhari town. They torched a truck in front of the Collegiate High School at about 7:30am.

The pickets at Khabalpuria barred ambulance and fire brigade vehicles heading for Mahajanpara.

Their demands include launching a judicial enquiry into the killings and arson attacks on villages in Baghaichhari in Rangamati on Friday and Saturday, punishing the persons responsible for the attack, compensating the victims and providing the injured people with treatment, reconstructing the prayer houses, stopping land grabbing and pulling out army from Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Our Rangamati correspondent adds: Members of the civil society in Rangamati formed a human chain where they demanded a fair investigation into Baghaichhari violence.

Around 1,000 people took part in the human chain in front of the Rangamati deputy commissioner’s office at about 10:00am.

They also demanded immediate arrest and punishment to the people responsible for the incident, withdrawal of army camp and removal of Bangalee settlers from the area.

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