Today (23 February 2010) fresh communal attack was made on Jumma-inhabited localities in Khagrchari municipality under Khagrachari district by Bengali settlers with the direct help of military forces. Around 40 Jumma houses were burnt down and several Jummas were injured in this attack. On the other, one Bengali employee was killed.
It is reported that the clash broke out around 12.00 noon after a group of Bengali settlers belonging to so-called Sama Odhikar Andolon and Parbatya Bangalee Chhatra Parishad (PBCP) chased a procession of the indigenous Jumma people at Shapla Sattwar area of Khagrachari bazaar. The Bengali settlers hit the Jumma protesters indiscriminately.
Then the Bengali settlers made arson attack on Jumma-inhabited Mahajan Para area. It is alleged that military forces dispersed the Jumma people while they tried to prevent Bengali settlers from setting fire on the houses belonging to Jumma people. Soon after the dispersion of the Jumma people, Bengali settlers set fire on Jumma houses. At least 7 houses were burnt to ashes in this arson attack.
Bengali settlers then set fire on Milanpur, Madhupur and Upali Para areas where at least 7 houses were set fire. One of the owners of the houses was identified as Ms Lucky Chakma at Madhupur area. This was followed by setting fire on Sat Bheiya Para area where at least 25 houses of Jumma people were completely burnt to ashes. Besides, a quarter of Khagrachari Government High School, where a teacher of this school Ms. Tapasi Chakma stays, was also burnt to ashes. PCJSS office at Larma Square of Khagrachari municipality was set fire. It is alleged that Bengali settlers set fire the houses after looting the valuables of the houses. It is reported that Bengali settlers also looted some Jumma houses of Basundhara area. Sources said that at least 7 injured persons were admitted to Khagrachari sadar hospital while 12 received first aid.
On the other, a Bengali was killed at Shalbagan area which is completely inhabited by Bengali settlers. He was identified as Anwar Hossain (22), a fourth class employee of Khagrachhari municipality. It is not confirmed how he was killed. However, sources said that a group of Bengali settlers attacked hostel of Vocational Institute situated at Shalbagan area where few Jumma students stay. He might be killed by this attack.
Jumma people alleged that Bengali settlers made this attack by protection of military forces from the back side. It is reported that some of Bengali settlers were brought from Matiranga upazila by 8 jeeps. During the attack, journalist of Channel i and Desh TV were also assaulted and their cameras were broken by the Bengali settlers when camera crew Dilip Chowdhury and Mongsapru Marma were filming the clashes. Talat Mamun, reporter of private television ntv and Saikat Dewan, correspondent of daily prothom alo, were hostage for few hours by Bengali settlers.
It is reported that Bengali settlers also gathered at Dighinala and Panchari in Khagrachari and Kaukhali upazila in Rangamati district.
The administration imposed a 10-hour curfew in Khagrachhari municipality from 9.00 pm in the wake of fresh communal attack by Bengali settlers. The administration with megaphones asked residents to remain indoors and that if anyone was found outside, they would be arrested and terrorists would be searched door to door.
Reaction to the fresh attack
Following the fresh communal attack on Jumma localities in Khagrachari municipality, at around 4.00 pm Indigenous Students demonstrated a protest rally in the banner of Pahari Chartra Parishad (PCP). Hundreds of students and youths belonging to indigenous community joined in this protest rally.
The rally started from Aporajea Bangla at Dhaka University. Dhaka Indigenous students from different educational institutions participated in this agitation. The rally moved to Muktangan at Paltan through DU campus and High Court. Among others, students’ leaders from different indigenous students’ organization, Dhaka University teacher Professor Robaet Ferdous and Jobaida Nasreen Kona, Central leader of Communist Party of Bangladesh Rohin Hossain Prince were also spoke at this protest rally. They all condemned the barbaric and brutal arson attack in Khagrachari town today. Speakers demanded justice of this attack and exemplary punishment of the culprits.
UNDP closes Khagrachari office
It is learnt that on 23 February 2010 UNDP closed its Khagrachari office for indefinite period. On the others, the staffs of Rangamati and Bandarban offices of UNDP have been given leave for two days.
Update of Baghaihat attack
Today (on 23 February 2010) a MSF primary school was set fire by Bengali settlers. A group of army from Baghaihat zone were in patrolling during this attack.
Indigenous students of Jahangirnagar University also staged protest rally against killing and arson attack at Baghaihat area under Baghaichari upazila.
On the other, at around 10.00 am members of the civil society in Rangamati formed a human chain demanding a fair investigation into Baghaihat communal attack. Around 1,000 people took part in the human chain in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office of Rangamati district. They also demanded immediate arrest and punishment of the people responsible for the incident, withdrawal of army camps and removal of Bengali settlers from the Baghaihat area.
More army to be deployed in CHT, says Home Minister
Today (on 23 February 2010) in a meeting, Home Minister Ms. Sahara Khatum said that government would consider, if needed, to deploy more army in CHT. She said that government has enough preparation to combat any evil forces whether they were Shanti Bahini, religious extremist group or any group.