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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Update of Khagrachari Incidents

Source: PCJSS

24 Feb 2010 Morning

1. Occurrence of the Incidents on 23 February 2010

UPDF, protesting the communal attack upon the Jumma People in Bagaihut on 19 and 20 February 2010, gave a call for strike in Rangamati and Khagrachari Hill Districts of CHT.

Astonishingly a group of 50-60 boys of UPDF around 9.00 a.m brought out a procession from Khabang Pariya area and proceeded toward Shapla Chattar at Khagrachari Sadar. The demonstrators had sticks and marble etc throwing device and shouted slogans excitingly. On the other, Bengali settlers from various cluster villages at Khagrachari Sadar and outside areas too came out in hundreds at that time with ulterior motives and got assembled at Khagrachari Shapla Chattar and other different points like Khagrachari Bazar, area and office areas. Clashes held between the two groups.

Considering the aggressive attitude of the settlers some Bengali leaders mainly belonging to Awami Leage had talks with UPDF leaders at Shapla Chattar about mitigating the tensed situation there. The UPDF leaders got agreed to stop their protests and close down the picketers from Shapla Chattar and other points to avoid clashes with the Bengali settlers. Gradually the UPDF activists got closed and the Bengali settlers being in larger numbers got control of the whole areas at Khagrachari Town.

2. Arson, looting and Killing

Around 11.00 a.m. Bengali settlers commenced their movement toward different directions and areas. Most of the Jumma people, suspecting communal riot of the settlers as well as intimidation from army troops vacated their homes, which created advantage for snatching and looting of goods.

One group commenced their movement from the Shapla Chattar to the Khagrachari Bazar. On the other, most of the Jumma villagers being frighten of communal riots and intimidation of the army as usual vacated their homes. While the Bengali Settlers group was passing the Mahajan Para rumour got spread that army troop was proceeding toward there. All Jumma boys and persons fled away for safety and security. A group of Bengalis of 7/8 persons suspected including army personnel in civil dress poured out petrol and set fire at the house of a Tripura person named Bir Bikram Roaza s/o Birendra Roaza (65) at Mahajan Para village. Then the fire gulped houses one after another. This group of settlers set fire on some shops of the Jumma persons at Khagrachari Bazar area.

Around 12.00 pm another group of the settlers numbering to 20/25 persons proceeded toward CHT Development Board Rest House looted houses and took snatched away ornaments from the Jumma women.

A big group of the setters followed by army patrol party proceeded toward Modhupur and Milanpur and set fire to one house of the Jumma people at first village and two houses of Jumma People at the second village.

Another group of the settlers attacked Satbheiya Para (Seven Brothers Village of the Marma People), which is situated at the outskirts of the Khagrachari Sadar and burnt down 37 houses. In one clash near that village a rioter named Anowar Hossain, gardener of Khagrachari Pourasabha office reported killed.

3. Steps of the GoB

The situation was suspected to be out of control and communal riots would get enhanced at night. The Jumma People from various corners urged the higher authorities in Dhaka including PM Sheikh Hasina to take proper and stern steps.

In the evening one AIG of Police was deputed in Khagrachari and section 144 was imposed.

At night around 10.00 p.m. RAB was reported deployed and curfew imposed in Khagrachari Town till 7.00 a.m. of 24 February 2010. Situation in Khagrachari Town came under control at it.

4. Tension at other places

On 23 February 2010 Bengali settlers under protection of the army troop of Baghaihut Army Zone Camp set fire on the Clinic of the MSF, an International NGO at Baghaihut in Kassalong Reserve Forest in Sajek Union under Bagaichari Upazila in Rangamati Hill District.

Tension loomed large at other different places like Panchari Upazilla and Dighinala Upazilla in Khagrachari Hill District and Langadu Upazilla and Kawkhali Upazilla in Rangamati Hill District.

In Rangamati Deputy Commissioner Sourendra Nath Chakraborty held a meeting in the evening of 23 February where representatives from CHT Regional Council and Rangamati Hill District Council, Rangamati Army region, BDR and Police got attended. Decision was adopted to resist any kind of untoward incident in the district.

At night police forces were deployed at important points. Some settlers made attempts to create chaos at a few points like Vedvedi and Tribal Adam of Rangamati Town. The Police resisted them properly.

24 February 2010

11.00 a.m.

1. Operation of RAB etc. at Khagrachari sadar Areas

In the morning around 7.30 a.m. of 24 February 2010 RAB (Rapid Action Battalion), local Police, BDR and Army reported rounded up Khabangpajya village and Swanirbar Area, a stronghold of the UPDF and apprehended some Jumma boys and persons. It created chaos and the local school reading boys and girls got trouble to get out from homes for their examination there today. Their guardians asked the District Administration and other concerned authorities for relaxation of the operation for their children. The matter was raised to the local MP Jatindra Lal Tripura also. Till 11.00 a.m. it is not known whether any one got failed to go to the Examination Hall in Khagrachari town due to the situation.

2. Dead Body of Anwar Hossain, a rioteer

On the other, it is reported that the dead body of Anwar Hossain, a rioter would be buried today at afternoon. There is apprehension whether, the Bengali settlers would bring out any rally carrying it, which may create serious tension and communal riots as well may come up once again there.

3. Conclusion

It is noted that normal situation is yet to resume for which most of the people particularly the Jumma ones are having confined themselves in their houses. So, it is difficult to have proper and full reports of the occurrences.

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