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Monday, March 1, 2010

Army helped settlers to torch houses: Indigenous people

Source: The Daily Star

A group of indigenous people on Monday alleged that the houses in Baghaichhari in Rangamati were torched by Bangalee settlers belonging to Shama Odhikar Andolon with direct help from army.

The people who claimed to have lost their houses to the attacks said they identified four members of the organisation, founded during the BNP regime, and five army personnel who incited the violence.

Former BNP Lawmaker Wadud Bhuiyan was the founding adviser of the organisation.

At a press conference on Monday, the indigenous people placed a six-point demand including immediate arrest and punishment to the people involved in the Baghaichhari violence.

They gave 17 names of Bangalee settlers who were allegedly involved in arson attacks.

The leaders of Shama Odhikar Andolon who were held responsible for inciting the violence are Abdullah, Mofiz, Ruhul and Selim.

Gyanendo Chakma read out a written statement at the press conference.

Sajek Bhumi Rakkha Committee organised the press conference at the National Press Club where members of the affected indigenous families were present.

On Monday, the authorities lifted Section-144 from the entire Baghaichhari upazila that was imposed immediately after the violence broke out.

Baghaichhari Upazila Nirbahi Officer Bashiur Haque Bhuiyan said the decision to lift the restriction came at a meeting of the authorities with local leaders, both tribal and non-tribal, public representatives, civil and military officials.

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