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Friday, January 29, 2010

Indigenous People, Settlers Clash: Tension mounts in Rangamati

Source: The Daily Star News

Tension is mounting in Gangaram Mukh area under Baghaichhari upazila in the hill district over a clash between settlers and indigenous people on January 21 that left 12 people injured.

Following the incident, indigenous people have boycotted the only bazar Bagaihat while blockade on Bagaihat-Sajek road has been continuing, causing suffering to some 40,000 people of the remote area.

Sources said the district administration is yet to take an initiative to resolve the problem.

Gyanendu Bikash Chakma, an indigenous leader of Gangaram, said the incident took place in the area when the World Food Programme (WFP) team came to distribute food grains among the people.

A section of settlers looted some 20 sacs of WFP rice and beat up some 12 indigenous people, he alleged.

Sajek Nari Samaj (SNS) then put up a blockade on the road and boycotted Bagaihat bazar, demanding return of the indigenous lands allegedly grabbed by the settlers. The movement has been continuing, he added.

Mohammad Nazim Uddin, a leader of the settlers, denied the allegations of looting rice and beating up any indigenous people.

Moreover, they (Indigenous) have made the lives of the settlers miserable. They have been passing days without food, water and medicine. Even they cannot move freely for fear of indigenous cadres, he alleged.

“For the last two years, they killed our six men, including Rashel, Aman, Mojibor, Alakesh, Rahman and Nurunnabi, but we are deprived of getting any legal aid from the administration.”

Chiko Chakma told The Daily Star that, “The settlers wanted to grab their lands and orchards. We informed the local administration of the matter several times, but it didn't take any action.”

L Thanga Pankhuya, chairman of Sajek Union Parishad, said the disputed land belongs to the government reserve forest. So none can claim that it is their land.

Baghaichhari Upazila Nirbahi Officer Humayun Kabir said local people have been suffering for road blockade and boycott of the bazar.

The district administration has been holding talks with both sides to settle the matter, he added.

Full implementation of CHT accord demanded

Source: The Daily Star

Speakers at a discussion yesterday underscored need for full implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord to ensure rights of the vulnerable segment of people, especially women.

It becomes very tough for a woman to cope with the adversities in society where she often becomes a victim of repression, deprivation and oppression, they added.

The speakers further said that indigenous women are facing the denial of their basic human rights from the mainstream society years after years.

The discussion on 'Implementation of CHT Peace Accord and Rights of Adivasi Jumma Women' was organised by Hill Women's Federation in association with ActionAid Bangladesh at Natmandal auditorium on the Dhaka University campus.

Presenting a keynote paper, Chanchana Chakma, organising secretary of the federation, described the position of indigenous women in the country, especially the Jumma women.

She also placed a set of recommendations to protect the rights of Jumma women.

The recommendations include immediate implementation of the peace accord along with the implementation of ILO-107 Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Community, constitutional recognition to the ethnic community and ratification of ILO-169 Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Community.

Parliament and local government parishad should introduce reserved seats for indigenous women ensuring their political participation and to ensure security of women to reduce violation against them.

National women development policy should include an individual section on the rights and development of indigenous women, the recommendation added.

Ayesha Khanam, president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, expressed her solidarity with the demands of the Jumma women.

She said every individual indigenous group should share a common platform to reach their voices to the policy makers.

Mangal Kumar Chakma, information and publicity secretary of Jana Sanghati Samity, urged the government to withdraw all temporary military camps from the CHT area to give the hilly people scope for living peacefully.

Rokeya Kabir, director of Bangladesh Nari Pragati Sangha, Jarita Chakma, general secretary of Chittagong Hill Tracts Mahila Samity, and Rakhee Mrong, organising secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Odhikar Andolon, also spoke at the discussion with Meyoching Chakma in the chair.

Invitation to attend the protest meeting against attacks on top indigenous leaders

Source: PCJSS

Dear all,


Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF), Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), Bangladesh Adivasi Odhikar Anlodon (BAOA) and Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) are jointly going to organise a protest meeting against attacks on Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, Raja Devasish Roy and Sanjeeb Drong at Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka at 11.00 am on 30 January 2010 Saturday.

We cordially invite you to be present in this protest.

In solidarity,

Mangal Kumar Chakma

Information and Publicity Secretary

(Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti)
Kalyanpur, Rangamati-450000, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh
Tel+Fax: +880-351-61248