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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fresh communal attack on Jumma localities in Khagrachari town

Source: PCJSS

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.

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.