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Friday, February 18, 2011

Massive communal attack on Jumma villages by Bengali settlers with the support of security forces in Longadu

Source: PCJSS

23 houses burnt to ashes, 2 injured

On 17 February 2011 around 5.30 pm, following the death of a Bengali settler, the Bengali settlers numbering 200-250 from Gulshakhali settler area of Gulshakhali union under Longadu upazila in Rangamati district in collaboration with Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) (formerly BDR) made a massive communal attack on Jumma villages of Gulshakhali and Rangi Para areas. It is learnt that at least 23 houses of Jumma villagers including one BRAC school were reportedly burnt to ashes in the attack while two Jumma students were seriously injured in another attack made at Tintilya launchghat in Longadu at noon.

It is learnt that on 15 February 2011 in the morning two Bengali settlers named Md. Saber Ali (33) s/o Nehat Ali and Md. Sahid (35) s/o Julya Pagala from settler’s village- Rahamatpur of Gulshakhali union went to nearby jungle of Gulshakhali area to collect flower-broom (a kind of natural broom). Of them, Md. Sahid returned to home, however, Md. Saber Ali went missing. On 16 February 2011 around 10.00 am police and BGB recovered dead body of Saber Ali from Rangi Para area and brought it to police station of Longadu headquarter at 3:00 pm.

It is learnt that Saber Ali was suffering from epilepsy. So, locals including the administration guessed that Saber Ali might die due his illness. Witnesses also confirmed that no injury was found on dead body. However, in the evening time around 5.30 pm, Bengali settlers spread communal tension alleging Jumma villagers responsible for the death of Saber Ali and brought out processions separately at Gulshakhali bazar and Choumuhani bazar. Bengali settlers also brought out another procession at Longadu headquarter area at night about 12.00 pm.

On 17 February 2011 the Bengali settlers again began to spread communal agitation in the areas since morning. At a stage, at 11:00 am the Bengali settlers led by Khalilur Rahaman Khan, president of Bangalee Student Council and one Abdur Rahim (journalist) brought out a procession at Longadu headquarter. Police and local administration did nothing to stop spreading communal tension. No sooner ending of procession, at about 1.00 pm, two Jumma passengers (students) who came from Rangamati by a launch were attacked by Bengali settlers at Tintilyaghat of Longadu headquarter. They (Jumma students) were severely injured. They were identified as-

(1) Mr. Apolo Chakma (20) s/o Mono Ranjan Chakma of Sijakmukh area of Baghaichari upazila

(2) Mr. Mangal Moy Chakma (15) s/o Daya Mohan Chakma of Simana Para of Barkal upazila

Later, the injured students were admitted to Rangamati general hospital.

Afterwards, at about 5:00 pm the Bengali settlers again began to gather and at a stage with a group numbering 200-250 made attack on Jumma villages and set fire to the Jumma houses one after another. In the attack, at least 23 Jumma houses including one BRAC school were burnt to ashes. The BGB did nothing to stop the Bengali settlers from setting fire on Jumma houses.

Bengali settlers first set fire on the houses of Sukra Chakma and Amiya Kanti Chakma of Rangi Para. Then Jumma villagers gathered themselves and tried to defend the remaining houses and facing off the settlers. Jumma leaders also informed the local administration including police. However, no action was taken by the administration to stop Bengali settlers from attack.

On the other, a group of BGB of Rangipara Tematha camp led by Habildar Jahangir under Rajnagar BGB zone rushed there at that time and Bengali settlers increased their attack soon after arrival of BGB personnel.

Bengali settlers then proceeded to Gulshakhali village and set fire on Jumma houses indiscriminately. Jumma villagers alleged that BGB personnel supported the Bengali settlers while setting fire to the Jumma houses. Till 7.00 pm on 17 February Bengali settlers burnt down at least 23 houses of Jumma villagers in two villages (Please find the attachment for detailed list of houses burnt to ashes).

Besides, a BRAC school was burnt to ashes and 45 pieces of CIT sheets that was stored by UNICEP for building a school were looted.

The culprits and miscreants who led and made the Bengali settlers to attack and setting fire on Jumma villages were identified as follows:

(1) Wajed Ali, Chairman of Bagachatar union;

(2) Rahim, Chairman of Gulshakhali union;

(3) Amir Hossain Molla (55) s/o unknown of village- Boiragi bazar of Bagachatar union;

(4) Samsu Sardar (55) s/o unknown of Thegapara of Bagachatar union;

(5) Mannan Sardar (50) s/o unknown of Rangipara of Bagachatar union;

(6) Salauddin (30) s/o unknown of Rangipara of Bagachatar union.

It is mentionable that the Bengali settlers who were brought from plain lands and settled down at Gulshakhali, Bogachadar and Kalapagujya areas under Longadu upazila in 1980s have been trying to grab the lands of Jumma people. As a part of this attempt, on 21 December 2010 the Bengali settlers made attack on Jumma village of Shanti Nagar and inhumanly beat 14 Jumma villagers and ransacked 5 houses motivatedly alleging Jumma villagers to beat a Bengali settler who went to jungle to collect firewood.

It is suspected that Saber Ali might be killed by Bengali settlers to create lame excuse for making attack on Jumma peoples. Bengali settlers fabricatedly spread that there were several injuries on dead body. However, a doctor, who made dead body post-mortem and wished not to be named, said that no injury was found.