Source: Kapaeeng Foundation
On 24 May 2012 the All Walks of Citizen Groups formed a human chain organized urging the government of Bangladesh to take action against the increasing atrocities on indigenous peoples including women and children.
All Walks of Citizen Groups include Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Jatiya Adiavsi Parishad, Kapaeeng Foundation, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Oxfam, ActionAid, Pahari Chattra Parishad, Adivasi Chattra Sangram Parishad, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad and Bangladesh Indigenous Women Network.
In a declaration read out during human chain, they said that “With great distress and anxiety, we observe that acts of attack, murder, rape and violence against indigenous peoples in various parts of the country have been increasing at an alarming rate. This has certainly attracted the attention of the conscientious citizens of Bangladesh and has made us gravely concerned. On May 19, a seven year old indigenous girl name Shagori Oraon was brutally raped and killed. On May 20, a grenade attack on unarmed Pahari Chhatra Parishad (PCP) students injured at least 14. On 22 May, one of the victims, Mongsa Ching Marma, age 20, died at Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) while undergoing treatment. Four more are severely injured and many of them will be disabled for good. On May 4, four indigenous farm workers were barbarically murdered! in the upazila of Manda in the Noagaon district. On May 9, Sujata Chakma, an 11-year old school girl from Longadu upazila in Rangamati district was raped and inhumanly hacked to death with a machete. Last but not the least, on April 28, an indigenous woman named Ms. Alpana Chakma alias Kalabi (45) of Jarulchara under Longadu upazila in Rangamati district was brutally assaulted and looted by Bengali settlers. These recent events are a reflection of the insecurity in which the indigenous people reside and a result of the naked racial hatred that the indigenous population faces.”
The declaration also added that “We form this human chain today to condemn the above incidents. In addition we want to clearly state that the government has failed to ensure the security of the marginalized communities of Bangladesh including their women and children, who are unable to lead a normal life. The security forces of the government has taken no action to prosecute the criminals under the justice/judicial system. We the civil society strongly urge the government administration to take immediate actions to protect the marginalized communities from violence. The civil society expresses its serious concern at the government’s negligence towards ensuring the overall security of the indigenous peoples, labourers, women and children. We observed carefully that even after the grenade attack o! n PCP the administration has remained quiet. Government has taken no steps to provide assistance to the injured. The civil society has noticed that bomb attacks on indigenous peoples have added a new dimension to the violence against indigenous peoples.
Rights groups also said that “The civil society of the country is furthermore concerned that the violence against religious and ethnic minor communities has risen recently all over the country. There were attacks on Hindu communities of Haathajari, Shaatkhira, Jamalpur in Chittagong where homes and temples were burnt down and looted. Racial torture on indigenous peoples has also increased alarmingly. The rate of raping and killings of indigenous women has also increased significantly as this gathering observes.”
The rights organisations strongly urged the government administration to take urgent actions to meet the following demands:
- To give exemplary punishment to the rapists and murderers of 7 year old Sagori Oraon from Badolgachi of Naogaon district and 11 year old Sujata Chakma from Longodu in Rangamati for their barbarous crimes.
- To ensure the formation of fair investigative committee to capture the culprits of the bomb attack on students of PCP in Rangamati on 20 May 2012.
- To arrest and punish the killers of 4 indigenous labourers in Manda of Naogaon and to compensate the families of the 4 victims for their loss and rehabilitate them to ensure their future from a special relief fund.
- To issue and implement a special action plan for ensuring the security of the marginalized workers and indigenous peoples.
Among others, president of Workers’ Party of Bangladesh MP Rashed Khan Menon, executive director of MJF Shahin Anam, general secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum Sanjeeb Drong, Sharmin Shamim Morshed, executive director of RDC Mesbah Kamal, programme officer of Oxfam Saikat Biswas, Tahmina Haque of ActionAid et al spoke in the human chain.