A massive communal and arson attack on four Jumma localities was carried by the Bengali Muslim settlers with the support of army and police in Longadu under Rangamati hill district of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) on 2 June 2017. This organized and army-police-backed arson and communal attack claimed more than 300 Jumma houses burnt to ashes, of which it counts more than 200 houses and shops in Tintila of Longadu upazila headquarters and more 120 houses (around 40 houses in each of the three villages) in Manikjorchara, Battya Para and Baradom villages to have been completely burnt down. It is reported that at least an aged woman named Guna Mala Chakma (75) w/o late Rabichan Chakma was killed in this arson attack. Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) expresses strong protest and condemnation over the setting fire and looting in the houses of indigenous Jumma peoples and massive communal attack.
It is learnt that centering recovery of a dead body identified to be of a driver of motor cycle Nurul Islam Nayon in Khagrachari, a belligerent procession of the Bengali Muslim settlers from Battya Para of Longadu upazila took to street under coverage of the army and police forces around 9:00 am. When the procession reached at Longadu upazila headquarters around 10:00 am, the settlers from within the procession began looting and setting fire in the Jumma houses and shops including the PCJSS office without any provocation. At this, 200 houses and shops belonging Jumma people got burnt down. Afterward, the Bengali Muslim settlers left for nearby Manikjorchara to attack the village under army and police force protection. At this, around 40 houses of the village were completely reduced to ashes.
The local administration promulgated Section 144 around 12:00 noon. But it was learnt that despite being so, the settlers moved ahead under army-police guard and set fire in the villages of South Manikjorechara, Battya Para, Boradam, etc. Jumma localities and these were being carried out at the time of origination of this report. In this attack, 30/35 houses in Battya Para and 40 houses in Boradom villages were burnt to ashes.
On receipt of the news of setting out a procession with the dead body last night, the local Jumma public representatives and leaders called on Longadu army zone and Longadu police station authorities to apprise their sense of danger and lacking of security. This morning, the 2nd-in-Command (2IC) Major Rafique of Longadu army zone assured on behalf of the army zone saying: “Staging procession is a democratic right of the settlers. They will exercise their right peacefully. No untoward incident will be allowed to happen. Hence, there is nothing to be worried.” Saying so, the commander assured the local Jumma public representatives and leaders, but it is a great irony that the settlers carried out organized attacks, looted and set fire in the Jumma houses and shops in all time presence of Longadu Zone Commander Lt. Col. Abdul Alim Choudhury psc, 2IC Major Rafique and Officer-In-Charge (OC) of Longadu police station Mominul Islam along with the joint forces.
It is learnt that the militant procession of the settlers was also participated by the national parties irrespective of their ideologies and differences, such as, ruling Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party, Jamat-E-Islam etc. including the so-called Parbatya Chattagram Samo Odhikar Andolan (CHT Equal Rights Movement) and other upstarts organizations of the settlers. As part of their solidarity, Juba League, youth wing of the ruling party, organized a procession at 11:00 am today in Rangamati town in protest against killing of the said motor bike driver. It has been reported that anti-Jumma communal slogans were shouted during the demonstration.
Despite assurance given on part of the army and police authorities, the unabated looting and arson attack in the Jumma houses in the very presence of the authorities who ensured verbal assurance, it can safely be concluded that the Bengali Muslim settlers procession with the dead body has been a deliberate one in orchestration of the army-police forces and local leadership of the ruling party.
PCJSS considers this sort of organized communal and arson attack that happened today, has been conducted with the support of state machineries and local leadership of the ruling party to evict the Jumma people from their ancestral lands, to obstruct the implementation process of the CHT Accord, and over all to achieve their mean objective of turning the CHT region into a Muslim-dominated region.
The PCJSS, calls upon all the parties concerned to stop the army-police-backed communal and arson attacks by the Bengali Muslim settlers and to step up legal measures to bring all those army-police personnel and settlers responsible for the attack, looting and arson in the Jumma houses and shops, on an emergency basis.
In a press release signed by Assistant Information and Publicity Secretary of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) Sajib Chakma dated 1 June 2017, PCJSS strongly protested against illegal search in the house of Areise Marma, President of PCJSS Raikhali Union Branch and and ill-attempt of planting explosive materials inside the house, beating and undue harassment upon his family members.
PCJSS says, a BGB troop of 19 Battalion from Wagga BGB Zone and Dongchari BGB camp entered the No.1 Para of Narangirimukh under Kaptai Upazila of Rangamati Hill District and conducted a thorough search in the house of Areise Marma (55), President Mv Raikhali Union Branch of PCJSS at the wee hours of today, 1 June 2017. It was learnt that the BGB searching party handcuffed Mathuiching Marma, wife of Areise Marma and slapped their daughter Unuching Marma.
As per the statement on the occurrence, the BGB personnel surrounded Areise Marma’s house at 01:30 am and having waken up the inmates of the house, began their search and this continued till 4:00 am. The BGB searching party were looking for Areise Marma who was not at home by then. At certain point of their search, Unuching Marama, daughter of Areise Marma noticed the BGB personnel digging the inside floor by theft and planting some explosive materials taken out from their bag that they carried along with and soon she offered challenge saying that it was they who brought in those articles, which were never part of their household objects. The BGB person concerned, for being unsuccessful, got tempered and slapped Unuching Marma with might.
At certain phase of searching, the BGB personnel locked Mathuiching Marma, wife of Areise Marma with handcuff. They entered into the bedroom of Areise Marma’s son and daughter-in-law and muddled the household articles including the wears and all. They snatched the mobile phones from the family members and mounted heavy pressure upon them seeking to know whereabouts of the arms and show the cached arms to them. The BGB kept them under threatening of sending to jail and filing up cases against them, if they did not show the location of the arms. The BGB personnel did not let them go to bed and harassed all the family members outside their house till 4:00 am. While leaving around 4.00 am they BGB wrote a note in a piece of white paper stating that nothing was done to the family members and made Unuching put her signature in the paper.
The PCJSS strongly protests against such conspiring and ill-attempt of planting explosive materials inside the house of Areise Marma, President of PCJSS Raikhali Union Branch, beating and undue harassment upon his family members and demands immediate stop to such conspiring and illegal searching.
It is worthy to be cited here that a group of BGB personnel from Wagga BGB Zone arrested No.4 Raikhali Union Council member and also Vice-President of PCJSS Raikhali Union Committee and his son Kyawhing Hla Marma, President of Kaptai Thana Branch of Pahari Chhatra Parishad by unknowingly planting explosive materials inside their house on 31 March 2017. They were taken to Rangamati Amy Zone and brought out heavy inhuman torture upon them. The BGB and Army Zone authorities made the severely wounded father and son say what they were taught to confess to the local press media.
In recent days, searching operation elsewhere by army and BGB, filing up false-based and fabricated cases entangling the Jumma people including the PCJSS members engaged in the movement for rights and implementation of the CHT Accord, taking the arrested by secretly planting fire arms and sending to jail, meting out physical torture and harassment have become a very common scenario with intensity. The PCJSS has the ground to believe all this design to have been being directed to achieve mean objectives of identifying the just movement for implementation of the CHT Accord as an act of terrorism, destroying the dynamic leadership of PCJSS and over all, to obstruct the implementation process of the CHT Accord and to utter surprise to note that the atrocities upon the members of PCJSS and its associate organizations are being meted out by the army-BGB-police forces with the support of the ruling party, the misdeeds of which can never yield in wellbeing to the national interest.