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Monday, June 21, 2010

17 injured in settler attack in Manikchari

17 injured in settler attack in Manikchari
June 12, 2010

AT least 17 persons including 4 journalists have been injured when a group of settlers attacked participants of a half-day sit-in programme in Manikchari as road blockade called by Hill Women’s Federation ended in Rangamati.

The road blockade and sit-in programme, called in protest against the refusal of administration to allow HWF to hold a rally in Rangamati town to mark the 14th anniversary of abduction of Kalpana Chakma, was also supported by Democratic Youth Forum, Hill Students’ Council and
Sajek Nari Samaj.

HWF sources said the settlers led by Sagir Ahmed, president of Jubo Dal, Sapchari Union Branch, and Abu Bakr Siddiqe, a leader of the so-called Sama Odhikar Andolon, attacked them at 1:30pm at Manikchari intersection, while the police and army stationed there looked on.

At least 9 HWF activists including its vice president Nirupa Chakma, 4 activists of Democratic Youth Forum and 4 journalists were injured in the attack.

The settlers used machetes and sticks during the attack. There was not the slightest provocation on the part of the programme participants.

The injured journalists are Nandan Devnath of Channel I, Md. Solieman of Diganta TV, Milton Barua of The Samay, a Bengali daily, and Pulok, a local correspondent.

The attackers also broke Nandan Devnath’s lap top and a camera to pieces.

An independent television channel, ATN News, showed footage on the attack.

HWF vice president Nirupa Chakma, who also sustained minor injuries, said “The attack was so sudden and so unexpected that it took quite sometime to make out what was happening.”

“We retreated to Manikchari Brick Field, about one kilometer from the place where the attack took place, as the settlers chased us. The police were along with them during the chase. But they did not take any action to restrain the attackers. Rather, they helped them” she said.

The other injured are Mita Chakma (25) from Krishnama Chara, Sharmila Chakma, joint convenor, HWF Baghaihat unit; Rimi Chakma, member, HWF Laxmichari Unit; Shwarna Lata Chakma (20), member, HWF Rangamati Unit; Kalodevi Chakma (45) from Keretchari village, Gurimila Chakma from Atharo Mile; Sohagi Chakma (22) from Betchari; Riku Chakma, president, HWF Khagrachari unit; Binoy Chakma (20), member, DYF; Shakil Chakma,
member, DYF Kudukchari Unit; Jibon Chakma, DYF Belaichari Unit and Samir Chakma (22), DYF, Belaichari Unit.

Samir Chakma sustained injuries in his head as he was chopped with a machete and was being rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital.

HWF president Sonali Chakma, PCP president Aongay Marma, DYF convenor Mithun Chakma and UPDF Rangamati Unit Organiser Shant Dev Chakma condemned the attack and urged the district administration to bring the culprits to book.

In other parts of the district, the sit-in and road blockade programme ended peacefully.

In Khagrachari district, the HWF tried to bring out a procession in defiance of a ban on political demonstrations in observance of the Kalpana Chakma Abduction Day today.

Hundreds of HWF activists assembled at Kashem Saw Mill area in the morning, but the police blocked the road resulting in a minor scuffle between them.

Later, the HWF changed route of their procession which went through Khabangpujya and ended at Swanirbhor.

HWF and other Jumma leaders lashed out at the government for refusing to make the inquiry report on Kalpana Chakma public.

They urged the government to publish the report and punish those responsible for her abduction including Lt. Ferdours without further delay.

news source: chtnews.com

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