Int’l CHT commission asks PM to probe arson
The International Commission for Chittagong Hill Tracts in a letter to prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday called for formation of a high-level impartial body to investigate into the recent arson attacks in Langadu of Rangamati and those made in Baghaihat of Rangamati district and in Khagrachhari town in February 2010.
The commission also called for identifying the people, whether government employees or others, responsible for carrying out the attacks by ‘commission, omission, abetment or conspiracy’.
It also urged the government to ensure punishment of the people found guilty of the acts, omissions, abetment or conspiracy and to take measures for protecting the vulnerable and preventing such occurrences in the future.
The letter signed by commission co-chairs Eric Avebury, Sultana Kamal, and Ida Nicolaisen also mentioned that the commission was ‘immensely troubled by the fact that members of the government security forces, who are doing such gallant work as part of the global UN peacekeeping forces, are implicated as colluders with the Bangali settlers in carrying out such attacks against the indigenous people of the country, time and again’.
‘We urge the government to issue instructions to military, paramilitary, police and para-police personnel posted in the CHT to protect all communities, without discrimination, and to provide special protection to communities that have a recent history of such attacks or vulnerability,’ the letter read.
The letter was sent in the wake of the February 17 violence in Langadu in which ‘about 300 Bangali settlers attacked and burnt down Jumma peoples’ homes in Rangipara village in Langadu upazila of Rangamati. The Bangali settlers allegedly are said to have instigated this attack after they found the dead body of a Bangali settler in a nearby village. During this time, we were informed that although members of the Border Guard Bangladesh were present, they did nothing to stop the attacks and prevent the Jumma peoples’ houses from being burnt down.’
‘A day after this incident, there were allegations that members of the army were raiding homes of the Jummas and beating up villagers in Kudukchari of Rangamati, following protests made by the Jummas against the attacks in Langadu. We have also received reports that people in Baghaihat, Rangamati have been prevented from commemorating the anniversary of the arson attacks in Baghaihat in February 2010 through memorial and mourning ceremonies and programmes,’ the letter said.
Click here to read the CHT Commission's full statement