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STATEMENT: BIHR gravely concerns about the massive communal attack on Jumma villages by Bengali settlers
On 17 February 2011, following a death, the Bengali settlers 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.
Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) expresses gravely concern about the brutal incident and demand the exepmplary punishment to the culprit who are involved with this heinous communal attacked and arson with proper investigation. BIHR also demand the rehabilitation of the victim of this organized violence.
It is learnt that a dead body of a settler bangali was recovered by the police and BGB from Rangi Para area on who were missed previously 16 February 2011. It is also learnt that Bengali settlers spread communal tension alleging Jumma villagers responsible for the death people and brought out processions separately at Gulshakhali bazar and Choumuhani bazaar and also brought out another procession at Longadu headquarter area at night.
On 17 February 2011 the Bengali settlers again began to spread communal agitation in the areas since morning. At a stage, the Bengali settlers led by the president of Bangalee Student Council brought out a procession at Longadu headquarter. Police and local administration did nothing to stop spreading communal tension. No sooner ending of procession, two Jumma passengers (students) were attacked by Bengali settlers at Tintilyaghat of Longadu headquarter. They (Jumma students) were severely injured. Later, the injured students were admitted to Rangamati general hospital.
Afterwards, 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. 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.
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.