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Friday, April 22, 2011

Jumma villages burned to ashes

Jumma villages burned to ashes

April 21, 2011

Six indigenous Jumma villages have reportedly been burned to ashes and many Jumma people attacked by Bengali settlers in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.
Violence erupted when Jumma landowners discovered settlers clearing their land and building shelters. A fight ensued which resulted in the death of three settlers.

It is reported that following this incident, settlers, with the support of the army, burned down more than 90 Jumma houses and at least 20 Jummas were injured.
Several Jummas are now missing, some thought to have fled into the jungle and some feared dead.
The Bangladesh government has been moving Bengali settlers onto the lands of the Jumma tribal people for more than 60 years. Tensions between the communities remain high, and violence in one area can often trigger revenge attacks elsewhere.
The army and police allegedly refused to allow a relief team, carrying supplies for the Jummas, to visit the affected areas.
Mr Rabi Shankar Talukder who was leading the relief team, said, ‘They want the victims to die without food and shelter’.
Joti Ranjan Chakma, a Jumma man who was travelling on a bus which was targeted as part of the attacks, said, ‘The settlers dragged us off the bus and began beating indiscriminately. I think the settlers beat me with the intention to kill me. But luckily I have been saved. Why should I be treated like this? I have done no wrong’.

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