9 April 2013
Twenty seven Jumma families fled their homes on Friday, 5 April, after the Bengali settlers attacked their village Pran Kumar Para under Barnal Union in Matiranga Upazila of Khagrachari district. The attacks also left 10 villagers injured.
The victims have now taken shelter with their relatives in the village of Apurno Mahajon Para in Gomti Union.
Some of the attack victims reached Khagrachari today after tracking a long distance taking a devious mountainous route.
According to them, the first attack took place on 2 April. ‘On the night of that day, around 2am, some 40 – 50 illegal Bengali settlers surrounded the house of Durjoy Tripura in Pran Kumar Para and asked him whether he had seen any UPDF men.’ they said.
‘When Durjoy answered ‘No’, the setters began beating him. The attackers also broke a door of the house of Paltan Joy Tripura, 42.’ they added.
They said the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) personnel were present behind the settlers during the attack.
The second attack was launched on Friday night (5 April). About the incident of that day, Dhana Bikash Tripura, 37, son of Jobindra Tripura has it to say: ‘It was about 1:30 at night. About 2 – 3 thousand settlers from Chouddagram Para, Sharat Master Para, Jafar Para and Karim Master Para under Amtoli and Bornal Unions surrounded our village from four directions. Then some of the settlers threw a few stones on the roof of a Bengali house and burst firecrackers before attacking my house. They beat me severely. They hit me on the head and I fell on the ground. When my wife, my mother and my brothers came to save me, the attackers beat them as well. The settlers shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘Naraey Takbir’ at the time of the attack.’
He said the marauding settlers also smashed his house, shop, a television, a bicycle and other belongings in the house and looted goods from his shop and mobile handsets.
Those who were injured in the attack are Durjoy Tripura, 22, Kanta Ray Tripura, 30, Chande Ray Tripura, 22, Kambha Ray Tripura, 20, Tapan Bikash Tripura, 25, Jyoti Ray Tripura, 21, Boba Ray Tripura, 18, Kishore Ray Tripura, 28 and Shova Ranjan Tripura, 24.
Of them, Tapan Bikash Tripura sustained fairly severe injury to his legs and ears and is now suffering hearing impairment.
Since all the residents of the village fled their homes, the only non-government primary school in the village established by Jabrang Kalyan Samiti remains closed, while the SSC examinees of the area cannot attend their exams fearing further attacks.
Awami League leaders blamed
The victims blamed the local Awami League leaders for the attacks. Dhana Bikash Tripura said, ‘We could recognize some of the attackers – AL leaders Hashem, Kalam Mian, Monir, Zakir, Momin and Karim.’
According to him, the second attack was led by Rafique, member of Ward No. 6 of Bornal Union, Mir Kashem, Momin, Shamshu Member and Yunus Member of Amtoli Union.
‘We all fled our homes – all the villagers. We have taken shelter in Apurno Mahajon Para in Bama Gomti.’ he added.
After the incident, on 7 April, Md. Malek, a Bengali settler and a BNP activist, threatened in the presence of BGB personnel, saying: ‘If the Tripura people don’t leave the village of their own will, we’ll butcher them all.’
‘We are now living in fear and afraid to go back to the village. We want safety and security of life and property.’ the victims said.
Tapan Bikash Tripura, another victim, said, ‘A little after midnight I woke up to shouts and screams and went out of the house with my wife and children. Then I saw the settlers beating my elder brother Dhana Bikash Tripura. I went up to them and pleaded with them not to beat him. But they did not listen to me.’
‘At this point I heard Jahangir, Monir, Mir Kashem, Nuru Mian, Hashem and Abul Hossain shouting: “We’ll spare none of the Tripura people, we’ll chop them off, and we’ll finish them off.”’
He said the settlers also beat him. ‘When I tried to save my brother, they slapped me on the face. They also beat me with sticks, hitting on my ears. I fell on the ground unconscious.’
He went on to say: ‘I recognized my attackers. They are Hashem, Monir and Abul Hossain. They also took my mobile handset and my wrist watch.’
The 27 Jumma families affected by the attack and now taken shelter in Apurno Mahajon Para are Dhana Bikash Tripura, Paltanjoy Tripura, Toklai Moni Tripura, Ratna Devi Tripura (a widow), Jobindra Tripura, Toimala Tripura, Chakkela Tripura, Kanta Ray Tripura, Shova Ranjan Tripura, Lotabi Tripura, Chande Ray Tripura, Durjoy Tripura, Jyoti Ray Tripura, Binanta Tripura, Ekana Tripura, Dui Ana Tripura (village head or Karbari), Tapan Bikash Tripura, Ratan Bhushan Tripura, Kambha Ray Tripura, Kishore Ray Tripura, Dhana Mohan Tripura, Baron Kumar Tripura, Shialcha Tripura, Jibon Kumar Tripura, Jawhr Lal Trpura, Bhagna Kumar Tripura and Siddhi Joy Tripura.
The United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF) has condemned the attacks on the Tripura people in Matiranga and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
‘The unprovoked attack was aimed at driving the Jumma people from their village and take away their lands and homestead’, Riko Chakma, a UPDF organizer in Khagrachari said.
The attacks were also condemned by Democratic Youth Forum, Hill Women’s Federation and Hill Students’ Council.