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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Massive communal attack by Bengali settlers on indigenous Jumma peoples in Taindong, Matiranga

On August 3, 2013, Bengali settlers attacked several Jumma villages in Taindong union of Matiranga Upozila (sub district of Khagrachari). The attack started at around 3 pm and lasted for the whole night. Bengali settlers looted and ransacked several hundred Jumma houses and later set fire on the houses. Our sources have confirmed that Bengali settlers set fire on atleast 350 Jumma houses, including two Buddhist temples in Sorbewor Para, Bondorsingh Para, Boga Para, Monudas Para and Talukdar Para of Taindong. Among them 46 houses were burnt to ashes. Atleast 50 Jumma peoples were wounded from the attack and 6 Jummas went missing. Out of 6 missing Jummas, 3 are feared to be dead based on information from eye witnesses. They have been identified as Arun Mohon Chakma, resident of Monudas Para;  Suresh Talukdar and his old mother from Talukdar Para.

Villagers standing by Taindong Buddhist temple on 5th August, 2 days after the incident. Photo courtesy: bdnews24

A survivor of the attack, Jyotish Chakma, son of Arun Mohan Chakma, told that he was carrying his 70 years old father on his back to flee to the jungle when the Bengali settlers attacked the Jumma villages. But at one point, the settlers snatched his father and hacked him with a dao (local machete). He had to leave his father behind in order to save his life. Two other missing people, Suresh Talukdar and his mother, are feared to be burnt down inside their houses when the settlers set fire.

An indigenous Jumma person trying to collect remaining paddy from his burnt house in Taindong, two days after the incident. Photo courtesy: bdnews24

 Following the attack, thousands of indigenous peoples were forced to flee away from their home. Times of India reported that more than 1500 indigenous peoples took shelter in the India-Bangladesh border. 

Jumma peoples take shelter at no man's land are of Joleya, Bangla-Indo border. courtesy: Tripura Chakma Students' Council

The Bengali settlers had been trying to stage communal attack on the indigenous inhabited area of Taindong for a long time with the aim of grabbing their lands. On August 3, at around 11 am in the morning, Bengali settlers started gathering at Taindong Bazar area with sharp knife and machetes, claiming that indigenous miscreants have kidnapped a Bengali person named Kamal Hossain (age 26), who is a motorcycle driver by profession. Amrito Ranjon Chakma,- village head of Bondorsingh Para (area),  and Fonibhushon Chakma,-UP member from Ward No. 1 of Taindong, told members of chtnewsupdate, “ the Bengali settlers asked us to go to Taindong Bazar area to help finding Kamal Hossain. We went there to help them. At one stage, all of a sudden, they started beating us. They were shouting 'attack the indigenous villages'. Out of nowhere, hundreds of Bengali settlers joined the attack.” 

Fonibhushon Chakma, Amriton Ranjon Chakma, Hala Haji Chakma and Supayan Chakma were the first victims of the attack. They were beaten indiscriminately by the Bengali settlers. They were undergoing treatment when members from chtnewsupdate spoke to them.

Jumma villagers took shelter at Joleya, Indo-Bangla border. Photo courtesy: Tripura Chakma Students' Council

Jummas at no man's land. Camera: Hiralal Deb Barma.

It has been confirmed that the alleged kidnapping of Kamal Hossain was completely a staged drama in order to find an excuse to attack Jumma villages. Police found him at around 5 pm on the incident-day. However, it did not stop the Bengali settlers from attacking indigenous peoples and their villages. They continued their attack despite the fact that police found the alleged kidnapped person.
 On August 6, ProthomAlo, a leading Bengali newspaper of Bangladesh, quoted Shahjahan Rahman, Assistant Police Super of Ramgarh Circle: “This was not kidnapping, the whole thing was a staged drama.” The newspaper also quoted UP member Fonibhushon Chakma: “This was a pre-planned drama. They master-planned the incident to evict the indigenous peoples and to make them financially vulnerable." 

Jummas at no man's land. Photo Courtesy: Tripura Chakma Students' Council

Jummas under supervision of Border Security Force (BSF) of India. Photo Courtesy: Tripura Chakma Students' Council

Thos who have even a little bit idea about Chittagong Hill Tracts, know that such kind of pre-planned attack on indigenous villages is nothing new. Human rights monitoring cell of UPDF (a political party of indigenous peoples of CHT), recorded 5 such communal attacks on indigenous peoples of Matiranga from January 2013 to August 3, 2013. Sachib Chakma, chief of the monitoring cell said that “Since January, Matiranga has seen five attacks by Bengali settlers, resulting in the death or injury of dozens of innocent Jumma people. Several hundred houses in fourteen villages have been burnt down during these deadly attacks, while the attackers resorted to widespread looting.”

 The security forces claimed that due to their rapid intervention, the Bengali miscreants could not carry out much damage. However, while speaking to members of chtnewsupdate team, Jumma victims confirmed that when Bengali settlers were attacking their villages, members of BGB (Border Guard of Bangladesh) were right behind them. They blamed the attack was led by BGB members.

In the meantime, on August 5, 2013, The American Jumma Council (AJC) staged a protest demonstration of the attack in front of UN headquarter in New York.

AJC protests infront of UN. Courtesy: AJC

-chtnewsupdate team

1 comment:

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