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Sunday, April 29, 2012

An indigenous woman allegedly assaulted, raped and looted by Bengali settlers in Longadu

On 28 April 2012 at about 3:30 pm an indigenous woman named Ms. Alpana Chakma alias Kalabi (45) wife of Kaladhan Chakma of village- Jarulchara of Gulshakhali union under Longadu upazila in Rangamati district was allegedly assaulted, looted and raped by Bengali settlers. The victim was seriously wounded and admitted to Rabeta hospital in Longadu upazila with senseless condition.
It is learnt that on this day at about 3:15 pm victim Alpana Chakma left home for nearby Gulshakhali Bazaar area of Gulshakhali union. At around 3:30 pm when she reached the Jarulchara area, half of the way to Gulshakhali bazaar, two Bengali settlers halted her. Immediately after that the Bengali settlers began to assault her with sharp metal weapons. In the assault, she was deeply wounded on the left side of her head, seriously hit all around the body. Besides, the Bengali settlers also looted golden necklace, nose-ring, cash taka 5300 from her.
At a stage of assault, hearing the shouting of the victim, Jumma villagers from nearby area namely Bidhan Bikash Chakma, Alo Bikash Chakma, Dipta Chakma and Sonayan Chakma rushed to the spot and found the woman screaming lying on the ground. Then they rapidly took her to Rabeta hospital of Longadu upazila headquarter. At that time, the victim became senseless and was admitted to Rabeta hospital. The victim confirmed the rescuers that the she was raped by the culprits.
It is also mentionable that as per the rescuers the victim could identify one of the culprits who belongs to Bengali settlers of Gulshakhali Choumuhani settler area.
It is learnt that in the evening, vice chairman of Longadu upazila parishad Mr. Janey Alam, chairman of Atarakchara union Mr. Mangal Kanti Chakma, Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Longadu police station Rejaul Haque, among others, visited the victim at hospital.
Till preparing the report, none was arrested by police and a case filing was under process in this connection.
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, the following two massive attacks, among others, are most remarkable-
On 17 February 2011 Bengali settlers in collaboration with Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) (formerly BDR) made a massive communal attack on Jumma villages of Gulshakhali and Rangi Para areas. At least 23 houses of Jumma villagers including one BRAC school and 3 tobacco ovens were reportedly burnt to ashes in the attack while two Jumma students were seriously injured. Huge valuables were looted by Bengali settlers before setting fire on the houses.
Earlier, 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.

Kapaeeng Foundation
(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Violence against indigenous Jumma women by Bengali settlers continues in CHT

Violence against indigenous Jumma women, such as, rape, killing and kidnapping etc. are being reported regularly in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). The biggest concern in rape and other violence against indigenous women in CHT is the lack of access to justice and absolute impunity that perpetrators enjoy. From January 2007 to February 2012, at least 51 incidents of violence against indigenous women in CHT were reported. In these incidents, 66 indigenous women were victimized. Of them, 6 Jumma women were reportedly killed after rape in addition to 31 women were raped. Besides, 24 Jumma women were attempted to rape and 5 women were abducted. Recent violence against indigenous Jumma women is as follows:
Indigenous Tripura woman with speech disability raped by Bengali settlers in Matiranga
On 25 April 2012 a 40-year old indigenous Tripura woman with speech disability was raped by two Bengali settlers at Kiran Master Para of Bamagumti mouza under Matiranga upazila in Khagrachari district.
It is learnt that the victim from Babu Para of Matiranga upazila headquarters went to the house of her uncle Kiran Tripura, a teacher of Apurna Mahajan Para Registered Primary school under Bamagumti mouza. On that day, Kiran Tripura and his family were away to attend his father-in-law’s funeral in another village.
Two Bengali settlers namely Oli Ahmed alias Olia (38) son of Abdul Matin and Zinnat Ali (35) son of Abdul Aziz, both of them from West Gorgoria Chouddhagram of Bama Gomati mouza had gone to the house of Kiron Tripura and finding victim alone, dragged her forcibly to nearest jungle and raped her there. Victim’s father Tirtho Kumar Tripura is a poor jum cultivator.
No case was filed with the police so far. However, it is learnt that the Bengali settlers are trying hard to settle the issue through mediation.
Indigenous Jumma girl raped by a Bengali settler in Manikchari
On 14 April 2012 a 15-year indigenous Tripura girl of Adabari village of Jogyachala union under Manikchari upazila in Khagrachari district was raped by a Bengali settler at a hotel in Matiranga upazila.
It is learnt that the victim has an acquaintance with a Bengali youth from Chittagong who introduced his name as Durjoy and as follower of Hinduism and worker of garment factory. At a stage, on 14 April Mr. Durjoy proposed victim to go Chittagong for finding out a job at garment factory. While the victim agreed, on 14 April Mr. Durjoy first took her to Matiranga upazila headquarters and kept her at a hotel for a night and forcibly raped her there. Next day, they left Matiranga for Chittagong town, but Mr. Durjoy fled leaving victim alone when they reached at Hathazari area under Chittagong district. As victim had no penny, she sold her earring for bus fare and returned on that day.
It is learnt that arbitration was held at Adabari village, but the victim could not able to give any information about Bengali youth.
Indigenous Marma girl kidnapped by Bengali settler in Kaukhali
On 17 April 2012 a 14-year old indigenous Marma girl was reportedly kidnapped by a Bengali settler from Kaukhali upazila in Rangamati district.
It is learnt that on that day the victim went to Betbunia under Kaukhali upazila to enjoy Sangrai water festival. During her way back home from Betbunia, a Bengali youth named Md. Sohel alias Solaiman (25) kidnapped the victim. Soon after abduction, victim’s uncle Mr. Suila Mong Marma, a professional football player in Dhaka, informed local administration. Md. Motaleb, a member of ward no. 1 of Ghagra union under Kaukhali upazila, assured victim’s uncle to find out the victim and perpetrator. At a stage, they seized the victim along with Md. Sohel alias Solaiman (25) from Maizdi area of Noakhali district on 20 April 2012 and handed over them to Kaukhali police station on 21 April.
The victim’s uncle Mr. Suila Mong Marma filed a case against Md. Sohel alias Solaiman with Kaukhali police station under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2001.
It is learnt that the victim lived with her uncle Mr. Suila Mong Marma at Kaukhali upazila headquarters and is daughter of Ushaila Marma of Bortali village under Kalampati union in Kaukhali upazila.

Kapaeeng Foundation
(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Land grabbing by ruling Awami League leader alleged in Bandarban

THERE have been allegations of land grabbing in Faitong Mouza under Lama Upazila in Bangdarban against the organizing secretary of Awami League’s Aziz Nagar Union unit, Samakal, a Bengali national daily reported on Friday.

The members of Tripura community from two villages on Thursday formed human chain at the occupied land to protest the land grabbing.

The villagers alleged that the hired goons of this AL leader had destroyed 2,000 banana trees, 200 mango and jackfruit trees, 1,500 teak trees and about 5,000 saplings of various kinds of trees belonging to an indigenous villager in the captured land.

They cut the trees first and then burnt them to ashes so that no trace of physical possession of the owner remained.

At the human chain villagers from Rangchung Para and Bongo Para alleged that Selim Rahman, organizing secretary of Aziz Nagor AL, and his elder brother Saidur Rahman had been attempting to capture that piece of land for a long time.

On Saturday, Selim Rahman brought in 30-40 terrorists and began cutting down the fruit trees belonging to Probhat Tripura.

They cut about 5,000 trees in three days from Saturday to Monday.

When the owner of the land and his fellow villagers protested, the terrorists chased them away brandishing home-made guns.

Probhat Tripura and his wife Hassati Tripura said they had planted teak and various kinds of fruit trees including banana, mango, wood-apple, litchi, guava and orange on 10 acres of land in the last 10 years.

This fruit garden was their only source of income, they added.

Saja Chandra Tripura, the village chief of Rangchung Para, and Naziram Tripura, the village chief of Bongo Para, said ‘The land grabbers are influential people because they are Awami League leaders. The residents of Tripura villages are helpless victims to the power of their families.’

When contacted, AL leader Selim Rahman said that the land in question belonged to his father Motiar Rahman; and that it was not captured by force or by using influence.

On the question of tree-cutting, he said the fruit trees had been cut down to make way for rubber plantation.

source: chtnews.com

Meeting on amendment of CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act held at Land Ministry

Following the decision of CHT Accord Implementation Committee on amendment of CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2011, Land Ministry convened a meeting on review of amendment proposal of said Act on 28 March 2012 with land minister Rezaul Karim Heera in the chair.
Member of CHT Regional Council Mr. Goutam Kumar Chakma and K S Mong Marma attended the meeting. Besides, officials from Land Ministry, CHT Affairs Ministry and Law Ministry were also present in the meeting.
Out of 13 amendment proposals to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Act 2001 finalised by CHT Affairs Ministry and CHT Regional Council, 10 proposals were unanimously adopted in the meeting for amendment. But other 3 amendment proposals remain unresolved. It was decided regarding those three proposals to send again to CHT Accord Implementation Committee for taking further clarification or opinion of the committee. In addition, the meeting also proposed to invite land minister, state minister for land and state minister for CHT affairs to the meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation Committee to finalise the unresolved 3 amendment proposals. The present text in the 2001 Act and recommendation for amendment of 3 undecided proposals are as follows:
The present text of Section 6(1)(a) in the 2001 Act is “To settle the land related dispute of the rehabilitated refugees in accordance with the existing laws and customs in the Chittagong Hill Tracts”. Proposal was taken to replace it with “In addition to quick settlement of the disputes of lands of the rehabilitated tribal refugees to settle, all disputes of lands, which have been illegally given in settlement and occupied in accordance with the existing laws, customs and usages of Chittagong Hill Tracts”.
The present text of Section 6(1)(c) in the 2001 Act is “Any land has been given in settlement in violation of the existing laws of CHT, shall be cancelled and if any lawful owner has been illegally occupied on account of such settlement shall be restored: Provided that, this sub-section shall not be applicable in case of Reserved Forests, Kaptai Hydroelectricity Project area, Betbunia Earth Satellite Station, state-owned industries and land recorded with the Government or local authorities”. Proposal was taken to replace it with “To replace Section 6(1)(c) with: “Any land has been given in settlement in violation of the existing laws, custom and usages of CHT, shall be cancelled and if any lawful owner has been illegally occupied on account of such settlement shall be restored:” and to omit “Provided that, this sub-section shall not be applicable in case of Reserved Forests, Kaptai Hydroelectricity Project area, Betbunia Earth Satellite Station, state-owned industries and land recorded with the Government or local authorities.”
Proposal was also made to add a new section stipulating that “Section 21: Inclusion of Functions of the Land Commission into CHT Affairs Ministry and it will be enforced soon after enactment of this law”.
It is mentionable that on 12 July 2001, just the day before the handing over charge to the Caretaker Government, the previous Awami League government (1996-2001) hurriedly passed the “CHT Land Disputes Resolution Commission Act 2001” in the parliament without taking into account the advice and recommendations given by the CHTRC. As a result, so many provisions crept into the Act which were contradictory to the CHT Accord and detrimental to the interest of the Jumma people.
With the grand alliance forming a new government in January 2009, the CHTRC again sent the recommendation to the government on 7 May 2009 for consideration. Accordingly several meetings on amendment of CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act were held during the period of present government. But amendment of the Act is yet to be achieved.
Finally, on 20 June 2011 CHT Affairs Ministry sent final version of 13-point amendment proposals of the Act to Land Ministry for taking necessary initiative to place Cabinet and Parliament for final adoption.
However, as Shakti Pada Tripura, organising secretary of PCJSS said, instead of taking necessary action for adoption of this Act in the Cabinet and Parliament, Land Ministry is killing time by convening review meeting on amendment proposals finalised by CHT affairs ministry and CHT Regional Council or sending the proposals to the CHT Accord Implementation Committee for final decision.

source: PCJSS

An indigenous adolescent killed allegedly by forest guards in Kaptai

On 7 April 2012 an indigenous adolescent named Ula Mong Marma (14) son of Thui Mra Chai Marma of village- Aga Para of Chitmorom union under Kaptai upazila of Rangamati Hill District was allegedly killed by hitting on the head by forest guards of Karnophuli forest range of forest department.
Dr. Mong Kyaw Ching Marma, acting Residential Medical Officer (RMO) of Rangamati General Hospital said that Ula Mong Marma had died due to hit on his head. Blood was shedding through his nose and mouth (10 April 2012, daily Prothom Alo).
Local sources said that on that day at noon Ula Mong Marma with his three friends went to nearby reserved forest under Karnophuli reserved forest to collect fire wood for domestic use. At about 3.00 pm a group of forest guards of forest department chased Ula Mong and his friends. Though the friends of deceased could narrowly escape, but Ula Mong was caught by the forest guards. As Ula Mong did not return home till evening, his friends informed to chairman of Chitmorom union Mr. Thowai Ching Marma about the matter. After that, though he was searched in the forest at night by the local people, but they failed to trace out the victim. The next day on 8 April 2012 at about 9:00 am the local people recovered dead body of Ula Mong covered with bush and leafs at that reserved forest.
Being informed Chairman Thoai Ching Marma visited the spot and then, he and villagers informed the local police. Later, police recovered the dead body.
Karnophuli range officer Mamunur Rashid declined to involve any forest staff with this incident. However, local villagers confirmed that a group of forest guards led by beat officer Md. Abdul Rahman was patrolling at that area of the reserved forest on that day.
It is learnt that on 10 April 2012 a case was filed with the Chandraghona police station in this connection. But till preparing the report, none was arrested.
It is worth mentioning that several unlawful killings were committed allegedly by the forest department staff at Karnaphuli reserved forest area. For instances-
On 13 September 2005 an innocent villager named Mr. Uching Nue Marma (22) s/o Mong Chinghla Marma was shot dead by the forest guards led by Md. Saidur Rahman, Assistant Forest Conservator and Mr. Habibur Rahman of Karnaphuli forest post. The victim was caught by the forest guards while he entered the jungle for finding out his cows. He was first tortured and then shot death by the forest guards. The forest guards ran away when the villagers rushed in the jungle hearing firing. The dead body of the victim was found on next day in the jungle (14 September). The victim’s father Mr. Mong Chinghla Marma lodged case in connection with the killing against 6 forest staff with Kaptai police station. Though Mr. Mong Chinghla Marma filed case, but he himself is a forest guard of the forest department. That is why, for the sake of his job, he came up in a compromise with his boss and colleagues.
On 30 January 2000 the DFO of the South Forest Division and the Forster of Faruya Forest Office along with armed Forest Guards destroyed dozens of Jumma's houses in Faruya area under Belaichari upazila in Rangamati district. They fired upon the village Karbari's (village head) house. As a result, dozens of families have become homeless and uprooted from their ancestral homesteads.
On 7 March 2000 one innocent Jumma named Hriday Tanchangya of Kaptai upazila under Rangamati district while cutting Jum in his lands received bullet injury in his leg from the gun firing of the forest guard led by DFO (South Division) Mr. Tapan Kanti Dey.
On 26 January 2000 the DFO (Divisional Forest Officer) arrested two Jumma villagers from Bengchari area of Kaptai upazila falsely alleging for cutting of forest product. They were severely beaten up by the forest guards and handed over to the Kaptai police station. The allegation was fully baseless. The victims were identified as Mr. Gangjak Marma (40) s/o Yongto Marma and Mr. Thowang Ching Marma (45) s/o Mong Sa Marma.
On 18 January 1999 the two innocent Jummas were shot dead near Chowdhurychara forest post of Karnophuli range under Kaptai upazila in Rangamati district by a group of forest guard led by the Assistant Conservator of Forest Mr. Mamunur Rashid and Divisional Forest Officer Mr. Tapan Kanti Dey and forest guard Mr. Mamunur. The dead bodies were not handed over to their relatives. The victims were identified as Mr. Pening Mong Marma (27) of Bajjya Tali under Kaptai upazila and Mr. Mong Prue Marma of village Bajjya Tali under Kaptai upazila.
Kapaeeng Foundation
(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Memorandum on the state of Peace Accord of CHTs Region 1997, Bangladesh

Following is the memorandum on the state of "CHT Peace Accord of 1997", sent by CAJPA to U.S Ambassador to Bangladesh

April 6, 2012

 Honorable Dan W. Mozena
 United States Ambassador to Bangladesh
Embassy of the United States, Dhaka
Madani Avenue, Baridhara
Dhaka – 1212, Bangladesh

 Subject: Memorandum on the state of Peace Accord of CHTs Region 1997, Bangladesh

Dear Hon. Dan W. Mozena,

 We are highly delighted and grateful to you for your recent visit to our ancestral land –the land of Indigenous people known as Jumma of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) Region of Bangladesh. We are also highly impressed on your precise and justified remarks on the state of Peace Accord of CHTs Region 1997 urging fulfillment of the Pact.

One and a half decade passed this Peace Accord was signed by the same Political Party with the same renowned Honorable Lady in power, not only as the Head of the Party but also as the Head of the Government - the Prime Minister.

The Party of Indigenous People of CHTs signed this Peace Accord with a good faith and high expectation of peaceful existence in this region preserving our identity, culture, traditions, society, and above all the individual and collective Land Rights where Indigenous peoples have been living for a lot of centuries according to available historical evidence.

In 1777, this Region was invaded by the British East India Company followed by direct British administrative control in 1860.

Considering the specific identity, culture, and social traditions of the people of this region from the then Bengal, the British Ruler of that colonial time declared the CHTs Region as EXCLUDED AREA on January 6, 1900. For the safeguard of the rational existence and entity of the ethnic peoples, the then British Government strictly followed the provisions of Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation 1, 1900 where non-ethnic peoples could not get settlement in this region according to one of the clauses to conserve the individual and collective Land Rights.

Most of the populous, developed and habitable land including fertile agricultural field of CHTs region went under water due to Kaptai Dam in 1960s driving away the Jumma population from their ancestral land where they were living for centuries together.

Again the rest of the land is being under mass grabbing through influx of Bangalee settlers from plane land under the sponsorship of the Government directly and indirectly since mid 70’s. Because of such settlement and deadly atrocities from time to time, Indigenous peoples are losing their lands, property, dwelling houses, sanctity and life. Even these Jumma people had to become refugees in India several times to save their life from such violent incidents.

Moreover, lands are being taken away continuously from the grip of indigenous people in the name of building camps for Army, BDR, Armed Police Battalion, Police, offices for government agencies, and various projects for NGOs and private companies letting more indigenous families to become destitute incessantly.

Where there was only 2.5 percent non-indigenous population in whole CHTs region in late 40’s during independence period of Indian sub-continent from British rule, now it stands up to 50 percent making the Indigenous population marginal in their own land with a portion living nearly in inhuman conditions.

 It was greatly expected that the grave situation that created severe problems and disparity in the life of indigenous peoples of this region would be solved with CHT Peace Accord signed by the Top Ministry in presence of the Prime Minister, Hon. Sheikh Hasina in 1997 who is also the Prime Minister at this time.

More than a decade passed, no light of hope is in sight yet rather going to be darker day by day.

 In these circumstances, your valuable and rightful remarks on CHTs Peace Accord might change the attitude of the Top Policy Makers and the Hon. Prime Minister of the Government of Bangladesh into humanitarian and lawful perspectives in order to execute the total implementation of the Peace Accord to bring peace, happiness and development in the region.
With high regards and best gratefulness,

Maung Thowai Nu Ching                                    Debashis Chakma
President                                                                             General Secretary

1st National Indigenous Women Conference held in Dhaka, Bangladesh

1st National Indigenous Women Conference held in Dhaka: Indigenous women form a network aiming at realising their rights through united movement
In the first ever National Indigenous Women Conference held in Dhaka, indigenous women leaders and representatives of indigenous women’s organisations formed a network naming Bangladesh Indigenous Women Network (BIWN) aiming at realising their rights through social, economic, political and cultural movements.
The two-day national conference was organised by Kapaeeng Foundation in cooperation with Oxfam at the CBCB centre in Dhaka on 31 March and 1 April 2012 with the slogan ‘Come forward to establish equal dignity and right of indigenous women and to ensure violence-free life for them’. A total of 23 indigenous women’s organisations across the country attended the conference while indigenous women rights activists, leaders of national mainstream women organisations and indigenous experts spoke in the conference and shared their experiences regarding the causes of the indigenous women in Bangladesh.
It is mentionable that more than 54 indigenous ethnic communities with a population of nearly three million have been living in the country for centuries. Indigenous women both in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and plain land face serious violation of human rights, sexual violence, insecurity, harassment, threats and so on in their daily life. Due to non-implementation of CHT Accord of 1997, no basic and noteworthy progress has been made for indigenous women’s participation in development processes, education and healthcare in CHT. The biggest concern in rape and other violence against indigenous women both in CHT and plain land is the lack of access to justice and absolute impunity that perpetrators enjoy.
The indigenous women’s organisations have been working at local level across the country aiming at realising their social, economic, political and cultural rights. With this backdrop, Kapaeeng Foundation, a national human rights organisation of indigenous peoples, organised the National Indigenous Women Conference in order to raise strong voice against discrimination on and violence against indigenous women at national level; to bring indigenous women activists to a common platform to fight against violence and discrimination and to develop network among indigenous women organisations and national mainstream women organisations.
A declaration on the causes of indigenous women was adopted in the concluding session of the national conference. The following recommendations approved at the declaration include-
  • leading united struggle against all kinds of oppression over the indigenous women in the country;
  • strengthening networking and solidarity among the indigenous women’s organisations, activists and organisers;
  • continuing movements to ensure the indigenous women’s participation and representation in society and the state;
  • continuning movements to establish equal dignity and right of indigenous women at state, society and family life;
  • stressing on the need for raising public awareness regarding indigenous women rights; and
  • spreading their networks at international level to communicate successfully with the international rights organisations.
Finally a committee for smooth functioning of BIWN was formed with Ms. Minu Mrong as convenor, Ms. Masanti Murmu, Ms. Flora Bably Talang and Ms. Chanchana Chakma as joint convenors and Ms. Nishi Dewan as member-secretary.
Kapaeeng Foundation
(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Jumma woman tortured in Manikchari

A Jumma woman was tortured on March 28, 2012 during a search operation by the
army in the village of South Sapchari under Manikchari Upazila in
Khagrachari district.

According to local sources, at 2:30pm a group of army personnel led by
Major Sadat of Sindukchari zone in two army vehicles raided the
village of South Sapchari and surrounded the house of Thoaichau Marma,

The soldiers searched the house but found nothing incriminating. They
also interrogated his daughter, Machiu Marma, 25, about “terrorists”
meaning members of the United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF).

“Do you know the terrorists? Where do they live? Do they often come to
your village?” such were the questions the soldiers put to her.

They also threatened her to subject her to “Banch Dholai”, a special
method of torture in which a person’s body is pressed and rolled
between two or more bamboo poles.

When she said she did not know anything about “terrorists” an army men
hit her on the forehead with a bamboo stick, wounding her seriously.

source: chtnews.com