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Friday, February 21, 2014

CHT Commission condemns killing of indigenous woman in Khagrachari

The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) condemned killing of an indigenous woman in Khagrachari on February 15. The Commission called upon the Government to afford justice to the victim and her family by ensuring exemplary punishment to those guilty. Expressing grave concern over continued impunity in cases of violence against indigenous women in CHT, the Commission called upon the Government to undertake immediate and effective measures to stop such violation of basic rights of the indigenous people including right to life.

Following is the press statement from the Commission:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Indigenous Chakma woman allegedly murdered after gang rape in Khagrachari

Indigenous Chakma woman allegedly murdered after gang rape in Khagrachari


On 15 February 2014,an indigenous Chakma woman named Sabita Chakma (30) was allegedly murdered after gang rape by a group of Bengali settlers at Chengi chor area of Kamalchari union under Khagrachari sadar upazila in Khgagrahari district. 

It is learnt that, as a daily routine, Sabita went out to nearby Chengi River to collect food for their cattle in the morning on the incident day. Her neighbours saw her in meadow while she was collecting grass before12:00 noon. Sabita’s neighbours including her husband went back home for a lunch break. In the mean time, Sabita’s husband was worried when she was not coming back home even after lunch time. He along with the villagers started searching her and later at around5.30 pm, the villagers spotted the naked, dead body of Sabita Chakma in a crop field nearby Chengi Chor. The police of Khagrachari sadar and military of Bhuachari camp jointly rescued the dead body from the spot of incident.

It is also learnt that, some Bengali labourers were loading up a truck with sand near the crop field at the time when the victim was last seen alive. The villagers alleged that these Bengali labourers killed Sabita Chakma after raping her one after another, because Sabita’s belongings were found near by the truck. After killing her, culprits dragged the dead body roughly 10/12 yards away from the spot. The Bengali settlers also snatched the gold chain from Sabita’s neck.

Police took the dead body to Khagrachari sadar hospital in the evening of the day for autopsy. Sabita’s husband filed a case in this connection with Khagrachari police station against truck driver named Md. Nizam. Besides, the labourers who engaged in extracting sand during the incidents were identified as-

(1)Md. Razzak, resident of Bhuachari cluster village (however staying at Ganja Para)

(2)Ziaul Haque, resident of Bhuachari cluster village

(3)Md. Anowar, resident of Bhuachari cluster village

(4)Mr. Lasu Marma, resident of Ganja Para.

Police could not arrest anyone yet. Indigenous peoples organisations organised protest in Khagrachari, Rangamati, Chittagong and Dhaka and demanded to arrest the culprits and to provide examplary punishment to them, to provide adequate compensation to the victim’s family, to rehabilitate Bengali settlers outside CHT with dignity and to implement CHT Accord in order to ensure security of indigenous women in CHT.

It is important to mention here that this type of sexual violence on the women of Kamalchari union is not an isolated incident. Another indigenous housewife was hacked to death after rape on 1 October 2011 in this area.

Rape and other kinds of sexual abuse against indigenous girls have continued in Chittagong Hill Tracts region regularly, since the Bengali settlers were illegally settled in the indigenous inhabited area.

Few months ago, On 11th September 2013, an 11year old indigenous Chakma girl was raped by a Bengali settler named Md. Johir (45) son of Abdul Aziz at Rangi Para of Bogachodor union under Longadu upazila in Rangamati district.

It is learnt that the victim had been suffering from an epileptic seizure since her childhood. Her parents took the victim 5 days ago for her better treatment to their neighbour Md. Johir when they came to know he is an expert on epilepsy related disease. On incident’s day, Md. Johir took her away alone in nearby banana garden in the name of magical therapies as well as religious healing to ward off evil spirits and appease deities from her body. The culprit Md. Jahir raped the indigenous girl there.

The girl reported her mother after coming back that she was forcibly raped by perpetrators Md. Johir. When the news flashed in public, the Bogachadar UP member of Ward No. 1 Md. Dewan Mansur Ahmed Chowdhury tried to minimize the problem secretly creating pressure on victim’s parents and indigenous communities. On 12 September, a local arbitration was arranged by said UP member to settle the case internally by fining the culprit taka 60,000 as a compensation of the rape. According to the decision of local arbitration the culprit would pay the amount of compensation by 15th September. In the mean time, police from Longadu police station received news of this incident and visited the incident area for the investigation on it further.  

The victim’s father Potya Kumar Chakma filed a case with Longadu police station, but police could not arrest the culprit yet. The victim was admitted with Rangamati hospital for her better treatment.  The Magistrate of Rangamati sadar recorded a statement of victim under Section 164 in the mean time with a Chakma male interpreter while victim’s parents were not allowed to stay inside during the statement.

Also, on 10 August 2013, a 13-year old indigenous Chakma girl from Chadarachara village of Ward No. 5 under Atarokchara union of Longadu upazila in Rangamati district was believed to be abducted by a Bengali Settler Md. Kamal (30) of Ward No. 4 under the same union. The victim was a student of grade five of Bhangamura Model Government Primary School.

It is learnt that Md Kamal was a fisherman. Few days ago of the abducting day, he started staying at Pravat Chakma’s home for 3 days with the purpose of fishing. After leaving the host’s home, on mobile phone, Md. Kamal invited to girl’s parents to visit his house on the occasion of Eid. Mr. Pravat answered with an innocent mind that he and his wife will not be available at home for next 3-4 days for an important family program. The villagers believed that by that time Kamal might abduct the girl when he became confirmed that girl’s parent left home for few days already. It is noteworthy that there were no proper windows fixed up in Pravat Chakma’s house due to lack of money. As a result, abduction of the girl forcibly from such this poor house structure was a bit easy for him. Soon after abduction, the victim’s father Pravat Chakma filed a General Diary (GD) (GD no. 434) with Longadu police station on 14/08/2013. Police could not take any action to rescue the girl yet, and no one is arrested as well.


Kapaeeng Foundation

(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)



CHT Commission expresses concern over breach of promise, and failure to implement CHT Accord

CHTC expresses concern over breach of promise, and failure to implement CHT Accord


CHT Commission calls to the PM to pass the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission (Amendment) Act 2013

CHT Commission calls to the PM to pass the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission (Amendment) Act 2013


Initiative to set up BGB battalion headquarters on 30 acres of lands evicting 50 families of indigenous villagers in Dighinala

Initiative to set up BGB battalion headquarters on 30 acres of lands evicting 50 families of indigenous villagers in Dighinala

Recently the Khagrachari district administration has taken initiatives to acquire 31.63 acres of lands belonging to indigenous villagers of three villages namely Santosh Kumar Karbari Para, Gobinda Karbari Para and Notu Chandra Karbari Para of Dighinala union under Dighinala upazila in Khagrachari district for establishment of battalion headquarters of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

It is learnt that, in 2002 the Home Ministry ordered the district administration to acquire land for BGB headquarter in order to strengthen security of the Bangladesh–India border of Baghaihat of Baghaichari upazila of Rangamati district and Naraichari of Dighinala upazila of Khagrachari district. The local indigenous villagers fear that at least 50 indigenous families will be evicted from their ancestral land if the scheme is implemented.

On the contrary, the local administration claimed that there are only 2.20 acres of recorded land in the name of one Ramani Mohan Chakma and another one late Birsen Chakma amid 29.81 acres of land under acquisition. The remaining 27.61 acres of land are khas land of the government.

But the indigenous villagers informed that there are recorded land of at least 15 persons and 0.30 acres of land in the name of each 58 persons given settlement by the local headman. Furthermore, there are also 2.00 acres of land recorded in the name of Baghaichari Government Primary School.

The president of school governing committee Mr. Debotoru Chakma informed that there is a helipad, an Ansar camp and an army camp on 5.20 acres of land in the identified area. The helipad was established on 2.00 acres of recoded land of one Bajaram Chakma, the army camp was constructed on the 2.20 acres recoded of land of one late Lalit Mohan Chakma and the Ansar camp was set up on 1.00 acre of recorded land of one Manoranjan Chakma.

The headman of Dighinala mouza Mr. Prantor Chakma said that the intension of government is to occupy the indigenous peoples’ land in the name of construction of army camp or BGB camp. He said that the construction of BGB camp means strengthening the settlement of Bengali settlers at the area.

It is learnt that in 1989 during the critical political situation of Chittagong Hill Tracts, the local indigenous people of the area took refuge in the neighboring country India for safety. At that time, an army zone was established at the area. They returned to the homeland in 1998 after signing the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord, but failed to return to their homesteads. After that, they filed a writ petition in 2005 to get back their homesteads.

The Karbari of Sontosh Kumar Karbari Para Mr. Sontosh Kumar Chakma said that in 2005 total 11 persons including him filed a writ petition in High Court to get back their land which was incorporated in the extended area of the army camp. But they have not received any notice yet from the High Court. They have become astonished and helpless when the initiative to establish BGB headquarters has been taken in the meantime. One of the writ petitioners Mr. Ram Chandra Chakma said that there are total 14.20 acres of recorded land of 11 persons including him. As they have not received any notice or decision from High Court even after 8 years, finally they have started to build their homes on that land, but the army authority always obstructed them. At last, on 23 September 2013 a scuffle took place between the indigenous villagers and army due to the obstruction of the soldiers again when the indigenous peoples tried to erect houses on their land.

On 24 September 2013 Democratic Youth Forum, PCP and Hill Women’s Federation, the branches of United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF) organized a protest rally and gathering on 24 September at Dighinala and on 25 September at Khagrachari town against the clash and land grabbing. The secretary of information and publicity department of PCJSS, Mr. Mangal Kumar Chakma, in his reaction said that, construction of BGB camp through evicting public habitation will not be acceptable to anyone. He said, PCJSS would not accept it if the common people are affected.

Regarding the clash of 23 September 2013, Major Moin of Dighinala army zone said that there was no scuffle with anyone of them on that day. Rather, the tribal people were approaching toward them with sharp weaponries. He further added that official initiative is yet to be started to set up camp on this location. However, the government would acquire land through paying reasonable compensations and government can acquire any land as per requirement through paying compensations and any one has to comply with it, he said.  

Regarding the setting up of headquarters, Commander of the 51 BGB Lt. Colonel Azad said that district administration was ordered by Home Ministry to manage the land acquirement. They would start construction of BGB battalion headquarters soon after completion of the land acquisition.

The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Khagrachari district Mr. Masud Karim said that the acquisition process is at the final stage. The land would be acquired except the lands of 10 cases of writ petition in the High Court. When asked whether the matter was discussed with the Hill District Council, the DC said, the land would be acquired through accomplishing all legal procedures.

On the other hand, the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord (clause 26b) states, "Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, no land, hill or forest under the controlled and within the jurisdiction of the Council shall be acquired or transferred by the Government without consultation with or the consent of the Council".

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

Government pre-empts ‘adivasi’ bill

Government pre-empts ‘adivasi’ bill
Kamran Reza Chowdhury

It has reportedly requested the speaker not to allow any such legal proposal

- See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/law-amp-rights/2013/sep/23/government-pre-empts-%E2%80%98adivasi%E2%80%99-bill#sthash.MgQebybD.dpuf

 Government pre-empts ‘adivasi’ bill 

Kamran Reza Chowdhury

Kamran Reza ChowdhIt has reportedly requested the speaker not to allow any such legal proposal

The government has pre-empted an attempt to initiate a legislative proposal of a parliamentary caucus through a private member’s bill styled Adivasi Rights Bill 2013 in the current session


Workers Party chief Rashed Khan Menon is likely to place the bill in parliament for recognition of the country’s ethnic minorities as “adivasi” and protection of their rights.

However, before Menon could submit the bill to Parliament Secretariat for initiation in the house, the government has reportedly requested Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury not to allow any such legal proposal in the House.

The National Coalition for Indigenous Peoples has been providing secretarial support for the Parliamentary Caucus on Adivasi comprising 24 MPs of the ruling coalition. The caucus had 10 meetings with different stakeholders to get “adivasi” recognition to the ethnic minorities living the Chittagong Hill Tracts and other parts of the country.

The foreign ministry, which has been dealing with the issue of ethnic minorities at the UN and other forums, fears the initiation of the bill will strengthen the demand of the “tribal” people for their state recognition as adivasis.

It further says the recognition inline with the International Labour Organisation convention on indigenous people’s rights will encourage the ethnic minorities to claim rights on the resources on some specific territories.

The ministry warns that such demands may put Bangladesh’s sovereignty to question.

On July 28, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Islam chaired an inter-ministry meeting that decided to “guarantee” that such bill was not tabled in parliament and to communicate the matter to the speaker who was authorised to decide tabling of any bill in the House.

“The movers will make it [the recognition of the ethnic minorities as adivasis] a political issue if the bill is tabled as a private member’s bill,” said a foreign ministry working paper.

In parliamentary practices, all MPs, other than the ministers, are considered as private members, and they can prepare bills on any issue and place it in parliament with the speaker’s permission.

Any such bill goes to the parliamentary standing committee on private members’ bills and resolutions for scrutiny. If the committee recommends, the assembly discusses the bill to decide whether to go through it.

In parliamentary practices, the movers of such bills either withdraw their proposal or the House rejects the same by voice vote in case of the initiators’ reluctance.

The current parliament passed one such bill the leper (repeal) act moved by Awami League MP Saber Hossain Chowdhury.

Discussion on these bills in the assembly is considered as a pressure on the government. Governments in developing countries discourage private members’ bills.

On September 18, the foreign ministry requested the members of the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry to request the speaker to block Menon’s bill, saying it was “not consistent” with the country’s constitution.

Foreign Secretary Shahidul Islam confirmed the communication.

Article 23 (a) of the constitution recognises tribal people as “small ethnic groups,” not as adivasis.

“I do not see any justification of forming the caucus on this issue as there is no adivasi in Bangladesh according to the definition of the ILO convention,” Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.

According to the ILO definition, there must be conquer or colonisation of such people for getting recognition as adivasis, he said. “Such things never happened in Bangladesh.”

Menon told the Dhaka Tribune that he did not agree with what the government was doing regarding the status of the ethnic minority groups.


source: Dhaka Tribune
The government has pre-empted an attempt to initiate a legislative proposal of a parliamentary caucus through a private member’s bill styled Adivasi Rights Bill 2013 in the current session. - See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/law-amp-rights/2013/sep/23/government-pre-empts-%E2%80%98adivasi%E2%80%99-bill#sthash.MgQebybD.dpuf
The government has pre-empted an attempt to initiate a legislative proposal of a parliamentary caucus through a private member’s bill styled Adivasi Rights Bill 2013 in the current session. - See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/law-amp-rights/2013/sep/23/government-pre-empts-%E2%80%98adivasi%E2%80%99-bill#sthash.MgQebybD.dpuf

33 indigenous Marma families facing threat to eviction by land grabber in Rowangchari under Bandarban district

33 indigenous Marma families facing threat to eviction by land grabber in Rowangchari under Bandarban district

A total of 33 families of indigenous Marma community are facing threat to eviction in connection of land grabbing in Fakkhyong Para under Taracha Mouza in Rowangchari upazila of Bandarban district.

It is reported that the 33 Marma families have been living in Fakkhyong Para for generations. Three acres of land of this village with a holding number 56 was recorded in the name of village head (called as karbari) Mr. Chaithowai U Mog in 1929. However, recently, a Bengali settler named Md. Samad Ali demanding in public that the two-third of this land is belongs to him.

It is learnt that in 1985, Md. Samad Ali registered two acres of land of this village into his name secretly with a holding number 345 with the help of local administration in Bandarban. He is now giving pressure to the villagers to vacate the land soon. The villagers are now under force to eviction.

It is mentionable that the land grabber Md. Samad Ali came to this village from a plain district in the time of 1982-83. He looked for a shelter from local indigenous people. The villagers were so kind to provide him a land for his livelihood. But he became a disloyal to the community people by grabbing their lands furtively. At any moment, 33 families of Fakkhyong Para are passing days with threat to eviction. The miscreants of land grabber have continuously been harassing them with the aim to uproot them from their village and to occupy their ancestral land and homestead.

On 24 June 2013 the indigenous Marma villagers submitted an application to the Deputy Commissioner of Bandarban district to cancel the registration of land grabber informing the real situation with recommendations of local Member Parliament (MP) Mr. Bir Bahadur, Upazila Parishad Chairman, Mouza Headman and Union Parishad Chairman. The land grabbing issue has been also published in local newspaper of Bandarban district.

33 Marma families of Fakkyong Para who are facing threat to eviction are as follows:
  1. Re Aung Karbari s/o late Sagya U Marma;
  2. Chathowai Prue Marma s/o late Thui Aung Prue Marma;
  3. Toung Lungya Marma s/o late Chai Thowai U Marma;
  4. Mongchohri Marma s/o late Mongtu Marma;
  5. Sauching Marma s/o late Neosakhoi Marma;
  6. Prue Saching Marma s/o late Neosakhoi Marma;
  7. Outhui Marma s/o Sauching Marma;
  8. Unue Mong Marma s/o Sauching Marma;
  9. Kyaching Nue Marma s/o Sauching Marma;
  10. Kyaching Mong Marma s/o late Mong Sagya Marma;
  11. Redase Marma s/o Chathowai U Marma;
  12. Monghla Ching Marma s/o Toung Lungya Marma;
  13. Mong Ching Marma s/o late Kya U Ching Marma;
  14. Kya Mong U Marma s/o late Thowai Mong Marma;
  15. Sai Mong U Marma s/o late Methowai Marma;
  16. Mong Mong Ching Marma s/o Nue Myamong Marma;
  17. Alung Marma s/o late Shwekya Mong Marma;
  18. Mong Nue Prue Marma s/o Naji Rang Marma;
  19. Mong Kyew U Marma s/o Mongchorhi Marma;
  20. Thui Bue Marma s/o late Paihla Aung Marma;
  21. Mongkya Ching Marma s/o Chathowai Prue Marma;
  22. Khyaboma Marma w/o late Mong Sagya Marma;
  23. Pui Sang U Marma w/o late Mongsa Thowai Marma;
  24. Mongdo Marma s/o late Mong Sanu Marma;
  25. Mong Ching Nue Marma s/o Chodong Mong Marma;
  26. Mirhi Marma s/o late Mong Sagya Marma;
  27. Pai Nue Mong Marma s/o Moktho Marma;
  28. Ahla Marma w/o Sau Ching Marma;
  29. Kay Thui Prue Marma s/o Ukya Ching Marma;
  30. Mong Saching Marma s/o Toung Lungya Marma;
  31. Uchahla Marma s/o Hlacho Marma;
  32. Ubasing Marma s/o Chothowai Prue Marma;
  33. Mongsa Prue Marma s/o Toung Lungya Marma.
Kapaeeng Foundation
(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Fire of hatred in Taindong

Following is the investigation report from Hill Watch Human Rights Forum (HWHRF), on the attack on Jumma villages in Taindong under Matiranga Upazila, Khagrachari district by Bengali settlers on 3 August 2013: