[AITPN has Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)]
 
 

 

UA/BD/02/06

27 April 2006


Attacks on indigenous Jummas at Maischari, Chittagong Hill Tracts

 
 

On 3 April 2006, indigenous Jumma peoples of Saprue Karbari Para village and Noa Para village under Maischari Union of the Chittagong Hills Tracts of Bangladesh on were attacked by the illegal plain settlers who sought to forcibly occupy their lands. About 50 indigenous Jummas, out of which 11 were seriously injured. Two indigenous Jumma women were also raped. AITPN intervened with Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Special Rapporteur on violence against women and Special Rapporteur on adequate housing.

The perpetrators were illegal Bengali settlers from Nunchari and Joysen Karbari Para cluster villages. Since 1979, the government of Bangladesh had started population transfer of illegal plain settlers into the Chittagong Hill Tracts. These plain settlers have been forcibly grabbing the lands of the indigenous Jumma peoples.

AITPN members who visited the area, interviewed victims and relatives submitted the following information:

I. The violent attacks for grabbing the lands

 
 
On 2 April 2006, illegal plain settlers came and sought to plant jackfruit samplings at Bouddha Shishu Ghar (Buddhist Children Home), an orphanage run by a Buddhist monk, Rev. Sumanalankar Mahathero at Saprue Karbari Para village. When the indigenous Chakmas and Marma protested, illegal plain settlers went back. They returned next morning, fully backed by the Bangladeshi security forces. We would like to draw your kind attention to the fact that out of 8 acres of land belonging to Bouddha Shishu Ghar, 7 acres have already been grabbed by the settlers.
 
An illegal plain settler standing in front of his recently build house
 
 

In the morning of 3 April 2005, a group of Bengali settler women came to the courtyard of Mr Ripruchai Marma and began clearing land for the purpose of erecting house structures. Upon being resisted by Marma's wife Miashu Marma (35) and her daughters, the settler women retreated but only to come back shortly with their male members. Initially, about 20 Bengali settler males remained guard while their women numbering 20-25 attacked 6-7 indigenous Jumma women. The Bengali settler women beat up Marma's wife and his two daughters and later kidnapped both his daughters. When Miashu Marma tried to rescue her two daughters, the settlers caught and beat her up.

 
 
Rev. Sumanalankar Mahathero
 

The attack on the family of Mr Ripruchai Marma came to the notice of Rev. Sumanalankar Mahathero , the chief monk of Bouddha Shishu Ghar orphanage. Reverend Mahathero requested the Bengali settlers not to torture the women and release them. Enraged by his request the settlers assaulted him. When the news of the Monk being tortured and the Marma girl kidnapped spread, the Marma women gathered and rescued Miashu Marma and her daughters.

 
 

Nilotpal Khisha, a teacher of Panchari College , rushed to the local military camp to ask for help. On being asked for help, the army told the tribal villagers that it was the duty of police to maintain law and order. Police have also remained as mute spectators. The army personnel camped near the attacked villages used to instigate the attackers to grab land belonging to the indigenous Jumma people.

Meanwhile, over a hundred Bengali plain settlers from Nunchari cluster village and adjacent areas under Maischari union, led by Mostafa, president, Maischari Union Branch of Bangladesh Jatyotabadi Jubo Dal (Youth Wing of ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party) and Ahad Mian, member of local Union Council, Mohammad Abu, ex member of Union Council and Bahar Leader, came in a pick up and a jeep and attacked the two indigenous Jumma villages. The attackers were armed with dao, spear, axe and sticks.

The attackers brutally beat up indigenous Jumma villagers of Saprue Karbari Para and Noa Para including children, women and aged and 50 of them were wounded, 11 seriously. When the villagers fled their homes in fear, the attackers looted away their houses.

The following Jummas were seriously injured:

  1. Mr. Tuku Mani Chakma (30), son of Asha Purna Chakma, Vill- Maischari
  2. Mr. Junal Marma (35), s/o Uhla Aung Marma, Vill- Maischari
  3. Mr. Sa Prue Marma (65), s/o Late Nishi Marma, Vill- Saprue Karbari Para
  4. Mr. Monhshu Marma (70) s/o late Baicha Marma, Vill- Saprue Karbari Para
  5. Mr. Mongsanai Marma (26) s/o Krai Aung Marma, Vill- Chakra Para
  6. Mr. Kongjai Marma (18) s/o Riprue Chai Marma, Vill- Chakra Para
  7. Mr. Mongneo Marma (40) s/o Baicha Marma, Vill- Chakra Para
  8. Mr. Mong Pai Marma (50) s/o Kongja Aung Marma, Vill- Chakra Para.
  9. Ms. Thuimrajai Marma (16), d/o Late Mamong Marma, Vill- Saprue Karbari Para
  10. Ms. Myasu Marma (30), d/o Chaeihla Prue Marma, Vill- Saprue Karbari Para
  11. Ms. Kraijaima Marma (20), d/o Chaihla Prue Marma, Vill- Saprue Karbari Para
 
 

Among them, Tuku Mani Chakma who was seriously injured was transferred to Chittagong Medical College. He was severely chopped at head, shoulders and other parts of his body.

II. Rape of indigenous Jumma girls

The jumma women and girls were specific target of the illegal plain settlers. Apart from bodily harm and injuries to Ms. Thuimrajai Marma, Ms. Myasu Marma and Ms. Kraijaima Marma, two Jumma women Ms Krajoima

 
An injured
 
Rape victims

Marma, daughter of Momong Marma and Ms Abeng Marma daughter of Chaila Pru Marma were raped by the attackers. The victims accused 9 Bengali settlers who were involved in the rape.

III. False prosecution of indigenous Jummas

On 3 April 2006, Mr. Kyajai Marma, an indigenous person filed a complaint (GR

no. 86/2006) with the Mahalchari Police Station. However, 24 Bengali settlers who were arrested from the spot who were released on bail three days later on 7 April 2006. The leaders of ruling Bangladesh National Party assisted in getting bail. The plain settlers filed a counter complaint (GR no. 85/2006) in the name of Ms. Hasina Begum w/o Md. Abdul Hai of Joysen Karbari Para to ensure that no arrest was made.

On 4 April 2006, the police of Mahalchari police station arrested the following 6 innocent Jumma persons from Saprue Karbari Para village:

  1. Mr. Priya Ranjan Chakma (22) s/o late Shanti Ranjan Chakma of vill- Joysen Karbari Para;
  2. Mr. Thakkhula Chakma (22) s/o late Shanti Moy Chakma of vill- Chitta Ranjan Karbari Para;
  3. Mr. Nihar Ranjan Chakma (25) s/o Ratnasen Karbari of vill- Manikchari Ratnasen Karbari Para;
  4. Mr. Sajai Marma (25) s/o Mongsajai Marma of vill- Manikchari Ratnasen Karbari Para
  5. Mr. Sumati Lal Chakma (19) s/o Ramendra Lal Chakma of vill- Manikchari Ratnasen Karbari Para and
  6. Mr. Sahel Chakma (19) s/o Pritimoy Chakma of vill- Purba Manikchari

While the illegal Bengali Muslim settlers who attacked the indigenous Jummas and were arrested from the spot were released after 3 days i.e. on 7 April 2006, indigenous Jumma victims who were arrested on false charges were detained for two more day, i.e. on 9 April 2006.

IV. Request for interventions

In its communications to the Special Rapporteurs, Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network requestedto intervene with the government of Bangladesh to:

  • Extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteurs to visit Bangladesh including the Chittagong Hill Tracts;
  • Ensure return of the lands of indigenous peoples including the lands of the Bouddha Shishu Ghar at Saprue Karbari Para and Noa Para under Maischari union of Mahalchari upazila in Khagrachari Hill District in CHTs;
  • Order a judicial inquiry into the violent attacks on the Jumma villages of Saprue Karbari Para and Noa Para under Maischari union of Mahalchari upazila in Khagrachari Hill District in CHT on 3 April 2006 by over a hundred armed Bengali settlers; fix accountability and prosecute those responsible;
  • Withdraw illegal plain settlers from areas adjacent to the indigenous Jumma villages and prevent land grabbing by the illegal settlers;
  • Provide adequate compensation to the indigenous Jumma people for injuires and damage of properties during the violent attacks ob the illegal settlers on 3 April 2006 ; and
  • Ensure religious freedom of the religious minorities.


Copyright (c) 2006 Asian Indigenous & Tribal Peoples Network. All rights reserved.