Chittagong Hill Tracts: New Military Camp and Human Rights Abuses in CHT
The owners of the land are Priti Bikash Talukdar s/o late Lagna Mohan Talukdar and Sadhan Bikash Chakma s/o Horikanta Chakma of No. 101 Ghilachari Mouza under Kaokhali upazila.
To build the camp a group of army led by Subedar Major Md. Rafique housed themselves in the Talukdarpara Junior High School on 16 June 2004 resulting in the closure of the school.
Priti Bikash Talukdar and Sadhan Bikash Chakma protested several times the illegal occupation of their land by the army.
The army have been harassing innocent local indigenous people since they took over the school. On 18 June 2004, the army arrested an indigenous people Letto Chakma when he went to collect blackberry from his own garden near the school. On 19 July 2004, the army seized 1,400 bamboos and nearly 50 feet timber from the following 10 indigenous people while they were taking them for selling in market:
1. Arebana Chakma s/o Mulakya Chakma, village- Dhebachari, Kaokhali, Rangamati;
2. Sujal Chakma s/o Nakkua Chakma, village- do;
3. Bimal Shanti Chakma s/o Chandranath Chakma, village- do;
4. Jyoti Lal Chakma s/o Nabin Kumar Chakma, village- do;
5. Jyana Lal Chakma s/o Dhana Kumar Chakma, village- Shuknachari, Kaokhali, Rangamati;
6. Amrita Lal Chakma s/o Dhana Kumar Chakma, village- do;
7. Shanti Lal Chakma s/o Joy Kumar Chakma, village- do;
8. Sundar Chakma s/o Hamit Kumar Chakma, village- do;
9. Buddha Chandra Chakma s/o Brishamoni Chakma, village- do;
10. Jamani Kumar Chakma s/o Mulakya Chakma, village- do.
On 25 July 2004, the villagers organized a rally in Rangamati town protesting the establishment of the camp and forcible confiscation of indigenous land by the army. Jagadish Talukdar, headman of No. 101 Ghilachari Mouza and Lal Krisna Chakma and Sulendu Chakma - members of Ghagra Union Parishad - were among others who addressed the rally. They submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh through the Deputy Commissioner of Rangamati hill district demanding immediate stop of the camp.
In other two separate incidents, Bangladesh security forces tortured at least 10 indigenous people and arrested two on false charges.
The first incident took place on 14 July 2004 at around 3:00 a.m. when a group of army and BDR personnel numbering around 35 men led by zone commander Md. Mirza Anwar Reza of the 34th Rifle Battalion from Barkal sadar zone and Nasirul Islam from Jagannathchara BDR camp raided the house of Monghlaching Marma built temporarily to guard the logs collected from his garden and arrested him along with a mahut (caretaker of elephants) came to him with an elephant to extract his logs, and other eight persons from his neighborhood.
Mr. Marma and the mahut were taken to the Jagannathchara BDR camp and tortured there till 1:00 pm. In the evening the victims were handed over to the Barkal police station. The police registered a case against them on false charge of keeping illegal arms with them. The accused were sent to jail without any trial.
The other eight were tortured and released later.
Local people of Barkal organized a protest rally at Barkal sadar demanding immediate release of the innocent indigenous people. Pradip Tripura, Pratul Chakma, Samar Bikash Chakma and Pulin Chakma addressed the rally led by Nanda Bikash Chakma.
The other incident took place on 27 June 2004 at around 1:00 a.m. in which a group of BDR and police personnel led by Captain Amir of the Barkal BDR zone and Sub-inspector Utpal Barua raided the house of a PCJSS member Sadhan Bikash Chakma. Before this, they raided his shop closed at night. The BDR and police personnel told Mr. Chakma that they found a pistol from his shop. They forced him to sign on a paper confessing his guilt.
The BDR and police personnel forced all the members of his family to get out of their house. They took away some valuables and books from his house.
Later, the same personnel raided the house of Nibaran Chakma, headman of
Dewanchar Mouza and charged him with a case similar to that of Sadhan Bikash
Chakma. Mr. Chakma was not at his house during the raid. The BDR and police
personnel took the fingerprint of his wife in a blank white paper