Oct 10, 2011

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Violence Continues Against Minority Women

Between July and October 2011, violence has continued against national minority women and children in the Chittagong Hill Tracts according to the Kapaeeng Foundation.

Below is an article published by New Age:


Four of the victims were killed, four were raped and two children were molested, the rights watchdog said.


The ‘Lama killing’ shocked the CHT inhabitants as three members of a family were killed allegedly by Mohammad Musa at Lama in Bandarban on July 30 [2011].


In this incident, five-year-old boy Mong Nuching was killed along with his grandfather Wangchhau Marma, 65, and his mother, Ramuching Marma, when he accompanied them to save his 15-year-old sister from being raped.


Nishi Dewan, assistant general secretary of the Hill Women’s Federation, backed by Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti, told New Age that the law enforcement agencies in the CHT had failed to play their role ‘in a proactive, accountable and unbiased manner’ which could stop such violence.


‘The main issues have always been the land and the patriarchal mentality. Earlier, there were sectarian clashes [in CHT] to grab land and now they are raping women and killing people for the same reason.’ Nishi alleged, adding that any kind of violence against women needs to be strongly dealt with irrespective of the communities of the victims and perpetrators.


When asked about this, the Bandarban deputy commissioner, Mizanur Rahman, came down heavily on the media and said such crimes could be found in any other places of the country.


‘See, rape and killing take place everywhere. Why do you get so much worried about such incidents when they relate to national minority women in the CHT?’ he said.


When asked whether such crimes were related to ‘land issues,’ Mizanur said that such crimes taking place in areas of his jurisdiction, where the Lama killing took place, were not related to land issues.


On October 1, another woman named Pratima Chakma, 32, was raped and killed and the severed body was founded at Kamalchari in Khagrachari.


Mong Sing Neo, the Kapaeeng Foundation coordinator, told New Age that the reason behind such crimes was the ‘absence of any single example’ of punishment.     


The Kapaeeng Foundation asked the government to investigate the incidents and demanded adequate compensation for the families of the victims and the trial and punishment of perpetrators.


It also called on the government to ensure the security of the national minority women and children as they are citizens of Bangladesh.


The Kapaeeng Foundation in its electronic newsletter alleged that the ‘indigenous girls’ were raped, tortured and killed and said that ‘due to the non-implementation of the CHT accord, Jumma women are still not safe. Killing, rape and kidnapping, in particular, are being reported regularly.’


Two girls were raped between July and August and a child was molested and another was raped in September, according to the Kapaeeng Foundation’s newsletter.