Sep 26, 2012

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Rangamati Unrest Was Planned

Allegations have been raised that the recent turmoil at a rally in Rangamati earlier this month may have been planned and motivated. Clashes between ethnic minority students and Bengali settlers have gradually increased.

Below is an article published by BdNews24:

A citizen's platform has alleged that the recent unrest in Rangamati was planned and motivated. 

 "Going by the way the violence spread, and the way the administration and the security agencies had to tackle the situation in Rangamati, it is clear that the incident was planned and motivated," Gana Oikya Convenor Pankaj Bhattacharya said in a rally at Dhaka University's Swoparajito Swadhinata Chattar on Tuesday. 

 He demanded arrest and quick trial of those linked to the unrest at the rally organised under the banner of Nagarik Samaj. Shaktipada Tripura, the Organising Secretary of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti or PCJSS, said, "A self-seeking communal group has been trying to make the situation in Rangamati as well as Parbatya Chattagram unstable by deepening the divide. This incident was part of that plan and conspiracy." 

 Professor Mesbah Kamal of the Dhaka University's Department of Sociology said this incident was not a sporadic one. "The number of such incidents is increasing day by day," he added. He urged the government to execute the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord immediately. "Don't test the patience of Adibasis. They passed the test long ago," he said. 

 Tension is simmering in the hills district following clashes reportedly between the students from the ethnic minorities and Bengali settlers at the Rangamati Government College on Saturday. At least 50 people were injured in the clashes. Authorities had imposed Section 144 in the district banning all gatherings. The ban was lifted on Monday as the 'situation improved'. 

 According to the speakers in the rally, at least 40 people from the ethnic minorities had been injured in attacks by the students from Bengali settler community. They said the Bangali Chhatra Parishad, the student wing of the Bengali settlers' organisation Sama Odhikar, attacked the ethnic minorities following an altercation between two students from either community. 

 The speakers said the situation worsened when the students from the ethnic minorities responded the attack in similar fashion. Jatiya Adibasi Parishad President Rabindranath Saren and Bangladesh Workers Party General Secretary Anisur Rahman Mallick, among others, addressed the rally. 

 They also demanded compensation for the victims of the unrest. Ruling Awami League's ally Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon said on Monday that the violence in Rangamati was conducted in a planned way. 

 "Adibasi leader Shantu Larma's house was attacked. Security forces, especially the army, were linked with this," he added.