Jan 28, 2005

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Massive military atrocities in Baghaichari Upazila

Innocent Jumma People are fleeing from localities
Untitled Document
On 3 January 2005 a BDR person named Shahjahan was killed while an armed group of UPDF (United people's Democratic Front) and a patrolling party of Bangladesh Rifles (border security force) from Kachuchari camp confronted at Shilchari village of Sarbuatali Union of Baghaichari Upazila (sub-district) in Rangamati Hill District. In connection to this killing, army personnel from several camps of a few army zones under Rangamati army region and Dighinala cantonment of Khagrachari army region are engaged in combing operation throughout the areas of Sarbuatali Union, Marishya Union, Baghaichari Union and Rupakari Union in Baghaichari Upazila. In this combing operation, innocent Jumma people have been brought under merciless torture, arrest, looting etc. During the operation, the army is also committing religious persecution, such as, harassment of Buddhist monk and sacrilege. In the meantime, 8 (eight) innocent Jumma villagers including one returnee PCJSS member have been sent to jail custody and more than 150 villagers were brutally tortured. Hundreds of villagers have been compelled to leave their localities for escaping from military atrocity and many of them have been starving, as they cannot go for their daily earnings. Mr. Sumentu Chakma, seriously wounded person due to military access have been hospitalised in Baghaichari Upazila hospital. Because of critical injury he has been shifted to Rangamati General hospital.

It is noted that on the same day an armed encounter occurred between the UPDF and its opponent group at Shilchari area where the said BDR patrol party reached and the incident (killing) took place. Furthermore, it is noted that the UPDF recently became very active in making attempts to expand their influence over the area and they have been reported enjoying sympathy of certain law enforcing authorities at the local level.

The PCJSS draws kind attention of the national and international humanitarian community to raise their strong voice and take up the issue with the Prime Minister, the State Minister for Home Affairs and the Deputy Minister for the CHT Affairs Ministry of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh asking for the following issues for redress:

1) To stop military operation and atrocities upon the villagers in Baghaichari Upazila;

2) To release the villagers arrested by the army and BDR in connection to this incident and provide full security and proper rehabilitation for the affected families;

3) To take speedy and statutory action against the army and BDR personnel involved in atrocity;

4) To withdraw military rule 'Operation Uttaran' and all temporary camps of army, Ansar, APB and VDP from CHT as per CHT Accord;

5) To implement the CHT Accord properly.