Chittagong Hill Tracts: Reports of Forced Settlement
Recent reports suggest an increase in what is viewed as illegal settlement by non-indigenous groups on indigenously owned land. Furthermore, there are fears that the 1997 Peace Accord may be declared invalid by the High Court
Below are extracts from an article published by the Asian Centre for Human Rights:
In a major development, Chief of Bangladesh Army and de facto ruler of the country, General Moeen U Ahmed visited Dighinala of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) yesterday [28 August 2007]. While nothing has been made public nor reported in the press in
The Sadhana Tila area under Dighinala, which comprises of about 300 acres of land, and houses a
As indigenous Jumma peoples refused to comply, trucks and jeeps load of illegal settlers have been coming to Sadhana Tila and cutting the jungle around the Buddhist temple for constructing houses under the protection and command of the army and the police personnel.
The case of Sadhana Tila is not an isolated one. The forcible land grabbing by the illegal settlers and the
In another recent case of forcible land grabbing, the illegal settlers have reportedly grabbed 59 acres of land belonging to 17 Jumma peoples in Kobakhali Mouza (No. 51) under Dighinala Police Station in Khagracahri district. […] Presently, works for construction of houses in the lands seized from the indigenous peoples are reportedly underway. The army has reportedly planned to settle 200 plain settlers' families in Kobakhali Mouza.
The Jumma activists have been unfairly targeted by the
Most cases have been filed under Section 16(b) of the Emergency Power Rules of 2007 which denies release on bail to the accused during the enquiry, investigation and trial of the case.
On 29 May 2007, Mr Milton Chakma, Assistant Coordinator of the Hill Watch Human Rights Forum and also a leader of United Peoples Democratic Front, was arrested from
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord has been in tatters much before the care-taker government assumed powers. Even when the democratically elected governments were in power, the army enjoyed unbridled powers which resulted in blatant violations of rights of the Jummas. Since the imposition of the Emergency, the situation in the CHTs deteriorated drastically.
The direction of the High Court on 27 August 2007 to the government of
The government will not challenge the directions of the High Court to enroll the illegal settlers into the voters' list. Irrespective of whether the constitutional validity of the Accord is upheld or not, the renewed implantation of illegal settlers and continued land grabbing poses the most serious threat to the indigenous Jumma peoples. With indigenous leaders being implicated in false cases, one can protest against such policies in