Chittagong Hill Tracts: Report Shows Arbitrary Torching of Houses
Civil Society groups conducted an on site inquiry after reports that about 150 houses have been burnt down across seven villages in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Below is a copy of the press release:
SAJEK’S BURNT VILLAGES:
CITIZEN’S TEAM CALLS FOR INQUIRY AND URGENT RELIEF
A group of citizens conducted an on-site inquiry on 28th and 29th April 2008 in Sajek Union, Rangamati District, following press reports of about 150 houses being burnt down across seven villages in the area. On arrival in the area, we saw that in eight villages within the reserved forest area in Sajek Union -- Nursery Para, Daney Bhaibachora, Bamey Bhaibachora, Purbopara, Balughatpara, Retkaba, MSF Para and Gongaram Mukh – the mostly Pahari (indigenous Hillman) houses which had been burnt down to the ground remained just as they were. The charred remains of burnt houses could be seen across a four kilometres long area. Many people are still in hiding. Others told us that several persons were injured during this incident. People do not have proper shelter, and some remain under open skies.
During the on-site inquiry, we spoke to victims and witnesses among both Paharis and Bengalis, other local persons, and to Army personnel, to clarify what had happened. Today we will attempt to outline for you the situation we witnessed, the main causes behind it, and the required action which we believe is necessary at this point. Those of us who visited the area at our own cost did so because we believed that the full facts of what had occurred in Baghaichari, a remote hilly area, had not been fully covered in the national media.
To download the full report, please click here. (PDF format, 51kb)