Jan 06, 2009

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Rights Advocate Murdered

Active ImageIndigenous rights activist killed after reporting illegal land appropriations.



Below is an article published by the Mission Network News:

Compass Direct News reports the […] killing of an outspoken Christian defender of minorities in Sajek, Bangladesh. Ladu Moni Chakma, 55, was […] stabbed […] by Bengali Muslim settlers in August [2008]. Chakma was attacked after reporting illegal land grabs to the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission.

A pastor of the district Bangladesh Baptist Church told Compass that Chakma often intervened on behalf of the indigenous people with the CHTC about their rights and the cruel manner in which Bengali settlers illegally took their lands. The pastor said that Chakma was murdered and his family attacked because of his outspoken Christian defense.

"They do not want any Christian to live here," the pastor said. "They hate Christians more than any other minority religions -- it is one of the main reasons to evict and kill Ladu Moni. If people become Christian, many NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations] will be set up here, and various local and international missionaries will look after them, so that Bengali settlers cannot grab lands illegally."

Chakma's widow, Cikonpudi Chakma, urged the army-backed interim caretaker government to withdraw settlers from Sajek [..]. She gave details of the Bengali settlers' late-night attack to reporters.

"Some people were shouting, ‘Open the door! Open the door!'" she said. "Without realizing anything what was going on, three Bengali people broke in our shanty hut."


A police inspector told Compass that his department had arrested three people in connection with Chakma's killing. He says that the case is under investigation, and after national elections held later this month [January 2009], a charge sheet will be submitted.