Bangladesh: Attack on CHTC chairman part of an ‘alarming trend’ in the area
The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) released a press statement on Monday condemning the recent attack on its chairman and the violence in Babuchara, Dighinala, which allegedly left six indigenous people and four army personnel injured.
The convoy of CHTC Chairman, Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, who is also president of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), was attacked on 11 March 2015. In anticipation of Larma’s visit, a 72-hour strike was called by various anti-CHT Accord groups, uniting under the banner of ‘Jago Parbattyabasi’ (Rise Hill Dwellers) in Bandarban. The attack allegedly took place in the presence of police and other law enforcement authorities, and the Jago Parbattyabasi may have been involved.
Continued attacks signal an ‘alarming trend’
Reports from PCJSS, the only political organization of the indigenous Jumma people of the CHT, estimate at least 12 of their members were wounded, including members of the Hill Student Council (Pahari Chhatra Parishad). One car and two motorcycles, which were part of the convoy escorting Mr. Larma, were attacked when they reached Balaghata, in the town of Bandarban. Some of the individuals involved in the attack have been identified, and the CHTC has learned that local politicians belonging to both the ruling Awami League as well as members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party were among them.
According to the statement, the attack on the CHTC chairman is part of an “alarming trend” in the region, and the CHT demands that those involved be brought to justice immediately. In recent years, members of various Bengali settler groups have carried out attacks against indigenous peoples and those attempting to implement the CHT Peace Accord. The similar nature of the attacks is cause for additional concern. They are most often carried out in front of police and other authorities, “indicating the collusion and patronization of law-enforcement”.
Army obstructs march in Dighinala
The statement also strongly condemns the violence in Babuchara, Dighinala on 15 March 2015, which left at least 17 people injured. According to media reports, a clash erupted between the military and members of the Dighinala Land Protection Committee, as the army attempted to obstruct their march towards Babuchara. The march was organized to demand the relocation of a battalion of the Bangladesh Border Guard, whose offices in Babuchhara led to the eviction of 21 indigenous families from the area.
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