Government Disinformation Campaign
Bangladeshi military is involved in massive disinformation campaign against the JSS, Shanti Bahini and the Jumma people. The aim of this disinformation campaign is to demoralise the Jummas in their struggle and to hoodwink the civilized world.
19 June 2006
PCJSS demanded ban of a booklet titled ‘Khagrachari 2001-2005’ published by Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Khagarchari. Half a day strike was observed by the Khgrachari District Citizen’s Forum and some others organizations in Khagrachari on 16 July 2006. They demanded seizing of all copies of this books and eliminating him from the post of Deputy Commissioner. They have alleged that this book is reinforcing communal conflict between Bengalis and indigenous peoples and threatening communal harmony of the region. This booklet was published by the DC of Khagrachari district in April 2006 and distributed to the Ministers, Secretaries and donor agencies through a forwarding letter. Both the booklet and forwarding letter have treated the indigenous peoples of CHT as intruders, terrorist, anti-Bengalis and anti-state culprits. He mentioned in the forwarding letter, “In Khgagrachari there are mainly three tribes. They are Chakma (28%), Tripura (13%) and Marma (11%). There are some insignificant numbers of Monipuri and Shawtal here. History says that they all are outsiders. The tribes Kookies found at that time went against British and were driven away with the help of new intruder tribes. In fact, we are nourishing these intruders with a lot of facilities by depriving the mainstream people.”
Moreover he quoted in his booklet, “Chakma tribe speaks ill of establishment, dislikes the mainstream people or the Bengalee, even takes arms against them. Last of all in 1997 they surrendered arms after signing a controversial pact with Government of Bangladesh (GoB).”
The above statements and information of the DC are misleading, self-imaginary and communally motivated. The history shows that before the British colonization, the indigenous Jumma people of CHT were independent. During the whole period of the Mughal rule in this Indian sub-continent, the Chakma Kings of this region were internally supreme and externally free. In 1550 a Portuguese cartographer named Joa De Barros shown the Chakma kingdom on his map as the Feni river to the North, the Namre or Naf river to the south, the Lushai hills to the east and the sea to the west. Even after 1860 and until 1900 the British government administered CHT through a set of rules promulgated from time to time. In 1900 the British government enacted the CHT Regulation 1 of 1900 and declared it as an Excluded Area, in order to protect the Jumma people from economic exploitation by non-indigenous people and to preserve their traditional socio-cultural and political institutions based on customary laws, community ownership of land and so on. However, from the very outset, the Pakistani government looked upon the Jummas with an eye of suspicion as anti-Pakistani as well as anti-Islamic. Therefore, the Pakistan governments’ ultimate aim was to exterminate the people of CHT through its socio-political-economic policy. In 1950s, in implementing her brazen designs violating the principles and spirit of the CHT Regulation of 1900 the government of Pakistan started Bengali Muslim settlement at Longadu and Naniarchar in CHT and it continued up to 1966. On the other, immediately following the independence of Bangladesh in early 1972, the government of Bangladesh did not respect their fundamental rights and did not write even a single word in the constitution regarding the entity and safeguard of the Jumma people. Rather the CHT underwent militarization. The government began state-sponsored migration of Bengali Muslim settlers into the CHT.
17 March 1996
U Ching Maung of the Arakan Liberation Party (in Myanmar) surrendered to the BDR camp at Bali Bazaar of Thanchi. But the Bangladesh Government announced through the state controlled print and electronic media that he was an officer of the Shanti Bahini and that he surrendered his arms and ammunitions including a Light Machine Gun.
14 December 1995
The Saptahik Parbati, a weekly Bengali newspaper sponsored by the Bangladesh Army in Khagrachari published that 3 members of the Shanti Bahini led by platoon commander Khowai Marma, who was hit by a bullet in his left hand during a battle with the Bangladesh Army, had surrendered to the army in Bandarban with 3 AK47 rifles. In fact those 3 men were members of a Myanmarese armed group.