Massacres in the CHT


 
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Malya Massacre

Chittipudi Chakma, 6 months, daughter of Manek Kumar Chakma was killed by the Bengali Muslim settlers on 2 February 1992 at Malya massacre. Two bombs exploded on a passenger boat. The explosion killed a passenger and seriously injured the driver of the boat. The survivors swam ashore, but the armed Bengali Muslim settlers were awaiting for them and attacked the indigenous passengers - men, women and children. About 30 indigenous people were killed.
 
 
 

Since 1980, the Bangladesh army and the Bengali Muslim settlers had committed 13 major massacres in the Chittgong Hill Tracts (hereafter CHT). Even then massacres were not new in the CHT by then. During the Bangladesh's liberation war against Pakistan, in 1971 the Mukti Bahini (freedom fighters of Bangladesh) perpetrated 3 massacres against the Jumma civilians in the CHT. But it was during the war against Shanti Bahini (the armed resistance of the Jumma people), the Bangladesh Army and the Bangladesh Government stepped up the frequency and intensity of mass murders against innocent civilians. These massacres are executed by systematic planning of the Bangladesh military, often in collaboration with the Bangladeshi settlers to uproot and wipe out the Jumma people from their land. These massacres include only the incidents where large number of people are killed in a single day at a single spot. Large number of People are also killed in military operations of extensive periods in wide areas, those are included in 'Reprisal Attacks' of 'Genocide' section.


  1. Kaukhali Massacre, 25/03/1980:

    There have been numerous attacks on the Jumma people by the settlers and the Bangladesh Army. But the massacre of Kaukhali Bazaar of Kalampati on 25th March 1980 stands out, because it was the first massacre in which indigenous people were killed in their hundreds. 300 Jummas were killed in this massacre and many more were injured.

    On that they the Bangladesh military had asked the Jumma people to gather in the bazaar on the pretext holding a meeting for the reconstruction of a Buddhist Temple. Following the gathering the military suddenly encircled the area and opened fired on the unarmed Jumma civilians. The innocent Jumma people were completely caught by surprise. The Bangladesh military beforehand had informed and armed the Bangladeshi settlers for the massacres. The the Bangladeshi settlers assisted the Bangladesh Army by axing the injured men, women, and children, whom the military had hidden in the background for the massacre. Buddhist temples and religious images had been destroyed by the Bangladesh Army and the Bangladeshi settlers.
    Thousands of Jummas took refuge in the Indian state of Tripura. Later on they were repatriated on an agreement between the Tripura government and the Bangladesh Army, and on the promise that things like that would not happen again.A parliamentary investigation team was formed by then Ziaur Rahman Government, but the report never saw the daylight. The military officers who engineered the killings not only were never punished, they were promoted in the ranks of the Bangladesh Army.


  2. Banraibari-Beltali-Belchari Massacre, 26/06/1981:

    The Bangladeshi settlers, under the protection of the Bangladesh army, invaded the Jumma area in the vicinity of Banraibari, Beltali and Belchari, murdered 500 Jumma men, women and children, and occupied their villages and farmlands. Thousands of Jumma people fled to the nearby forests and 5,000 of them managed to seek refuge in the Tripura State of India


  3. Telafang-Ashalong-Gurangapara-Tabalchari-Barnala
    Massacre, 19/09/1981:

    The Bangladesh army and the Bangladeshi settlers made co-ordinated attacks on 35 Jumma villages including Telafang, Ashalong, Gurangapara, Tabalchari, Barnala etc. in the Feni valley of the CHT, plundered and burned the villages, and killed many thousand men, women and children. Thousands of Jumma people died as a direct and indirect result of these attacks.

    The surviving villagers fled to the Indian State of Tripura and to the adjacent forests. Although the Bangladeshi regime had denied that these refugees were from the CHT, it was forced by the international community to repatriate them. These Jumma people were met at the border by hostile Bangladeshi officials and were given the equivalent of $18 and were left to their fate. Return to their native villages was impossible because their homes and possessions had been appropriated by the Bangladeshi settlers. Many of them died of starvation and of diseases.


  4. Golakpatimachara-Machyachara-Tarabanchari
    Massacre, June-August 1983:

    On 26 June, 11,26,27 July and 9,10,11 August 1983, the Bangladesh armed forces and the Bangladeshi immigrants massacred the Jumma people of the villages of Golakpatimachara, Machyachara, Tarabanchari, Logang, Tarabanya, Maramachyachara, Jedamachyachara etc. Hundreds of houses were looted and burned, and 800 people were murdered. Most of the victims were old men, women and children. After clearing the area of the Jumma people the government settled Bangladeshi families there.


  5. Bhusanchara Massacre, 31/05/1984:

    In the early morning of 31 May 1984, the Shanti Bahini guerillas attacked the settlements of the Bangladeshi settlers at Gorosthan, Bhusanchara and Chota Harina of Barkal Upazilla (Sub District). About 100 Bangladeshi settlers were reported killed, their homes burned down in the attack. Three BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) camps in the locality were also simultaneously attacked so that the BDR personnel could not intervene. Bhusanchara was the village most severely affected. The attack was given extensive coverage in the Bangladesh news media and President Ershad visited the affected area on 5 June 1984. No publicity was given, however, to the reprisals taken against the Jumma population by the Bangladeshi security personnel immediately after the assaults on the Bangladeshi settlements.

    Some of the Jumma people, apparently anticipating retaliatory raids, left their homes at once and sought to hide in the surrounding forests. Others remained in their villages. Later on 31 May and the following day, the Bangladesh Army personnel, from the 305th brigade of the 26th Bengal Regiment, and members of the 17th battalion of the Bangladesh Rifles, accompanied by the Bangladeshi settlers, attacked the Jumma villages in the area, principally Het Baria, Suguri Para, Gorosthan, Tarengya Ghat, Bhusanchara and Bhusan Bagh. A total of 400 Jumma people including children and women were killed. Many women were gang raped and later shot dead. Seven thousand Jummas crossed the border into the Indian state of Mizoram.

    A Jumma villager from Het Baria gave the following account of his experience to the Amnesty International:
    "My village falls in the Barkal rehabilitation zone where large number of Muslims have settled over the years. There is thus continuous tension between the two communities. In the summer of 1984 there were frequent clashes and the Muslims often used to threaten us saying that the army will come and teach us a lesson. The army came on May 31, accompanied by a large group of Muslims some of whom were armed. They destroyed our village, raped women and killed people. I saw two women getting raped and then killed by bayonets. One Aroti, who is my distant cousin, was also raped by several soldiers and her body was disfigured with bayonets. Several people, including children, were thrown into burning huts. I was among the people singled out for torture in public. Five or six of us were hung upside down on a tree and beaten. Perhaps I was given up for dead and thus survived. The memories of that day are still a nightmare for me. Even now I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat remembering the sight of the soldiers thrusting bayonets into private parts of our women. They were all screaming 'No Chakmas will be born in Bangladesh".

  6. Panchari Massacre, 1/05/1986:

    On April 29th, 1986, the Shanti Bahini (resistance of the Jummas) simultaneously attacked the BDR border outposts at Assalong, Chota Assalong and Taidong of Khagrachari District and followed it up with swoops on new settlements of the Bangladeshi settlers. Reprisals by the Bangladesh army, BDR, Ansars (Islamic Guard) and the Bangladeshi settlers, began immediately after 29 April.

    On 1 May and the following days, law enforcement personnel, together with Bangladeshi settlers, entered a number of Jumma villages in the Panchari-Khagrachari area and arbitrarily killed the Jumma inhabitants. The villages included Golakpratimachara, Kalanal, Soto Karmapara, Shantipur, Mirjibil, Hetarachara (also known as Khedarachara Mukhpara), Pujgang, Laogang, Hathimuktipara, Sarveswarpara, Napidapara and Dewan Bazar. After entering the Jumma villages, The Bangladeshi security personnel ordered the inhabitants to assemble on open ground, men separate from women, away from the villagers' huts. While the villagers were held in this way their settlements were set on fire by the Bangladeshi settlers. The Bangladeshi security personnel then opened fire randomly on the groups of villagers who were assembled, killing hundreds of Jumma men, women and children

    Part of this process was described to the Amnesty International by a woman from Mirjibil, about a mile from Panchari, who was witness to the killing of another woman, aged in her 70s:
    "As soon as the raid on my village began, people (other villagers) began to shout asking everybody to leave the village. But before most people could gather their senses the soldiers and the Ansars had come. They were followed by several hundred Muslim settlers.... They immediately began to ransack the village."

    "The soldiers asked the men and the women to stand separately.... One old woman, Phoidebi, had trouble getting up and joining the group outside. A soldier shot her at close range."

  7. Matiranga Massacre, May 1986:

    Following the Bangladesh military atrocities described above many people from the affected areas sought refuge in the forests away from their homes. A few hundred people from several different villages gathered during the first week of May between the villages of Sarveswarpara and Manudaspara, in the Matiranga area. One night, probably that of 1/2 May although the precise date is not known, while they were trying to reach the Indian border, they were ambushed by a detachment of Bangladeshi soldiers. The soldiers opened fire without warning and shot at them randomly, without provocation. Over 70 Jumma people were killed.


  8. Comillatialla-Taindong Massacre, 18-19/05/1986:

    After the Matiranga massacre a large group of Jumma people fleeing from their homes, numbering over 200, most of whom were of the Tripura nationality, were moving towards the Indian border at Silachari in southern Tripura in mid May. Their presence in the area appears, to had been known for some time to the Bangladeshi security personnel. They were eventually discovered, by the troops of the 31st battalion of the Banglaesh Rifles (BDR), who surrounded them and made them walk into a narrow valley between the villages of Comillatilla and Taidong. In the restricted space of this valley, the soldiers fired indiscriminately at the group, killing most of the people. Once the firing had ceased, a number of Bangladeshi settlers further attacked the group with machete to kill the injured men, women and children.

    . The massacre was described to the Amnesty International by a survivor and refugee in India:
    "I am chief of a large colony of Tripuri tribals and we used to live a little outside Matiranga. Around the end of April and early May, when the Shanti Bahini began raids on the BDR, army and Muslims, the soldiers began to come and bother us. We told them we were not even Chakmas and had thus nothing to do with the Shanti Bahini. But they harassed us."

    "Later, on 8 May, they came in strength and began to burn our village. The officer-in-charge said you Hindus have no place in Bangladesh and asked us to run away. We decided to flee along with some Chakma families in our neighbourhood. But the soldiers did not even let us run away in peace. They chased us and we hid in the jungles in the day, making some progress by night."

    "Last Sunday (18 May) we were approaching the border when a large group of soldiers caught us. The officer said that we would be treated nicely and settled back. He asked us to walk back. The soldiers were around us."

    "They took us to a narrow valley between Taidong and Comillatilla and there suddenly we heard thousands of bullets and shrieks and screams of our people. At least 200 of our people, mainly Tripuris, died. I do not even have any trace of my family. I do not know whether my family members are still in hiding somewhere or if they got killed."

    "As bullets rained from all sides the Muslims too descended on the valley, raping women and killing people with swords, spears and knives; we all ran for our lives in (the) direction of India."

  9. Hirachar-Sarbotali-Khagrachari-Pablakhali
    Massacres, 8,9,10 August, 1988:

    The Bangladesh Army along with the aid of the Bangladeshi settlers killed hundreds of the Jumma people(actual number not known, figures based on the eye witness report) in the above areas. Many women were gang raped by the Bangladesh Army and the settlers.


  10. Longadu Massacre, 4/05/1989:

    Abdur Rashid, a Bangladeshi community leader was gunned down by an un-identified gunman. The Bangladesh authority and the Bangladeshi settlers suspect that he was gunned down by the Shanti Bahini, due to his involvement in the racially motivated crimes against the Jumma people, though Shanti Bahini denies the claims.In reprisal to Abdur Rashid's killing the Bangladesh Army, the Village Defense Party (armed group formed by the Bangladeshi settlers) and the settlers carried out this gruesome massacre. 40 Jumma people were killed, there dead bodies never returned to the relatives. Their houses were burnt down and Buddhist temples in the area were destroyed. Among the fallen victims were the wife, children and grand-children of the former chairman of the local council Mr. Anil Bikash Chakma. The Bangladesh Army had grabbed his land and settled the Bangladeshi settlers around his homestead. Mr. A.B. Chakma's friends and relatives had warned him of the potential danger of living so close to the Bangladeshi settlers. But he had no where else to go. On that day he was not in home, and that saved his life. Later on even after repeated appeal to the Bangladesh military authority, the dead bodies were never returned for Buddhist religous rites and cremation.


  11. Malya Massacre, 2/02/1992:

    On 2 February 1992 two bombs exploded on a passenger boat at Malya. The boat was on its way from Marishya to Rangamati. Malya is now inhabited by the Bengali settlers from the plain. The explosion killed one passenger and seriously injured the driver of the boat. The survivors swam ashore, but the armed Bengali settlers were waiting for them. The settlers attacked the Jumma passengers- men, women and children. About 30 of them were killed. Fourteen bodies were recovered, the others were lost in the water.Some representatives of the Jumma people were supposed to board the boat on their way to Rangamati and Dhaka to protest against recent army atrocities in the area: Captain Masiur Rahman of Bangladesh army had tortured a student Mr. Biswamuni Chakma and a Buddhist monk (the Rev. Bodhimitra Bhikkhu) and had treated some female students indecently. Moreover three Buddhist Viharas (monasteries) had been desecrated by the army. According to an eye-witness account, two members of the security forces boarded the boat at Dulachari carrying two kerosene tins. They disembarked at the next stop, leaving the tins. These exploded shortly afterwards. The Bangladesh media reported that the explosion was caused by the Shanti Bahini.


  12. Logang Massacre, 10/04/1992:

    On 10 April 1992 the biggest massacre in a single day, at single place, in the history of the CHT took place at Logang cluster village in Khagrachari District, perpetrated by the Bangladeshi security forces and the Bangladeshi settlers.

    The military forces forcibly relocated some fifteen hundred Jumma families from the surrounding Jumma villages to the Logang cluster village, which is nothing but a concentration camp, and distributed their ancestral villages and farmlands to the Bangladeshi infiltrators free of cost. Then they hatched a plot to find an excuse to get rid of those Jumma prisoners. On 10 April, 1992, the military authorities sent two Bangladeshis, armed with machete, to rape some Jumma women who were grazing their cattle at their Logang cluster village. The Jumma women tried to defend themselves and at the same time they cried for help. A Jumma gentleman came to their rescue and asked the Bangladeshi rapists to leave the Jumma women alone. Instead of going away, the rapists attacked the Jumma gentleman and hacked him to death. During the attack, one of the rapists was also injured. After killing the Jumma gentleman, the rapists went straight to the camp of the Bangla Desh Rifles (BDR). The military authorities found the excuse they were looking for and used the injured rapist as a victim of the Shanti Bahini (SB) attack. On the pretext of searching out the SB, the military forces and the Bangladeshi settlers combinedly attacked the Logang cluster village immediately after the arrival of the two rapists at the BDR camp. They hacked many Jummas to death and shot dead those who tried to flee. Then the invaders forced the old people, women and children into their homes and burnt them alive by setting their homes on fire.

    The exact number of the Jumma people killed at Logang will never be known, as many of the dead bodies had been removed by the military immediately after the massacre. According to several eye-witness reports the number must be well over 400. Some 800 houses were burnt down and more than 2000 people fled across the border to Tripura of India after the massacre.


  13. Naniachar Massacre, 17/11/1993:

    On 17 November 1993 at least 29 Jumma people were killed and more than a hundred wounded when Bangladeshi settlers, supported by the Bangladesh Army, attacked a peaceful rally of Jumma people in Naniarchar Bazzar. The rally was organized by the Greater Chittagong Hill Tracts Hill Students' Council, with the advance permission from the local authorities, and was part of a campaign against the use of the only waiting shed for motor-lauch passengers as an army check post. The reports about the massacre which the CHT Commission has received from various Bangladeshi and Jumma peoples' organizations and individuals all draw roughly the same picture of the cause of events. Naniarchar is surrounded on three sides by the Kaptai Lake, so people travel mostly by boat. People arriving and departing from Naniarchar are regularly questioned and harassed by the army personnel from the checkpoint. There was widespread resentment among the local residents against the army checkpost.On 17 November, soon after the students had held their meeting and rally, Bangladeshi settlers led by Union Council member Ahmed Miah held a counter demonstration, for which they had obtained permission on the same day. There were joined by a few hundred settlers from adjacent villages, led by Md. Ayub Hossain, president of Parbatya Gana Parishad (Hill Tracts Peoples' Council, an organization of the Bangladeshi settlers, not to be confused with the Hill Peoples' Council of the Jumma people), and Abdul Latif, chairman of Burighat Union Council. They arrived on boats, armed with iron rods, sticks and machete. Surprisingly, the settlers were not disarmed by the army personnel at the check post. Tension rose and at one point the settlers started attacking the Jumma people. Even the Jumma people who tried to escape by jumping into the lake were hacked to death. It was reported that the law enforcing agencies did not try very hard to stop the attack and observed impassively. Students defended themselves with firewood and sticks which they collected from tea shops. Then the settlers were already retreating, there was a whistle from the army camp and the army opened fire on the students.

Investigations:

Most of the massacres of the Jumma people, have never been investigated by the Bangladesh Government. After a few massacres the government did set up an investigation committee, but never to much effect. The report of the inquiry committee set up after the Logang massacre in April 1992 in which few hundred Jumma people were killed by the Bangladeshi security forces and the Bangladeshi settlers, was made public. However it largely projected the Bangladesh Army version of the event. The report of the Naniarchar Massacre in November 1993 has never been made public. Moreover, never have persons responsible for any massacre or other human rights violations been tried in court. At the most a few of the army officers have been transferred or given early retirement.


More:

  1. Analysis of Logang Massacre Report by Ramendu Sekhar Dewan
  2. Victims of Mallya Massacre (Pic. 1) Warning: Graphic of Violence
  3. Victims of Mallya Massacre (Pic. 2) Warning: Graphic of Violence
  4. Victims of Mallya Massacre (Pic. 3) Warning: Graphic of Violence
  5. Victims of Mallya Massacre (Pic. 4) Warning: Graphic of Violence


Sources:

  1. Life is not ours: the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission, April 1994
  2. Unlawful Killings and Torture in the CHT: Amnesty International,1986
  3. Jana Samhati Samiti Report
  4. The Charge of Genocide: Organizing Committee Chittagong Hill Tracts Campaign, 1986

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