Bangladesh army backed Muslim settlers killed Chittipudi Chakma,
6 months old daughter of Manek Kumar Chakma 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 Muslim settlers were
waiting for them and attacked the indigenous people - men, women and children.
About 30 indigenous people were killed.
Since 1980, Bangladesh army and 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 indigenous people in the CHT. But it was during the war against Shanti Bahini (the armed resistance of the indigenous indigenous 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 Muslim settlers to uproot and wipe out the indigenous 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'
25 March 1980: Kaukhali Massacre
There have been numerous attacks on the indigenous people by the Muslim settlers and 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. About 300 indigenous people were killed in this massacre and many more were injured.
On that they the Bangladesh army had asked the indigenous
people to gather in the bazaar on the pretext holding a meeting for the reconstruction of a Buddhist Temple. Following the gathering the Bangladesh army suddenly encircled the area and opened fired on the unarmed indigenous people. The innocent indigenous people were completely caught by surprise. Bangladesh army beforehand had informed and armed the Muslim settlers for the massacres. Muslim settlers assisted Bangladesh army by axing the injured men, women, and children, whom the army had hidden in the background for the massacre. Bangladesh Army and Muslim settlers destroyed Buddhist temples and religious images.
Thousands of indigenous people took refuge in the Indian state of Tripura. Later on they were repatriated on an agreement between the Tripura government and 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 officers who engineered the killings not only were never punished, they were promoted in the ranks of the Bangladesh Army.
Banraibari-Beltali-Belchari Massacre, 26/06/1981:
Bangladesh army backed Muslim settlers invaded the indigenous area in the vicinity of Banraibari, Beltali and Belchari, murdered 500 indigenous men, women and children, and occupied their villages and farmlands. Thousands of indigenous people fled to the nearby forests and 5,000 of them managed to seek refuge in the Tripura State of India
Bangladesh army and the Muslim settlers made co-ordinated attacks on 35 indigenous 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 indigenous indigenous 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 indigenous 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 Muslim settlers. Many of them died of starvation and of diseases.
On 26 June, 11,26,27 July and 9,10,11 August 1983, the
Bangladesh armed forces and the Muslim settlers massacred
the indigenous 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 indigenous people, the government settled Muslim settlers there.
31 May 1984: Barkal Massacre
In the early morning of 31 May 1984, the Shanti Bahini guerillas attacked the Muslim settlements at Gorosthan, Bhusanchara and Chota Harina of Barkal Upazilla (Sub District). About 100 Muslim settlers were reportedly 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 indigenous Jumma population by the Bangladeshi security personnel immediately after the assaults on the Muslim settlements.
Some indigenous 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 Muslim settlers, attacked the indigenous
Jumma villages in the area, principally Het Baria, Suguri Para, Gorosthan, Tarengya Ghat, Bhusanchara and Bhusan Bagh. A total of 400 indiegnous people including children and women were killed. Many women were gang raped and later shot dead. About 7,000 indigenous people crossed the border into the Indian state of Mizoram.
An indigenous 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".
1 May 1986: Panchari Massacre
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 Muslim settlements. Reprisals by the Bangladesh army, BDR, Ansars (Islamic Guard) and Muslim settlers, began immediately after 29 April.
On 1 May and the following days, law enforcement personnel, together with Muslim settlers, entered a number of indigenous Jumma villages in the Panchari-Khagrachari area and arbitrarily killed the indigenous 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 indigenous 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 Muslim settlers. The Bangladeshi security personnel then opened fire randomly on the groups of villagers who were assembled, killing hundreds of indigenous 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."
May 1986: Matiranga Massacre
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 Bangladesh army. The soldiers opened fire without warning and shot at them randomly, without provocation. Over 70 indigenous indigenous people were killed.
18-19 May 1986: Comillatialla, Taindong Massacre
After the Matiranga massacre a large group of indigenous 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 Muslim 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."
3-10 August 1988: Baghaichari Massacre
From 3 August to 10 August 1988, Bangladesh army and Muslim settlers launched a retaliatory attack against the indigenous people in Baghaichari, Rangamati district. Bangladesh army and Muslim settlers killed about 500 indigenous people including women and children in the retaliatory attack. Bangladesh army and Muslim settlers abducted 25 young indigenous girls and took them to their camps. Their whereabouts are still unknown.
The attack was in retaliation to Shanti Bahini attack on Bangladesh army on 1 August 1988. The Shanti Bahini attacked a contingent of the Bangladesh army while on patrol duty at Durchari in Baghaichari and killed 7 Bangladesh army personnel in the attack.
The affected villages are Durchari, Khedarmara, Battuli, Sarwatuli, Bagaichari etc. Now there is not a single indigenous person in those villages as all of them fled to deep jungle. The dead were given mass burial by the army as there were no indigenous people to cremate them.
4 May 1989: Longadu Massacre
Abdur Rashid, a Muslim community leader was gunned down
by an un-identified gunman. The Bangladesh authority and Muslim settlers suspect that he was gunned down by the Shanti Bahini, due to his involvement in the racially motivated crimes against the indigenous indigenous 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 Muslim settlers) and the Muslim settlers carried out this gruesome massacre. 40 indigenous 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 Muslim 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 Muslim 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.
2 Feb 1992: Malya Massacre
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 Muslim settlers from the plain. The explosion killed one passenger and seriously injured the driver of the boat. The survivors swam ashore, but the armed Muslim 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 indigenous indigenous 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.
10 April 1992: Logang Massacre
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 Muslim settlers.
Bangladesh armed forces forcibly relocated some fifteen
hundred indigenous 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 Muslim settlers free of cost. Then they hatched a plot to find an excuse to get rid of those indigenous prisoners. On 10 April, 1992, Bangladesh army sent 2 Muslim settlers, armed with machete, to rape some indigenous women who were grazing their cattle at their Logang cluster village. The indigenous women tried to defend themselves and at the same time they cried for help. An indigenous man came to their rescue and asked Muslim settler to leave the indigenous women alone. Instead of going away, Muslim settlers attacked the indigenous man and hacked him to death. During the attack, one of the Muslim settlers was also injured. After killing the indigenous man, Muslim settlers 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 Muslim settler as a victim of the Shanti Bahini (SB) attack. On the pretext of searching out the SB, Bangladesh armed forces and Muslim settlers attacked the Logang cluster village. They hacked many indigenous 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 indigenous indigenous people killed at Logang will never be known, as many of the dead bodies had been removed by Bangladesh army 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.
17 Nov 1993: Naniachar Massacre
On 17 November 1993 at least 29 indigenous people were killed and more than a hundred wounded when Muslim settlers, supported by the Bangladesh Army, attacked a peaceful rally of indigenous 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, Muslim 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 Muslim settlers, not to be confused with the Hill Peoples' Council of the indigenous 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 indigenous people. Even the indigenous 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.
Most of the massacres of the indigenous 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 indigenous people were killed by the Bangladeshi security forces and the Muslim 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.