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 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 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'
Kaukhali Massacre, 25/03/1980:
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 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 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.
Bhusanchara Massacre, 31/05/1984:
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).
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
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 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."
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 Bangladesh army. The soldiers opened
fire without warning and shot at them randomly, without provocation.
Over 70 indigenous Jumma people were killed.
Comillatialla-Taindong Massacre, 18-19/05/1986:
After the Matiranga massacre a large group of indigenous 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 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
"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."
Bangladesh Army and Muslim
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.
Longadu Massacre, 4/05/1989:
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 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
Muslim settlers) and the Muslim 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 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.
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 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 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
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 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 Jumma 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.
Naniachar Massacre, 17/11/1993:
On 17 November 1993 at least 29 Jumma people were killed
and more than a hundred wounded when Muslim 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, 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 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.
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 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.