Bengali settlers attack indigenous people in Ramgarh
On 25 June 2001, the Muslim settlers attacked indigenous people of Ramgarh. The settlers backed by Bangladesh army attacked indigenous villages of Bulturam Tila, Jagannathpara, Sukendraypara, Chowdhurypara, South Garjantali etc. The action lasted about 4 hours. Total 126 indigenous houses were burnt down. The indigenous villagers received serious injuries while they tried to resist the attack.
On 23 June 2001, a truck driver narned Atar Ali was abducted by unknown gunmen from the area of Ramgarh. Later the abductors shot dead Atar Ali. To vehemently protest the incident a gathering was organized at Ramgarh Municipal Auditorium under the banner of 'Bangalee Krisak Sramik Kalyan Parishad' on 25 June 2001. The gathering was presided by Rajaul Karim Helal and Ualiullah. At the gathering the settlers were agitated with communal hatred. At the end of the gathering the agitated settlers joined a procession at Ramgarh. When the procession arrivee at Masterpara (an indigenous village) the settlers threw molotov cocktail at the village. The settlers announced through loudspeakers from the two local Mosques that members of Hill Students Council had attacked the procession and killed 3 Bengalees. Therefore all settlers come forward to resist the tribals where ever they were. Within few minutes the settlers attacked the indigenous villages with machetes, spears and firearms.
At first the Muslim settlers broke and looted the office of the PCJSS and the Pahari Chatra Parishad (PCP). However, the settlers abstained from setting the office on fire as there were settler houses surrounding the office.
The Muslim settlers looted and burnt down indigenous houses at Balturam Tila, Jagannathpara, Dhebarpara, Sukendrapara, Choudhurypara, Masterpara and South Garjantali villages one by one. About 150‑200 attackers divided into 6‑7 groups burnt the indigenous houses after pouring kerosene. The settlers threw molotov cocktails to create terror among the indigenous people. During that time most of the indigenous people were busy in fields, offices and businesses.
The attack started at 12.30 pm and continued for four hours. Some Bangladesh army and police personnel helped the Muslim settlers by supplying them with petrol and kerosene. The BDR Zone commander Lt. Colonel Abu Taher said to the settlers "you are given 2 hours time to do whatever you wish".
The Muslim settlers beat and drove out the indigenous people who were trying to extinguish the fire. Many of them tried to take shelter in the BDR out post, but the BDR personnel refused to give them shelter. Hundreds of indigenous men and women fled across the border and took shelter in India. It is mentionable that most of the affected were returnee refugees repatriated from India after the CHT Accord 1997. The army backed Muslim settlers grabbed their land and homesteads in 1980s. They did not get back their land and homesteads after they returned from refugee camps in India in 1998.
The main purpose of the attack is to occupy the indigenous people's land and drive them to India. It is known that alleged indigenous gunmen did not kill Atar Ali. A few days earlier the truck owner expelled previous truck driver and appointed Atar Ali. Many local people suspect that the driver who was expelled killed Atar Ali out of anger.
The perpetrators of the attack were identified as:
Sources:PCJSS (Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti)
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