Bangladesh army and Bengali settlers attack indigenous Marma Buddhists in Kaukhali
On 25 July 2005 the Bangladesh army along with some Muslim settlers attacked Harangi Para (Marma inhabited village) in Kaukhali. At least 23 indigenous Marma villagers were beaten by the Bangladesh army and Muslim settlers during the attack.
It was a market day. Around 5.00 pm, some Marma men and women were returning home together from Kaukhali bazar. Among them, Ms. Sanu Bhai Marma (15) d/o late Chaprue Marma of Harangi Para entered the jungle in response to natural call after crossing Shamukchari-Ichamati Bridge. At that time two Muslim settlers, namely Mohamed Jabbar Ali and Mohamed Yakub Ali, caught her back and tried to rape. She was shouting loudly and the other companions rushed there to rescue her. Mohamed Jabbar Ali was caught by the Marmas and Mohamed Yakub Ali fled into the direction of Kaukhai bazar. After beating, Mohamed Jabbar Ali was released.
After the incident Mohamed Jabbar Ali went to Panchari (Ghilachari) army camp and propagated that the Marma villagers ran after them to kill. He could narrowly escape and his companion might be caught and killed by the Marma villagers. Then and there, a group of Bangladesh army Panchari (Ghilachari) army camp of 23 Bengal under Ghagra zone along with some Muslim settlers rushed to Harangi Para and gathered villagers in a place. Without any enquiry, the Bangladesh army ordered villagers to find out Mohamed Yakub Ali and started to beat villagers side by side. But the villagers failed to do so as they knew nothing where Jabbar Ali fled. At the last, the army arrested two Marma villagers, namely, Mr. Aungshi Marma and Mr. Reihla Mong Marma and brought them to the camp. On the other, the Bangladesh army and Muslim settlers ordered the Marma villagers to find out Mohamed Yakub Ali by next day, otherwise they would attack village and destroy completely. The following villagers were beaten:
Next day on 26 July 2005 the Muslim settlers held meeting at the mosque and threatened the indigenous villagers again to find out Mohamed Yakub Ali, otherwise they would attack indigenous villages. They extended their ultimatum one day more to 27 July 2005 to find out the Muslim settler. As a result, some indigenous villagers of Harangi Para, Lambia Para, Ghilachari, Talukdar Para and Shamukya Para fled to more safer area worrying possible attack by the Muslim settlers and Bangladesh army.
To mitigate the tension, the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Kaukhali upazila (sub-district) called meeting with the representatives of Muslim settlers and indigenous people on 27 July 2005. He urged both ethnic groups to be patient. On the other, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Rangamati district Sheikh Muhammad Maruf Hasan visited Kaukhali on 28 July 2005. Deputy Commissioner of Rangamati district Mohamed Gazi Muhammad Julhas, SP and UNO acknowledged that the missing Muslim settler Mohamed Yakub Ali was found. The arrested Marma villagers were also released by the army. At present, the administration claims the situation is under control.
It was learnt by reliable source that Mohamed Yakub Ali was not missing. He was kept hidden by the Muslim settlers to create communal tension and with this chance they could attack Harangi Para and Lambia Para to uproot indigenous villagers and occupy their land. The land of indigenous people is very close to Muslim settlers’ villages, such as, Nihlachari, Kaukhali, Betchari, Muni Para, Ghilachari etc.
Sources:PCJSS (Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti)
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