Bangladesh police arrest an indigenous Chakma man for alleged involvement with abduction of settler fishermen in Barkal
On 19 December 2011, Bangladesh police arrested Mr. Dilip Kumar Chakma, Chairman of Bhushanchara Union Parishad from Petrol Pump area of Banarupa Bazaar of Rangamati Town for alleged involvement with abduction of Muslim settler fishermen in Barkal.
On 4 December 2011 at night 5 Muslim settler fishermen went missing from Karnafuly lake area of Tagalakbak-Amtala area under Barkal adjacent to the border of Indian State of Mizoram. They went there from Bhushanchara area under Barkal for fishing. Following the missing of 5 Muslim settler fishermen, Bangladesh police arrested Mr. Dilip Kumar Chakma, Chairman of the Bhushanchara union alleging involvement with this incident. Bangladesh law-enforcement agencies have been continuosly harassing local indigenous people in Barkal in connection with this incident.
It is learnt that 10 settler fishermen went there in two boats (5 in each) for fishing. 5 of them who were in a boat together were kidnapped, but other five fishermen returned home safely. It is also mentionable that the returnee fishermen did not inform the incident to the nearest Tagalakbak BGB camp or Bara Harina Mukh BGB camp. After passing those two camps, they came to Choto Harina Bazaar and informed the incident to 18 BGB Battalion zone situated at Choto Harina Bazaar under Barkal in Rangamati district. It is also learnt that last year BGB authority ordered Muslim settler fishermen not to go for fishing to that border areas which are known as ‘Zero Point’ and regarded as ‘No Man’s Land’ area.
Following the news of the kidnapping of the fishermen, Sama Odhikar Andolan, a communal organisation and other communal groups have become very prompt to instigate the Muslim settlers to attack indigenous people. They have been trying to spread communal tension in the area and to organise demonstrations.
On 16 December 2011 Muslim settlers brought down 9 indigenous Pangkhuas including Christian priest Mr. George John and Mr. Roak Tha at Bhushanchara bazaar from a launch which was approaching Rangamati from Bara Harina bazaar and tried to assault them. However, the Pangkhuas narrowly escaped the attack as the BGB personnel rushed there to save them.
On 19 December 2011 the Muslim settlers in association with the influential vested interest groups filed a case with Barkal police station against 24 indigenous people including Chairman of Bhushanchara Union Parishad falsely accusing them of involvement with the incident. At evening of 19 December 2011, police arrested Mr. Dilip Kumar Chakma, Chairman of Bhushanchara Union Parishad from Petrol Pump area of Banarupa Bazaar of Rangamati Town. Bangladesh Union Parishad Forum Rangamati district committee in a press release on 22 December 2011 signed by its President Mr. Arun Kanti Chakma and General Secretary Mr. S M Chowdhury condemned and protested the arrest and demanded immediate release of Dilip Kumar Chakma.
It is learnt that hundreds of innocent indigenous villagers of Bara Harina union, Bhushanchara union and many of Aimachara union are fleeing away leaving their homes and villages fearing any communal attack from the nearby Muslim settlers. As they cannot go to bazaar or anywhere else, they are suffering much in their daily life. Many children could not attend their annual examination due to security problem, as there is no alternative route except river route where Muslim settler habitats exist. Even indigenous students of some 26 government and registered primary schools could not attend their scholarship examination of class four for the same problem.
(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)
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