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Indigenous victims of Sajek Muslim attack

On 20 April 2008 Bangladesh army backed Muslim settlers attacked and burnt down 76 indigenous Buddhist houses in Sajek. The aim of the attack was to drive out the indigenous Buddhist villagers and grab their land. The indigenous Chakma Buddhists and their burnt down houses after the attack.


Bengali settlers attack 7 indigenous Chakma villages and burn down 76 houses in Sajek

On 20 April 2008 at night newly infiltrated Muslim settlers with the direct support of Bangladesh army attacked 7 indigenous villages throughout the 4 kilometre long area from Nursery Para to Gangaram Mukh areas of Sajek union under Baghaichari sub-district. 76 indigenous houses were burnt to ashes. Muslim settlers indiscriminately beat the indigenous people including women and children and looted valuables of the houses during the attack. The attack lasted for almost 4 hours from 9.30 pm to 1.30 am. The Muslim settlers were led by Selim Bahari and Golam Molla, both presidents of so called Sama Odhikar Andolon of Baghaichari and Baghaihat respectively.

Recently Bangladesh army started settlement programme of newly infiltrated Muslim settlers along the roadsides of Sajek road from Baghaichari to Gangaram Mukh. Bangladesh army forcibly occupied the land from the indigenous Chakma people. Indigenous Chakma people have been living in this area since time immemorial. The indigenous people vehemently protested against the illegal settlement programme. Despite objection, the Muslim settlers illegally constructed houses on indigenous owned land at Gangaram area. On 19 April around 2.00 a.m. the Muslim settlers destroyed a dozen of indigenous Chakma houses at Bhanga Karbari Para. On 20 April indigenous people also destroyed some settler houses that were illegally constructed couple days ago. In retaliation, the Muslim settlers equipped with sharp weapons started attack on indigenous villages at 9.30 pm. The indigenous Chakma villagers also organised themselves to prevent the attack. At that time, a group of Bangladesh army personnel led by Lt. Col. Sajid Imtiaz rushed to the scene. However, they did not prevent the Muslim settlers from setting indigenous houses on fire. Rather, the army led by Lt. Col. Sajid Imtiaz and Capt. Zabaedur Rahman supplied petrol to the Muslim settlers to set indigenous Chakma houses on fire. 76 indigenous houses of 7 villages namely Nursery Para, Baibachara, Purba Para, Nangal Mura, Retkaba, Simana para and Gangaram Mukh were completely burnt down.

Muslim settlers also attacked 3 indigenous villages namely Trishankar Karbari Para, Kachu Adam and Shanti Member Para adjacent to Baghaihat bazar. On 21 April at around 10.30 am a group of Muslim settlers encircle the shop of Anunay Chakma (52) of Baghaihat bazar. However some shopkeepers of the market rescued him from the Muslim settlers.

Bangladesh army have increased settlement of Muslim settlers in Khagrachari municipality, Mahalchari, Dighinala and Panchari by taking the advantage of 'State of Emergency' rule imposed on 11 January 2007 throughout the country. 200 Muslim families were already settled on the indigenous people's land in March 2007 at Dantkupya mouza under Khagrachari district. A new army camp was also set up there to provide protection to the Muslim settlers. Muslim settlers constructed hundreds of houses at Gamaridhala, Maischari, Nunchari, Bijitala, Joysen Karbari Para etc. by forcibly occupying indigenous owned land. Tension had been mounting in Dighinala where Bangladesh army tried to settle 812 Muslim families at Sadhana Tilla of Babuchara mouza in Dighinala. BNP-led last coalition government undertook programme to settle 10,000 Muslim families in Sajek union close to Maini reserved forest. Since imposition of the 'State of Emergency' rule on 11 January 2007, Bangladesh army resumed this settlement programme occupying indigenous people's land.

Bangladesh government distributed most of relief to the Muslimi settlers. Indigenous people are not interested go near army camp to receive relief due to security fear. In addition, Bangladesh army always favours Muslim settlers in providing relief. Bangladesh army controls the preparation of victim list and dominates the distribution of relief. Even Rangamati Hill District Council handed over a grant of Taka 100,000 to commanding officer Lt. Col. Sajid Imtiaz for distribution.

The indigenous Chakma villagers who lost their homes are indentified as

Daine Baibachara village including Shanti Member Para and Kachu Adam

  1. Bimal Kanti Chakma
  2. Shanti Bikash Chakma(1)
  3. Nayan Ranjan Member
  4. Brisha Muni Chakma
  5. Chiringo Chakma
  6. Subhanga Chakma
  7. Dayal Kista Chakma
  8. Kina Chan Ckakma
  9. Shyamal Kanti Chakma
  10. Pratilata Chakma
  11. Shanti Jiban Chakma
  12. Gobinda Chakma
  13. Subolya Chakma
  14. Kala Kachu Chakma
  15. Jyosna Rani Chakma (Member)
  16. Rabi Shankar Chakma
  17. Rupayan Master
  18. Shakya Bodhi Master
  19. Neuton Chakma (Dr.)
  20. Rakhi Chakma
  21. Nihar Kanti Chakma
  22. Nirmal Kanti Chakma
  23. Chigon Chiji Chakma
  24. Dhabana Chakma
  25. Shanti Ranjan Ckakma
  26. Kala Chan Chakma
  27. Neuton Chakma (Kalabo)
  28. Kamini Ranjan Chakma
  29. Sushi Ranjan Chakma
  30. Rabi Ranjan Chakma
  31. Baratya Chakma
  32. Shanti Bikash Chakma (2)
  33. Suma Chakma (Para Kendra School)

Gangaram Mukh village

  1. Gyana Chakma
  2. Sunesh Chakma
  3. Kaladhan Chakma
  4. Jagadish Chakma
  5. Lorbo Chakma
  6. Maratshaw Chakma
  7. Ajit Chakma
  8. Mangal Sadhan Chakma
  9. Chiranta Master
  10. Suman Chakma
  11. Chandra Mohan Chakma

Baghaihat Purba Para village

  1. Jyoti Moy Chakma
  2. Kala Maratya Chakma
  3. Arun Bikash Chakma
  4. Jagadish Chakma
  5. Rupan Chakma
  6. Bhubati Chakma
  7. Sumati Ranjan Chakma
  8. Dhana Gula Chakma
  9. Nilamoy Chakma
  10. Mangal Sen Chakma
  11. Dhana Bikash Chakma
  12. Gyana Ranjan Chakma
  13. Sunil Kanti Chakma
  14. Trishankar Chakma
  15. Paran Sona Chakma
  16. Monu Ranjan Chakma
  17. Dulal Chakma
  18. Amar Bikash Chakma
  19. Rumel Chakma
  20. Bangalya Chakma
  21. Laxmi Kumar Chakma
  22. Samar Kanti Chakma
  23. Amar Kanti Chakma
  24. Minal Chakma
  25. Laxmindra Chakma
  26. Indra Raj Chakma
  27. Aiub Kanti Chakma

Retaabachara village

  1. Mon Mohan Chakma
  2. Ranesh Chakma
  3. Kinadhan Chakma
  4. Ladu Muni Chakma
  5. Goyeshur Chakma

Sources:

Kapaeeng Foundation
(An Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)
E-mail: kapaeeng.foundation@gmail.com, kapaeeng.watch@gmail.com

Copyright 2008 Committee for International Campaign. All Rights Reserved