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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

FEBRUARY ETHNIC VIOLENCE, CHT watchdog wants independent inquiry

Courtesy: The New Age, Dhaka, 30 June 2010

CHT watchdog wants
independent inquiry

Staff Correspondent

The Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission on Tuesday urged the government to institute a high-level independent investigation of the arson attacks and killings in Baghaihat of Rangamati and in Khagrachari town in February 19-23 this year.
The watchdog comprising rights defenders from both home and abroad came up with a series of recommendations after their week-long tour of Khagrachari and Rangamati hill districts to ascertain what actually had happened during the February disturbances and identify the factors underlying them.
The commission also called for thoroughly examining the allegations that the acts of violence had taken place in the presence of security forces and law enforcement personnel and bringing persons responsible to book.
It recommended that security and proper rehabilitation of the affected people be ensured and that they should be provided with due compensation. It called for ensuring freedom of expression for all, including citizens’ groups, journalists and the victims and witnesses of these violent incidents; and for taking steps to prevent any forms of intimidation or suppression of the voices, views, and forms of non-violent protest by the hill people.
The commission found disputes over Baghaihat market as a factor for the February violence and asked the government to take adequate measures to remove the difficulties faced by the hill people in the market and encourage them to participate in the market of their own volition, rather than being forced to do so. It called for stopping settlement by Bengali migrants along Baghaihat-Sajek road ‘with the tacit support of the military and civil authorities.’
The commission emphasised immediate amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act 2001 as per provisions of the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts accord and implementation of the recommendations made by the regional council. It said all future decisions of the land commission should be made with the hill leaders’ consent.
It also stressed the need for phased withdrawal of temporary military camps in the region in accordance with the CHT deal to reduce the extent of ‘undue military control and resultant tensions’ in order to restore normalcy in the region.
The commission delegation comprising Shapan Adnan, Meghna Guhathakurta, Tom Eskildsen, Christina Nilsson and Hana Shams Ahmed visited Khagrachari and Rangamati in June 18-24.
They observed that the arson attacks of February 2010 were nothing new but the latest in a series of such incidents. ‘Construction of a metalled road has been undertaken under the auspices of army engineers from Baghaihat towards the Sajek valley in the remote interior. Allegations have been made that ethnic minorities living on both sides of the road would be evicted and Bengali settlers would be placed on their lands.
This apprehension was corroborated by the accelerated pace of Bengalis in migration and construction of their settlements on lands used by ethnic minorities during the rule of the military-backed interim government when the army operated with a free hand,’ said the report which had been sent to the prime minister.

Land Commission's task in CHT termed eyewash

Courtesy: the Daily Star, Dhaka, Wednesday, June 30, 2010,

Land Commission's task in CHT termed eyewash

Our Correspondent, Rangamati

Leaders of Parbatya Chattagram Nagorik Committee, a civil society body of indigenous leaders in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), have demanded postponement of the ongoing tasks by the CHT Land Disputes Resolution Commission (CHTLDRC) until amendment to the commission in line with the CHT peace deal.

The hill people will never be benefited if the commission is run in the present way,
the indigenous leaders said at a press conference at Roof Restaurant at Banarupa in the town yesterday.

Blaming the Land Commission Chairman Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury for running the commission activities 'on his unilateral decision' they also demanded his removal from the post.

As per the CHT accord, first work of the commission is to settle the land disputes of ethnic people who returned back from India as well as internally displaced jummo people, and cancellation of illegally provided settlement in hills but the work sees hardly any progress, they said.

Committee president Goutam Dewan, also ex-chairman of Rangamati Local Government Council, committee secretary Jasheswar Chakma, member advocate Gayanendu Bikash Chakma, Anjulika Khisa, Prakriti Ranjan Chakma, Bijoy Keton Chakma, municipality councilor Mohti Chakma and Bodhi Satta Chakma spoke at the conference.

Terming the Land Commission's ongoing activities as 'eyewash', they said the commission chairman is carrying out its activities bypassing the indigenous leaders, those who are the members of the commission.

Land disputes in hills cannot be resolved if the indigenous leaders who represent the ethnic people remain absent from the commission meetings, they said.
Secretary of the commission recently circulated public notice for two times for submission of applications by the affected people but it was done without any decision from the commission meeting, the indigenous leaders said.

As people are very confused about the matter, there was very little response to the call for submission of applications about disputed lands while most of the people who submitted applications are Bangali settlers, they said.

Earlier, a procession of Parbatya Chattagram Nagorik Committee went from district Shilpakala Academy to the DC office.

The indigenous leaders submitted a memorandum to the prime minister through Rangamati deputy commissioner urging realisation of their seven-point demand.
The demands include removal of land commission Chairman Justice Khademul and appointment of a 'progressive minded' justice to the post, postponement of all activities of the commission until the CHTLDRC Act 2001 is amended in line with provisions of the CHT peace deal, appointment of an indigenous person as commission secretary, enactment of new laws to establish the traditional land rights of the ethnic people.

The government on July 19 last year appointed Justice Khademul as chairman of the Land Commission.

New office of the commission was set up at Khagrachhari on March 14 this year.

Hill civic body wants no land commission activities until law changed

Courtesy: The New Age, Dhaka, 30 June 2010

Hill civic body wants no land
commission activities
until law changed

Staff Correspondent

A civic forum in Rangamati on Tuesday urged the government to stop Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Settlement Commission activities until the amendment to the 2001 act regarding the commission.
The forum also demanded removal of the commission chairman Khademul Islam for his ‘controversial role’ and appointment of a person having non-communal ideals.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Citizens’ Committee at a briefing urged the government to amend the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act 2001 clauses which were contradictory to the 1997 CHT Accord, frame regulations in keeping with Section 18 of the Land Commission Act, and enact laws required to uphold the customary land rights of the ethnic minority people living in the hills.
They said the commission chairman had not shown much interest in gaining the cooperation of hill people’s leaders and unilaterally decided to hold a cadastral survey of the hill districts going beyond his jurisdiction.
The forum demanded his removal from the position and appointment of someone having non-communal ideals.
They accused the commission chairman of not convening any formal meeting of the commission and entertaining all land-related complaints.
The chairman earlier made a public notification seeking complaints from affected parties without consulting the commission members, they said.
The leaders also called for appointment of the member secretary of the commission from ethnic minority communities as the most of the people, who lost their land because of the unstable situation in the hills, cannot speak Bangla.
The committee president, Gautam Dewan, Anjulika Khisha, Hlapru Jimi, Jnanendu Bikash Chakma, Bijay Ketan Chakma, Prakriti Ranjan Chakma, Shantoshita Chakma and Abhay Prakash Chakma attended the briefing.
The citizen’s committee earlier brought out a procession from the Shilpakala Academy in Rangamati and marched towards the deputy commissioner’s office to submit a memorandum to the prime minister.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jumma civic bodies denounce the Land Commission Chairman, send memo to the Prime Minister for action against his controversail role

Mr. Cahla Prue Jimmy who represents his elderly father, the Circle Chief of Bohmong Circle, Bandarban to different meetings delivers speech before meeting the Deputy Commissioner.

The CHT Jumma civic bodies oraganised a rally at Rangamati town today to denounce the controversial role of the CHT Land Commission Chairman. Under the banner of Parbatya Jelar Nagorik Samaj (Rangamati, Khagarachari, Bandarban) i.e. Citizenry of Hill District (Rangamati, Khagarachari, Bandarban) a rally was organised today at 11.00am and handed over a memo signed by 281 leaders to the Deputy Commissioner of Rangamati Hill District at 12.00pm addressed to the Prime Minister.

DC Mr. Sourendra Nath Chatterjee, Rangamati receives Mr. Goutam Dewan and team at his chamber.

About 600 hundred Jumma leaders both men and women from three Hill Districts of the CHT participated to the rally. A short open meeting was organised at court building square before handing over the memo. Mr. Cahla Prue Jimmy (son of Bohmoung Circle Chief, Bandarban) and Mr. Santoshita Chakma Bakul (General Secretary, India Returned Jumma Refugees’ Welfare Association) delivered speech and Ms. Anjulika Khisa(retired District Prymary Education Officer) readout the memo for general information.

The rlly gathers at court building square.

Mr. Sourendra Nath Chatterjee, the Deputy Commissioner received the leaders cordially and also received the memo on behalf of the Prime Minister.

The leaders met the media at a press conference at Roof Top restaurant at around 12.30 pm. About 60 persons were there. Mr. Goutam Dewan was the main person to cater the questions of the media persons.

Mr. Goutam Dewan meets the media at the press conference at Roof Top restaurant.

Prominent civil society and community figures participated to this open move to oppose the most controversial roles of Mr. Khademul Islam, the Chairman of the CHT Land Dispute Disposal Commission. Today’s move is the first open action against the Land Commission Chair. The move was actually initiated by the Citizen's Committee which was formed on 10 April this year in Dhaka to press for the implementation of the CHT Accord under the leadership of Mr. Goutam Dewan (former Rangamati Hill District Council Chairman) and Mr. Jaseshwar Chakma Biltu (a social figure and ex-combatanat leader) as President and general Secretary respectively.

(from left to right) Ms. Jubatara Dewan (With white blouse. Wife of late Upendra Lal Chakma, former MP), Advocate Susmita Chakma, Ms. Angela Dewan (Retired District Women Affairs Officer), Ms. Anjulika Khisa (Retired District Primary Education Officer), Ms. Nirupa Dewan (Retired Head Master, Rangamati Govt. High School and recently appointed Commissioner, Bangladesh Human Rights Commission)and Ms. Latika Chakma (Retired teacher of Maonaghar Sishu Sadan, Rangapanya, Rangamati) are seen to lead the rally.

Monday, June 21, 2010

CHT Commission comes under cannon fire at Baghaihat, closed door meeting with UPDF at Khagarachari

Courtesy: June 21, 2010, Dhaka.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The first graduate of the Khumi community

Courtesy: Prothom Alo, Shapna Niye, Supplementary of Tuesday, 16 June 2010

[Please see an entry on him under the caption "Lelung: the hero of the threatened Khumis" ( this blogger, uploaded on 29 May 2010]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ILO on Bangladesh indigenous peoples, CHT Accord and the CHT Land Commission

Monitoring Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Rights through ILO Conventions _ A compilation of ILO Supervisory Bodies’ Comments 2009-2010

Please visit pages 27-29 to consult the original text:

The implementation of all ILO Conventions is monitored by the ILO supervisory bodies. This allows a continuous dialogue to take place between the Organization and the Governments concerned with the involvement of employers’ and workers’ organizations (trade unions), with a view to strengthening the implementation of these Conventions. The aim of the present publication is to present some of the most recent comments adopted by the ILO supervisory bodies concerning indigenous and tribal peoples. They are preceded by a brief introduction to the ILO supervisory mechanisms.

Some comments of the ILO Supervisory bodies:
"Considering that the implementation of the outstanding provisions are crucial with aview to building and consolidating peace in the region, the Committee requests the government to take the measures necessary to achieve the full implementation of the Peace Accord and to provide detailed information on the progress made in this regard. Please also provide information on the implementation of Clause B, section 34."

"The Committee requests the Government to provide information on the concrete measures taken by the relevant line ministries responsible for the action in favour of indigenous communities in the plains and the CHT envisaged under the NSAPR and on the results achieved in improving their situation. It also requests the Government to report on the progress made in adopting and implementing National Indigenous People's Policy as mentioned in the NSAPR. Finally, the Committee requests that the Government ensure appropriate collaboration and participation of the indigenous communities and their representatives concerned in the design and implementation of measures affecting them, in keeping with Article 5 of the Convention, and to provide information in this regard."

"The Committee requests the Government to provide, on a continuing basis, information on legislative developments relating to the application of the Convention with regard to the indigenous communities of the plains and and the CHT."

"The Committee hopes that the process of amending the Land Commission Act will be concluded without delay, and requests the Government to provide the information on the measures taken to this end and any others measures taken to enable the Land Commission to fulfil its functions."

"Recalling that under article 11 of the Convention, the right of ownership, collective or individual, of the members of the populations concerned over the lands which these populations traditionally occupy shall be recognized, the Committee urges the Government to take immediate steps to ensure that the land rights of indigenous people and communities in Bangladesh, including those of the plains, are fully recognized and effectively protected, in collaboration with their leaders. The Committee requests the Government to provide detailed information on the specific measures taken in this in this regard, including measures to investigate fully reports of illegal seizures of traditional lands of indigenous communities. In addition, the Committee requests the Government to provide information on the progress made in adopting and implementing the national land policy for indigenous communities envisiged under the NSAPR."

"While noting that, according to the Government, all refugees from India have been rehabilitated, the Committee requests the Government to provide information on the specific activities undertaken by the Task Force with regard to internally displaced indigenous persons in the CHT who have yet to be rehabilitated. It once gain requests the Government to indicate the number of internally displaced indigenous persons yet to be rehabilitated."

"The Committee requests the Government to indicate the measures taken to ensure that indigenous communities have the possibility to continue to engage in jum cultivation, including through accelerating measures protecting their land rights, and the measures taken to include shifting cultivation in relevant policies and programmes regarding rural development."

(Please check the original text for appropriate words/spellings).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Asian NGOs concerned at govt failure to appoint HR instt members

Monday, June 14, 2010

Diplomatic Correspondent

The Asian NGOs Network on National Human Rights Institutions has expressed grave concern over the failure of the governments in Asia, including Bangladesh, to appoint members to their national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in accordance with the Paris Principles.

This illustrates the lack of political will by these governments to strengthen their NHRIs, the NGOs Network said in a statement received in Dhaka yesterday.

To date, there are at least two NHRIs in Asia that still do not have commissioners -- the Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission (BNHRC) and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), the NGOs Network said, adding that human rights violations continue to take place in these countries.

In Bangladesh, the chairperson and two commissioners of the National Human Rights Commission were appointed in December 2008. However, on July 9, 2009 the parliament passed a new law entitled the 'National Human Rights Commission Act 2009', which was approved by the President on July 13, 2009.

Under the new law, the commission should have one full time and six part-time commissioners. However, before the new law came into force, the two commissioners that had already been appointed resigned and the chairperson is now left alone sitting in the commission. New commissioners have yet to be appointed by the government, the NGOs Network said.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

18 injured in attack on pickets in Rangamati

Courtesy: The New Age, Dhaka, Metropolitan, 13 June 2010

Violence marked the half-day blockade of roads and waterways enforced by a faction of Hill Women’s Federation in Rangamati on Saturday leaving 18 injured, including three newsmen.

Locals and witnesses said some 60 Bengali settlers wielding sticks pounced on the ethnic minority leaders and activists who were picketing Rangamati-Chittagong road in Manikchhari area at about 11:30am.

The hill women’s organisation backed by the United People’s Democratic Front enforced the blockade in protest against Rangamati deputy commissioner’s refusal to allow them to hold a rally marking the 14th anniversary of the abduction of its leader Kalpana Chakma which fell on Saturday.

The Rangamati district administration refused to allow rival ethnic minority groups belonging to the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti and the UPDF fearing ‘deterioration of law and order.’

The HWF leaders said that the settlers led by Sapchhari unit Juba Dal president Sagir Ahmed and Sama Adhikar Andolan leader Abu Bakar Siddique attacked them with sticks and lethal weapons in presence of police and military personnel.

Three journalists also incurred the wrath of the attackers. They beat up M Solaiman of Naya Diganta, Nandan Devnath of Channel i and Milton Barua, who were gathering news and taking photographs at the spot. The settlers smashed Nandan’s camera and laptop. The three journalists have been admitted to Rangamati General Hospital.

Samir Chakma, an activist of Democratic Youth Forum, was struck on the head with a machete. He has been admitted to hospital. The injured also include HWF vice-president Nirupa Chakma, Mita Chakma, Sharmila Chakma, Rimi Chakma, Shakil Chakma, Swarnalata Chakma, Gurimila Chakma, Sohagi Chakma, Binay Chakma and Riku Chakma.

The protesters also brought out processions at different places, including Naniarchar, Kawkhali, Manikchhari, Kutukchhari and Bilaichhari upazila headquarters.

They urged the government to immediate publish the report of the inquiry committee formed to investigate the Kalpana Chakma case.

Traffic on roads in the district and plying of launches on waterways remained suspended in the district during the six-hour blockade.

Kalpana Chakma, the then organising secretary of HWF, was kidnapped allegedly by army personnel from her house at New Lalyaghona of Baghaichhari on June 12 in 1996. She never returned.

The government formed an investigation committee but no report was published till date.

Attack on HWF Leaders, Workers 3 journos, 12 others hurt in Rangamati

Courtesy: Dhaka, 13 June 2010

Staff Correspondent

At least 15 people including three journalists were injured in an attack allegedly by Bangalee settlers in Rangamati yesterday.

The incident occurred during a blockade on roads and waterways enforced by Hill Women's Federation (HWF), a political platform for women based in Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Around 50 to 60 settlers with sticks attacked leaders and activists of HWF around 11:30am when they brought out a procession and barricaded Rangamati-Chittagong highway at Manikchhari in sadar upazila.

The journalists-- M Solaiman and Nandan Devnath, district correspondents of Diganta Television and Bangla Vision, and Milton, cameramen of ATN-- were admitted to a sadar hospital.

The HWF leaders said the settlers made the attack in presence of police and army personnel, reports our Rangamati correspondent.

On information, a police team led by Officer-in-Charge of Kotwali Police Station Babul Uddin Sarder rushed to the spot, and brought the situation under control.

The HWF leaders also brought out processions at different places including Naniachar, Kawkhali, Manikchhari, Kutukchhari and Bilaichhari upazilas in support of the blockade.

They urged the government to publish immediately the report of the enquiry committee formed to investigate the Kalpana Chakma case.

Vehicular movements remained suspended for eight hours in the district.
The women's organisation enforced the blockade programme at 6:00am yesterday in protest at the local administration's decision refusing to let them use the town hall for a meeting.

The leaders said they had gone to the Rangamati municipality authorities for taking permission to hold the meeting at the town hall yesterday, marking the Kalpana Chakma Kidnapping Day, but the authorities refused them.

HWF announced the blockade on Friday at a press conference at United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) office at Kutukchhari in sadar upazila.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tabling of issue of Constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples before the Parliament demanded

Courtesy: Prothom Alo, Dhaka, 12 June 2010

Disabled Bangladesh Human Rights Commission weeps for humanity

Courtesy: Prothom Alo, Dhaka, 12 June 2010

Revolutionary leader Kalpana's abduction denounced at Khagarachari

PCP (Hill Students Council) of Khagarachari College branch (which supports the PCJSS led by Sudha Sindhu Khisa, Rupayan Dewan and Tatindra Lal Chakma) today organised a protest meeting against the abduction of Kalpana Chakma at Khagarachari Shahid Minar square of Khagarachari College at 11.00 am. The demonstration was chaired by student leader Riton Chakma while speakers were Sudirgha Chakma, former General Secretary of the PCP Central Committee; Socialist Women's Forum leader Ms. Kristi Chakma; Pratay Chakma, President of PCP Khagarachari branch; Khelu Aung Marma, PCP Manikchari branch and Amor Singh Chakma, General Secretary of PCP Khagarachari College branch.

A press release issued today by Amor Singh Chakma, General Secretary, Khagarachari College branch of PCP says that the speakers said, civil administration prevails in 61 districts of the country except in the CHT region. As a result the CHT have been turned into a military war-zone with the imposition of many restrictions. Restriction enforced in all political activities testifies that there is no any democracy in Khagarachari.

The government has not brought Lt. Ferdous, the abductor of Kalpana Chakma to book. It even, failed to tell the countrymen the where about of Kalpana Chakma in last 14 years, the speakers said. The present government has even snatched away our rights to demand justice of the abduction of Kalpana Chakma. The administration did not allow us use loud speakers and organise rally, still we have gathered here by removing hindrances and no restrictions can subside the Jumma movement for achieving rights, the speakers said.

Demands put forward in the demonstration: 1. To award appropriate punishment to the persons responsible through immediate trial; 2. To withdraw all restrictions imposed on political activities in Khagarachari; 3. To conduct inquiry of all genocides and abductions in the CHT and trial those accordingly.

Pro-Santu Larma Hill Women Federation demanded the Kalpana Chakma Abduction inquiry commission report to make public at a human chain organised in front of the National Museum in Dhaka on 12 June. The programme was arranged to to demand 5 demands. Ms Muching Marma, President of the HWF, university teacher Mesbah Kamal, Robaet Ferdous, Jobaida Nashrin, women leader Farida Akhtar, BIPF General Secretary Sanjib Drong, PCJSS organising secretary Saktipada Tripura, Adivasi Chatra Sangram Parishad organising secretary Mong wae Ching Marma and PCP president Bablu Chakma.

Ms. Kalpana Chakma, the revolutionary leader of the Jumma nation was abducted from her home at New Lalya Ghona, Baghaichari on 12th June 1996. An inquiry Commission was commissioned in 1996 by the then Awami League government but did not disclose the report which establishes the popular claim of Lt. Ferdous' direct involvement in the crime.

Is Rangamati Awami League taking hard line against PCJSS?

Is Rangamati Awami League going to take hard line against PCJSS on the question of alleged abduction and serious torture of their leaders on 8th instant?

A report claims that MoCHTA State Minister Mr. Dipankar Talukdar M.P. did not sit with Mr. Santu Larma yesterday at a marriage ceremony at Forest Hill, a community centre at Rangamati. Mr. Santu Larma and Mr. Nikhil Chakma (Chairman, Rangamati Hill District Council) were talking at a place at the community centre and Mr. Talukdar's sitting arrangement was set there. But, Mr. Talukdar did not sit with them and occupied a chair at a distant corner. To seeing this Mr.Larma did not stay any longer there and left the community centre without food.

"Demonstration by Awami League, Youth League and Student League at Rangamati", a Prothom Alo news report in today's issue.

A source claims that the Police has lodged a case against 40 PCJSS and PCP activists. A senior leader of Rangamati District Awami League claims that the issue has been taken up with the PCJSS Vice President and stern warning was given for attempting on the lives of the leaders of Awami League family.

CHT Land Commission announces a 90-day extension for application

The CHT Land Commission in its last bid extended time-frame for application for land dispute resolution. The press note issued by the commission on last Thursday announces declaration of a 90-day extension with effect from the 13th May 2010. The Kaler Kantho, a national daily gives the news in its today's issue (above scanned matter).

14th anniv of Kalpana’s abduction today

12 June 2010, Dhaka.

Staff Corresponden

A number of socio-cultural and human right organisations have chalked up elaborate programmes for today to mark the 14th anniversary of abduction of Kalpana Chakma, former organising secretary of the Hill Women’s Federation.
The federation will form a human chain and stage demonstration in Dhaka on Saturday to ask the government to publish a full report on Kalpana’s abduction, and to press the authorities to stop all types of human rights abuse, allegedly by army personnel, in Chittagong Hill Tracts, home to 12 ethnic minority groups.
According to the federation and family members of Kalpana Chakma, soldiers had picked her up from her home in Baghaichhari upazila in Rangamati on the night of June 12, 2006. She never came back.
The then Awami League-government, which later signed a treaty with the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti to end decades of conflict in the hills, turned a blind eye to her abduction during its tenure between 1996 and 2001.
In the face of protest by the ethnic minority people and rights activists, the government formed a committee to investigate the incident.
The committee submitted a report, but the government never made it public.
The Hill Women’s Federation in a statement asked the government to publish the report, prosecute the kidnappers, remove all temporary army camps from the CHT and fully implement the treaty signed in 1997.
On the occasion, members of the organisation will stage a demonstration at Shahbagh at about 10:00am today.
Various socio-cultural organisations have extended their support to the programme.
Rights activists said Kalpana’s abduction was a glaring example of the state’s failure to ensure security of its citizens.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A biased and motivated report

We're surprised and hurt with the following biased and motivated Daily Star report on the withdrawal of some cases in Khagarachari. Of 5 cases the report has pinpointed cases which are associated with PCJSS and PCP leaders and activists. According to it that Bolash Tripura was not a political leader of any political party, Saktipada Tripura was not a leader of any national political party and Braja Koshore Tripura was also not a member of any political party. .

_To be completed_

Friday, June 11, 2010


5 arms, extortion cases dropped as 'political' ones in Khagrachhari

Our Correspondent, Khagrachhari

Five arms and extortion cases were dropped in the name of political cases in hill district Khagrachhari.
As a result many criminals became free and started wrongdoing using political banners, sources alleged.
At least 41 cases were marked as political cases and finally dropped since the present government started the process of dropping 'cases filed on political considerations', said sources at district administration and police.
But a recent investigation by The Daily Star correspondent found that at least five of the dropped cases had been filed for crimes like extortion and keeping arms and the accused were not involved with any political party.
Sub Inspector Mohammad Iqbal filed case No 239/07 accusing Bolash Tripura for keeping illegal arms under Arms Act. Bolash Tripura is not leader of any political party.
The same official also filed another case No 240/07 against Shaktipodo Tripura under of Special Powers Act, for importing foreign currency and illegally keeping it to himself.
Shaktipodo was not leader of any national level political party.
Aysha Aktar, wife of Ruhul Amin, filed a case for extortion and attempted murder accusing Teko Chakma and his 10 associates. But the case was dropped as a political one although he is not a member of any political party.
Businessman Abdus Salam filed an extortion case against Brajo Kishore Tripura on May 27 in 2004.
The accused was not member of any political party but the case was dropped as a political one.
Asked about dropping of the cases, Public Prosecutor Bidhan Kanungo said 41 cases were dropped as those were political.
Contacted over cell phone, Deputy Commissioner Anisul Haque Bhuiyan said, "I am not aware of the matter of dropped cases. I will take proper initiative and stern action if arms and extortion cases are dropped in the name of political cases."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Update on Mintu Marma's abduction

A press statement issued in the evening signed by Subhojyoti Dewan, a leader of pro-Santu Larma PCP states that holding PCP/JSS responsible for the abduction of Juba League leader on 8th is nothing but an imagination. He denied their involvement in the abduction.

The Awami League, Juba League and other front organisations organised a protest meeting at Rangamati in the morning to denounce the abduction of Mintu Marma, Juba League district secretary and three others by the PCJSS. The speakers declared stern warning against the PCJSS for the abduction. They said aiming at Santu Larma- we have brought you from jungle and put inside air-conditioned room and now you're attacking on us.

It has been gathered that Mr. Masud-Ul-Hassan, Superintendent of Police, Rangamati has given Ushatan Talukdar, Secretary for Student Affairs of the PCJSS and Member, CHT Regional Council stern warning to immediately stop PCJSS' unlawful activities, otherwise face serious consequences.

Hill Women Federation denied of permission for holding Kalpana Abduction day, Rnagamati blockade declared

The Rangamati district administration denied today to give permission of holding of Kalpana abduction day at Rangamati today. The pro-UPDF Hill Women Federation arranged a press briefing today at 4.30pm at Kudukchari to inform about the administration’s denial. It has been learnt that the HWF got the Rangamati Municipality auditorium as programme’s venue with the verbal instruction of an official of the district administration over phone.

It has also been learnt that based on the DSB’s report the administration denied the permission as the DSB fears deterioration of law and order situation if it is allowed to observe the day. It is noteworthy that the UPDF observes the 12th June every year as the Kalpana disappearance day.

A reliable source claims that the UPDF is fully prepared to mobilise a few thousand rural people at Rangamati on the day. They dropped the programme after the administration's denial and in lieu they threw a road blockade programme in the district on 12th instant and protest rallies tomorrow.

Kalpana Chama,the leader of the HWF was abducted by a Captain in 1996 from her home at New Lalyaghona of Baghaichari and after tremendous pressure from home and abroad the govt fielded an inquiry commission but the report is yet to be made public.

The administration has also denied PCJSS' observation of the day at Rangamati. The PCP which supports the PCJSS Convening Committee is observing the day at Khagarachari town.

Santu Larma's PCJSS under accusation of abduction and physical tortures

Santu Larma led PCJSS comes under accusation of abduction of Juba League and Democratic Youth Front's leaders at Rangamati town. Media and party sources claim abduction of Mintu Marma (home at Assambasti of Rangamati town), Rangamati District Secretary of Juba League (youth front of Awami League) and his 3 colleagues were abducted from a restaurant at Banarupa Bazar on 8th instant. National newspapers do not clearly pinpoint the identity of the abductors.

However, a source associated with the CHT Voice claims that on 8th instant at around 1.30 pm Mintu Marma and his 3 colleagues were picked up by an organised group from Irish Hotel at Banarupa Bazar when they were taking their lunch. Another source reports to the CHT Voice that a group with 3 CNG auto rickshaws was seen to move from Rangapanya school ground to Hatchery at 3 pm led by a student leader of Rangamati Govt College. Another source claims that Lakshmi Prasad Chakma, Secretary for Political Affairs of the PCJSS sought 2 hours time from Nikhil Kumar Chakma, Chairman, Rangamati Hill District Council (and also Awami League leader) to help locate and rescue the hostages, when the angry activists of Awami League and its front organisations were about to encircle the CHT Regional Council office and Santu Larma's residence.

Newspaper reports claim that Mintu Marma and his 3 colleagues were freed at around 5pm on the same day because of heavy movements of police, BDR and army personnel. Another source claims that the quick freeing was the result of Lakshmi Prasad Chakma's initiative which derived basically from the fear of Awami League's (and its front organisations) political retaliation.

The freed leaders who became victims of serious physical tortures by the abductors have immediately been taken to Rangamati General Hospital for treatment. The angry leaders and activists of Awami League and its fronts are waiting for Dipankar Talukdar, M.P., District Awami League President (and State Minister for MoCHTA) who is set to arrive Rangamati tomorrow. It has been gathered that if Mr. Talukdar takes softer lines with Santu Larma or his PCJSS then it will go against his leadership. The local Awami League is now prepared for booking some PCJSS leaders and activists, apart from political actions.

The Suprobhat Bangladesh published from Chittagong reports today that two leaders of the Democratic Youth Front, a front organisation of UPDF were kidnapped from Tabalchari boat ghat yesterday. Premlal Chakma, Member-Secretary and Dipen Dewan, Memebr of the Belaichari branch of the front were the victims of the abduction. The PCJSS, however, denied its involvement in these two abductions.

Input at 6.15pm:
Our Belaichari contact reports at 6pm that Dipen Dewan, son of Chandra Lal Dewan (Shawarna Lal) is back home at around 5.45pm today. The abductors separated him from Premlal yesterday in the evening. Clearer report is expected after a few hours.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Full-fledged National HR Commission by this month

Courtesy: Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Front Page

The Daily Star, Dhaka.

Full-fledged National HR Commission by this month
Staff Correspondent

The government will constitute a full-fledged national human rights commission (NHRC) through appointing a new chairman and six members within this month, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said yesterday.

As per provision of the law concerned, the NHRC will be comprised of a chairman, one permanent member and five non-permanent members, the minister said.

“I have already talked to the Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad, who is the chief of the NHRC selection committee, about appointment of its chairman and members.”

Shafique said this while talking to newsmen after a meeting with Swedish Ambassador Britt Hagstrom at his Secretariat office.

The law minister said the NHRC's incumbent chairman Justice Amirul Kabir Chowdhury will go into retirement on June 20, and its two members (Prof Niru Kumar Chakma and Munira Khan) have already retired.

So, all the posts of chairman and members of NHRC will become vacant after June 20, the minister said, adding that the selection committee would soon hold a meeting to select the chairman and members of the commission.

The government would appoint an ombudsman to probe the allegations against any governmental, semi-governmental or statutory body, Shafique said.

The government is now looking for a suitable person for the post, he added.

He also said that Tk 10 crore would be allocated in the next budget for the expenditure of holding the trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the Liberation War in 1971.

Referring to his recent visit to Uganda, Shafique said all the representatives from the participating countries, who attended the review conference on international criminal court in Kampala, have extended their support to the Bangladesh government for holding the trial.

Replying to a question, he said the investigation into the crimes against humanity has been going on smoothly. The investigators will say when they would submit the charge sheets, he added.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ethnic minorities want to be identified as ‘indigenous’

Dhaka, 8 June 2010,

Ethnic minorities want to be
identified as ‘indigenous’
Staff correspondent

Leaders of the ethnic minority people, human rights activists and academicians on Monday demanded changes in the proposed Ethnic Minorities’ Cultural Institution Bill 2010 including the replacement of the term ‘ethnic minority’ by ‘indigenous’ in defining the ethnic minorities across the country.
At a discussion meeting on ‘The Identity of the Indigenous People of Bangladesh: Legal and Human Rights Perspectives’, the speakers stressed that constitutional provisions did not bar the use of the term ‘indigenous’ or ‘adibashi’ to refer to the ethnic minorities.
The programme was organized by Kapeng Foundation at the National Press Club.
Chakma circle chief Raja Debashish Roy in his keynote paper said the government should recognize the ethnic communities as the ‘backward section of citizens’ of the state, deliver affirmative actions to them and ensure their identity as per their liking as the sub-sections 1 and 4 of section 28 of the constitution allows.
The speakers also pointed out that the bill only mentioned 27 ethnic groups, whereas there have been at least 50 ethnic groups living across the country.
Presided over by former Justice Golam Rabbani and moderated by Bangladesh Adibashi Forum general secretary Sanjeeb Drong, the discussion was participated by Fazle Hossain Badsha MP, and Prof AHKS Arefin of Dhaka University.
AHKS Arefin noted that using the term ‘ethnic minority’ to refer to the ethnic people, who had been oppressed and marginalized by the ruling class during the rise of nation-states, has a racial implication in it.
Justice Golam Rabbani demanded that the ruling Awami League should fulfil its pledges to the ethnic minorities by amending the bill as well as by ensuring them equal human rights as they pledged in their election manifesto.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Rajasthali JSS office comes under destruction

Courtesy: Daily Suprobhat Bangladesh, Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Chittagong, 6 June 2010

The Daily Suprobhat Bangladesh, a Chittagong based daily reports in its internet edition today that the PCJSS office at Rajasthali was destroyed on Saturday last by miscreants. The PCJSS has accused the UPDF for the act. However, the UPDF denied their involvement with this occurrence.

Eyewitness report claims, soon after quitting the Rajasthali area by the PCJSS activists, after a suffering of 2 dead and 2 injured by the UPDF the PCJSS office came under destruction by a group of armed youths on last Saturday. Sajib Chakma, Assistant Secretary, Information and Publicity, PCJSS claims that the signboard and furniture of the office have been destroyed. Sajib Chakma, Assistant Secretary, Information and Publicity, PCJSS claims that the signboard and furniture of the office have been destroyed. He further says that the PCJSS activists responsible for organisational campaign have left the area when the administration failed to provide them security.

The Officer-in-charge of Rajasthali Police Station confirms that the destruction of the PCJSS office took place when it was vacated by the PCJSS. He told that they were inquiring who were involved with the incident.

Michael Chakma, Member-Secretary of the Democratic Youth Forum of the UPDF says, "UPDF is not involved in such an occurrence. This might have been done by angry masses as their outburst of anger to denounce the tyranny of PCJSS men during their short stay in the area."

CHT Voice Input:
A source at Rangamati associated with the CHT Voice confirms that Kungumoni Chakma who was injured at Rajasthali on 3rd instant has been under treatment of 2 injuries at thigh and arm. He has been lodged at PCJSS central office for treatment.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Youth killed in Rangamati gun attack

Courtesy: , Dhaka, Friday, June 4, 2010, Front Page

Youth killed in Rangamati gun attack

Our Correspondent, Rangamati

A member of Pahari Chhatra Parishad (PCP) was killed and another injured in a gun attack allegedly by the activists of United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) in Rajasthali upazila of Rangamati early yesterday.

The dead was identified as Ananda Tangchangya, 22, son of GoneshTangchangya of a village in Rowangchhari upazila of Bandarban.

Ananda was a PCP member of Rowangchhari unit, party sources said.
The injured, Palash Chakma, was admitted to the local upazila health complex in a critical conditon and later shifted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital as his condition deteriorated.

Locals said a gang of around 40 to 50 activists of anti-peace treaty group UPDF swooped on the PCJSS and PCP men at an office at about 5:00am when they were asleep.

Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) men, who support the peace treaty, grabbed the office of the UPDF last month and named it Rajasthali Krira and Sangskritic Club.

Since then, 15 to 20 members of the PCP, student wing of the PCJSS, used to stay there at night to keep control over the office.

Protesting the killing, the leaders and activists of the PCJSS and the PCP brought out a procession in the upazila town at about 12:00noon and also held a rally on the premises of Rangamati deputy commissioner's office.

The leaders blamed the UPDF for the attack and alleged that the government did not ban the UPDF despite their repeated demand.

They said UPDF is the main barrier in implementing the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) peace accord.

The leaders urged the government to take step for full implementation of the accord without further delay.

They also demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment to the culprits.

Michael Chakma, UPDF leader of Rangamati unit, however denied the allegation against them saying that the attack might have been taken place due to internal clash of the PCJSS.

Md Rezaul, officer-in-charge, of Rajasthali Police Station confirmed the incident and said, “We are trying to arrest the killers.”

Earlier on May 16, a leader of PCJSS named Uchinu Marma was shot dead and Ubaching Marma wounded in another gun attack by the UPDF men at the same place.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Rajasthali again comes under fratricidal clash today, tolls 1 dead and 2 injured

Rajasthali, a calm township, headquarters of Rajasthali Upazila comes today under armed clash after 18 days which has taken life of Ananda Tanchangya and injured Palash Chakma and Kungumoni Chakma .

A few sources report that there has again been armed clash between groups in favour and disfavour of the CHT Accord today at Rajasthali Bazar under Rangamati Hill District which started at 07.30 am and lasted for about 15 minutes. The reports claim that the anti-CHT Accord armed group conducted the attack at a house at Rajasthali Bazar.

It was reported earlier that on 13th of last month the pro-Accord armed men attacked on the civil cadres of anti-Accord group at this house and it was retaliated at mid-night of 16th of last month, resulting to 1 spot dead and 1 seriously injured.

After 18 days the anti-Accord group again retaliates today. It is claimed that Ananda Tanchangya, son of Ganesh Tanchangya from Wanga Para of Roangchari, Bandarban Hill District succumbed spot death while Palash Chakma, son of Suman Chakma of Jibtoli, under Rangamti Sadar Upazila and Kungumoni Chakma, son of Ashibindu Khisa (Khisa Babu) of Perachara village of Khagarachari got serious bullet injury to their thigh and arm respectively. The injured persons were transported to Chittagong for higher treatment and the dead body was taken to Rangamati General Hospital for postmortem.

It has been gathered that during the attack the attackers fired at Rajasthali police station, possibly to keep their action safe. Another report claims that two pro-Accord armed groups have been in deployment in nearby jungle for the last three weeks to protect the probable attacks from anti-Accord group.

It has also been gathered that Mr. Ushatn Talukdar, Member, CHT Regional Council rushed to Rajasthali to oversee the situation.

Warning in the meeting on law and order, stern action if clash is not halted in Jurochari

Courtesy: June 3, 2010, Saradesh.

The Prothom Alo, Dhaka reports today in its web edition (the print edition did not cover it) that yesterday at a law and order meeting at Jurochari the UNO and the Army Major warned for stern action if armed clashes are not stopped between two warring parties. The meeting was chaired by Abu Ali Mohammad Sajjad Hossain, the UNO of Jurochari Upazila.

Major Raisul, commander of Jurochari army camp said in the meeting that the local people are now scared for frequent armed clashes. The security forces cannot keep them sitting in this situation. The Army camp which was withdrawn from Shalban area has been brought back for a short period because of the deterioration of law and order. Rup Kumar Chakma, Vice Chairman of Jurochari Upazila demanded for setting up of permanent army camps in Salban area and in other places.

The UNO sought cooperation in the meeting from the warring parties for maintaining law and order. And he told that for the sake of ceasing clashes and maintaining normalcy in the area many steps have been taken up which includes searching of suspected persons, patrolling of Police and Army.

The Prothom Alo concludes the report "There has been armed clashes between the groups in favour of the CHT Accord and the opposition for a along period, for controlling the locality. It has been gathered that in this year there has been cases of 9 death and 7 wounded and at least 15 abducted in these calshes."

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

What does Amnesty say in its 2010 report?


Title: Amnesty International Report 2010 - Bangladesh
Publisher: Amnesty International
Country: Bangladesh
Publication: Date 28 May 2010
Cite as: Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2010 - Bangladesh, 28 May 2010, available at: [accessed 2 June 2010]

Indigenous Peoples' rights

The government began in August to disband major army camps in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) to meet one of several unimplemented agreements of the 1997 CHT peace accord. The accord, signed by the government and CHT representatives, recognized the rights of Indigenous Peoples living in the area and ended more than two decades of insurgency. The government took no action to resolve other unimplemented agreements, including a dispute over land ownership which Indigenous Peoples allege the army confiscated from them during the insurgency and gave to non-Indigenous Bangladeshis whom the government encouraged to settle there.

Amnesty on February attack

Document - Bangladesh: Investigate army's alleged involvement in human rights abuses in Chittagong Hill Tracts

26 February 2010
For immediate release
AI Index: ASA 13/006/2010


Amnesty International calls on the government of Bangladesh to carry out a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the death of two Jumma indigenous residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts after the army opened fire on them on 20 February 2010.

Although government officials have confirmed only two deaths, according to local people at least six more Jumma indigenous people were killed on 20 February, but their bodies have not been recovered.

The two men who died were among hundreds of Jumma indigenous people who were peacefully protesting attacks from Bengalee settlers against their homes. They were demanding protection after the Bengalee settlers had set on fire at least 40 houses of Jumma indigenous people in the Baghaichhari area of the Rangamati district on the night of 19 February. The attacks began after Jumma indigenous people protested against Bengalee settlers who were erecting illegal building structures on their indigenous land. According to reports, the Bengalee settlers then marched towards Jumma indigenous people’s homes attacking them and burning their houses.

On 20 February, the Jumma indigenous people were demonstrating in their villages against the attacks by Bengalee settlers and the army reportedly came to stop the demonstration. An army commander ordered the indigenous people to leave the area but they resisted. One of the demonstrators reportedly attacked and injured the army commander with a knife. Army personnel then fired live ammunition at the demonstrators, which hit at least two people who later died. At least 25 people were injured during the shooting. Jumma indigenous people began to flee the area but Bengalee settlers moved in and torched at least 160 of their homes, allegedly with army personnel taking no action to stop them.

Amnesty International acknowledges the responsibility of the law enforcement personnel to ensure law and order. However according to the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, they “may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty”. Furthermore, according to the 1990 UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement officials, “intentional lethal use of firearms” is only to be made “when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life”. Circumstances suggest that law enforcement personnel firing at demonstrators in the Chittagong Hill Tracts may have used excessive force in breach of these principles.

The settlers reportedly burnt to ashes at least 200 Jumma people’s houses on 19 and 20 February in the villages of Guchchhagram, Gangaram Mukh, Hajachhara, Simanachhara, Retkaba, Jarulchhari, Dippara, Dane Bhaibachhara, Bame Bhaibachhara, MSF Para and Purbapara, in Rangamati district. They also looted the Jumma people’s belongings and destroyed their religious icons including statutes of Buddha.

On 23 February, Bengalee settlers attacked a procession of indigenous people who were demanding government action against the 19 and 20 February arson attacks and killings. The procession was taking place in Khagrachari which is in another district in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. According to reports, a group of Bengalee settlers attacked them at about 11:30am that day. Bengalee settlers then reportedly set on fire at least 37 houses of the Jumma indigenous people. The attack triggered a clash between the settlers and the Jumma people. Jumma people were also reported to have set at least 29 houses of Bengalee settlers onfire during these clashes on 23 February. One man, a Bengalee settler, was reportedly killed. Police said he was shot in the head, but it is not clear who fired the shot.

Local authorities have imposed severe restrictions on indigenous people’s access to the media and independent observers. Journalists are not allowed to enter the area. Army staff have told them these measures are for the security of the journalists themselves, but human rights activists have told Amnesty International that the army has in this way prevented an independent assessment of what has happened and who has been responsible for the attacks. Since 19 February, at least four journalists covering the attacks have been attacked and injured by the Bengalee settlers.

Given the allegations that state officials including army personnel may have acted in support of the Bengalee settlers, there is a risk that incriminating evidence could be destroyed before independent observers including journalists can visit the sites of the violence.

More than 100 Jumma indigenous people are believed to be in detention, with dozens more missing. Relatives are afraid to go to the police stations or army posts to inquire about their missing members, so they have little information about their whereabouts. According to reports, some of these detainees are people who went to hospital for treatment after the attack but were taken into custody. Police have also reportedly arrested about 30 Bengalee settlers.

More than 1500 Jumma indigenous people have fled their homes and are living under open skies in deep forest, with no shelter and little access to food. The injured are reportedly afraid to go to hospitals as they run the risk of being arrested.

The government has dispatched an official delegation to prepare a report. The authorities have promised to compensate those who have been affected by the violence.

Amnesty International calls on the government of Bangladesh to:

Carry out prompt, impartial, and independent investigation into these attacks and killings to identify individuals who set houses on fire and army personnel who may have used excessive force, and bring those responsible to justice in a fair trial without resort to the death penalty;
Ensure that the detainees have access to lawyers of their own choice, can challenge the legality of their detention, have access to family visits and medical treatment, and are not at risk of torture;
Compensate the victims and survivors of the attacks, rehabilitate the people who have lost their homes and belonging and provide them with medical treatment for their injuries;
Allow independent observers to visit the sites of the violence, and ensure the security of the Jumma indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

For decades tension has been high in the Chittagong Hill Tracts where the Jumma indigenous communities are at risk of being outnumbered by Bengalee settlers who continue to take over their land. More than two decades of insurgency by the indigenous people came to an end when the previous Awami League government signed a peace accord with their representatives in December 1997. Two of the most important provisions of the accord remain unfulfilled. One is the formation of a land commission to identify land taken away from the indigenous people during the insurgency, which should be returned to them. This commission has just been set up after a delay of more than 12 years, but has not begun its work yet. Another provision of the accord relates to the withdrawal of temporary army camps, of which some 400 remain in the area. The government began to withdraw some of the major temporary camps last year, but the process has reportedly been halted again

Bengalee settlers have continued to take over indigenous land and drive indigenous people out of their homes, but the army which is in control of law and order in the area has allegedly not stopped them. Indigenous people say the army has in this way condoned human rights abuses committed by Bengalee settlers against them. _______________________________________________