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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

CHT Citizen's Committee's press statement on the Ramgarh-Guimara communal attacks

Press Release


On 17 April 2011 a group of settlers from Hatimura area under Ramgarh upazila went to grab lands belonging to indigenous people. As the owners of land resisted, clash between the two groups broke out. At one stage the settlers regrouped and attacked six indigenous villages and torched more than two hundred houses. 4 people were reported killed and scores were injured in the clash. We are alarmed and disapprove of such unfortunate incident.

We have been observing with extreme concern for quite some time that some incidents often breaks out in the CHT disrupting peace and stability in the region. Such a situation is inconsistent with the democratic character of a state. Neutrality of action is expected of administration in a true democracy. However, the administration in the CHT has on many occasions failed to deal with law and order situation in an unbiased manner.

It is also a time now to look into the factors that often lead to the outbreak of such unfortunate incidents in the CHT claiming life and destroying properties. Dozens of mass killing and scores of violence gripped the region in the past. But no attempt was ever made to identify causes leading to such human disaster. Neither had there been any initiative to bring the perpetrators to book. Thus an impunity culture developed which encouraged the wrong doers to indulge in wrong doing. We also observe another sinister trend in the CHT with concern that many incidents occurring at individual level involving Bengalis and hill men are instantly given communal color. It results in communal conflict which is extremely unfortunate. However, instead of discouraging such trend there are people in and out of the government who fan out communal frenzy to fish in the troubled water.

It is also a ground reality that non-implementation of the CHT Accord is contributing to a great extent in destabilizing the region. It is strengthening the hands of those who stand to gain following the non-enforcement of the Accord. These elements are mainly responsible for creating instability in the CHT to further their coterie or political gain. In the interest of peace to sustain the Chittagong Hill Tracts Citizens Committee demands the following measures for immediate execution:

• The victims should be given compensation, medicare in addition to their proper rehabilitation
• The perpetrators of such heinous incidents should be brought to the book and punished
• The CHT Accord in its totality should be implemented immediately
• An enquiry commission headed by a High Court judge should be constituted to inquire into the incident

Goutam Dewan
Chittagong Hill Tracts Citizen’s Committee

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