Desh TV channel coverage of today's Rangamati communal attack
Rangamati, the headquarters of Chittagong Hill Tracts, has come under massive communal attacks today at around 11.00 am. Dr. Sushobhan Dewan, a govt medical doctor by profession, was attacked at around 11.30 am near Alif Boarding at Banarupa, Rangamati and his two-wheeler was set on fire by a group of communal Bengali Muslim settlers.
A group of 38 Union Parishad chairmen representing three hill district chapters of Bangladesh UP Chairmen Forum also came under attack at 11.30 am when they were at a co-ordination meeting at Rangamati sadar Upazila Parishad conference hall to discuss about their future action plan based on their recent mammoth gathering in Dhaka held on 15th Sept. and also on the concerns over development by UNDBP, ADB and hill district councils.
The venue of this meeting is hardly 100 yards from the Rangamati army zone headquarters and about 250 yards from the main gate of Rangamati army brigade headquarters. Out of the 38 UP chairmen there were six Bengali chairmen and they tried to pacify the attackers. The attackers went back with the intervention of these chairmen but afterwards they again dashed inside the hall and started indiscriminate beating with hockey sticks, rods and wooden clubs.
At one stage of the attack some army personnel came in and gave protection to the chairmen and the attackers vanished. The army personnel volunteered to take 11 inured chairmen for treatment at nearby CMH. Out of 11 there have been 5 seriously injured cases. Mangal Kanti Chakma, Atarakchara UP chairman has been referred to Chittagong as his head injury was serious. Other seriously injured chairmen are: Paritosh Chakma, Babuchara UP chairman, Ashetu Chakma, Panchari sadar UP chairman, Sambhu Tanchangya, Noapatang UP chairman.
The GOC, Chittagong flew to Rangamati at noon and went to the hospital to see the injured chairmen. They were given food and protection party was given to the Khagarachari team up to Mohalchari. A chairman said to the CHT Voice, "We could have easily resisted the attackers, we did not, after all we take care of law and order." This chairman further confidently tells that, "The attack on us can't go without the knowledge of the nearby army camp personnel. They knew it and allowed to attack us and afterwards came to rescue us. All these have been planned."
The UP chairmen who had been attacked had instantly released a press statement with two demands and one declaration of program: Inquiry of the attack and award punishment to the attackers and to withheld all UP activities for 10 days.
All sources claim, today Bengali Muslim settlers have been carefree and dominated Rangamati streets shouting violent anti-Jumma communal slogans in presence of personnel of all law enforcing agencies and they attacked the Jumma areas at Banarupa Pora Vida, Banarupa (which leads to Samata Ghat), College Gate, Kalindipur, Vedvedi, old bus station, east of Hatchery (on the dam which connected Rangamati General Hospital, west Kalindipur, Majherbasti, Reserve Bazar and etc.
The Jummas have been forced to courageously protect their areas as they had no any option. At Majherbasti the Jummas and the Hindu Bangalis jointly protected their area from the marauders who came from Kotwali (headquarters police station) area. It has been learnt that afterwards the BGB personnel resisted further organised attacks at Tabalchari bridge. Marauders also tried the attack Ananda Vihar, the oldest Buddhist temple of Rangamati, a person claims from Majherbasti. Roadside buildings own or run by Jummas have all been de-facaed due to attacks.
Basically the Jummas who had been out from their houses and had been passing from one place to another by auto-rickshaw, two-wheelers and on foot became the easy targets of the attacks. Moreover, the Jummas who came to old bus station and reserve Bazar by boats became easy prey of the attackers. A Chakma woman with her infant baby who lives at a rented house at Sukhi Nilganj had been victims when they arrived at the dam that links Rangamati General Hospital area and west Kalindipur. However, it has been gathered, the launch owners of Reserve Bazar (who are basically purambasti Bangali i.e. who settled in the CHT during British period) had saved many Jummas at Reserve Bazar. They gave them shelter and sent them to Raj Bana Vihara by their launch(es).
Almost all the Jummas believe that today's attack has been done under a deep rooted preplanned design to bring the CHT under instability and the opportunity of a trifle quarrel at Rangamati govt college between the Bangali and indigenous (Jumma) students had been exploited. It has been gathered that about 500 Bengali Muslims were seen last night at around 12.00 am within the vicinity of Rangamati deputy commissioner's office and according to the source, this late night gathering demands justification.
Now the Jummas are in belief that today's one sided communal attack has been organised to create a situation so that Raja Tridiv Roy's dead body can't be brought in Rangamati. It has been understood from a source, the govt has given permission to bring Raja Roy's dead body from Pakistan with the condition that there should be no any big program.
Shomoy, a private TV channel claims that there has been tri-partate attack between Bangali students, Jumma students and BD army at Rangamati toady, and there have been at least 34 injured victims. Other channels are claiming 50 inured persons. The Jummas have been raising questions on the neutrality of the administration and mostly of the army and the media. The Desh TV channel in its new report which was telecast in the evening showed a Bengali victim, but not a single Jumma victims, where as Dr. Sushovan Dewan was shifted to Chittagong from Rangamati General Hospital at 4.30 PM in critical condition. He could have easily been covered by this channel.
Shantimoy Dewan (27) who works at his computer assembling and trouble shooting shop at Kalyanpur area on the Rangamati - Chittagong road had been beaten along with 2 of his friends by 8 army personnel at around 11.30 am today, when he was shutting down the door in fear of the communal attack. This was not the end, they had also been forced to leave the shop exposing them to attackers. Now question arises, why they had been forced to vacate the shop and beaten? To force them vacate the shop means to expose them to the agitated attackers. If the army are neutral then why there could be such case?
The administration imposed section 144 at Rangamati town at 1.00 PM till tomorrow evening, police and BGB have been deployed. Army have also been engaged. The army are in the CHT "in aid of civil administration to help maintain law and order", what they frequently try to justify their presence in the CHT. Now question is that why they can't protect the lives and properties of the Jumma people? It has also been gathered that there had been search operations at the houses owned only by the Jummas in Kalyanpur area. A source from Kalyanpur reports that there had been protracted chase and counter chase with throwing of brick pieces between the army personnel and the Jumma students at Kalyanpur. Some army personnel even entered the compound of Santu Larma's official residence there, without permission.
Today's one sided communal attack has been perpetrated while State Minister Dipankar Talukdar, M.P. was at Rangamati town. Many persons are asking for immediate resignation of Mr. Talukdar for his failure to control the administration. The people are also accusing the deputy commissioner of Rangamati for his failure.
The CHT Voice condemns the aggression perpetrated today on the innocent Jumma people with its strongest voice and demands impartial judicial inquiry and award heaviest punishment to the culprits and their godfathers. It further demands immediate functioning of the local police under the control of the hill district councils and allow the CHT Regional Council exercise its supervisory and coordinating authority over law and order and civil administration. The CHT Voice firmly believes that no CHT situation could be developed keeping a few hundred thousand illegally settled Bengali Muslim settlers under the shadow of biased and communal administrations and therefore, there lies the single option, just to resettle the settlers outside the CHT honourably and run the CHT according to power shared as per the CHT Accord of 1997.