Sunday, February 21, 2010

News No. 39/2010/ Massacre in Sajek: protests continue, Borkha Party attacks demonstrators in Laxmichar

Massacre in Sajek: protests continue, Borkha Party attacks
demonstrators in Laxmichari
News No. 39/2010, February 21, 2010

Protests against Sajek massacre have continued today while the
military-backed Borkha Party terrorists attacked the demonstrators in

Hundreds of Jumma people took part in a protest demonstration in
Chittagong, organised by the United Peoples Democratic Front. A few
supporters of the JSS (Santu Larma faction) also participated. Some of
their leaders even spoke at the rally held in front of Chittagong
Press Club on Zamal Khan road.

Their participation, hailed by all the Jummas, came after they
received an invitation from the UPDF leaders.

The UPDF also held a demonstration in Laxmichari in the afternoon. But
the demonstrators came under attack while they were going back home
after the end of the programme.

The military-backed Borkha Party terrorists and some Bengalee people
stopped and attacked their jeep at Hospital area, causing damage to
the vehicle.

The army also joined in the attack, picking up five from Bangmara area.

UPDF leader Sachib Chakma, who was released from jail a few days ago,
told that he had phoned the UNO and the OC about the
attack and requested him to take actions against the Borkha Party men.

“I phoned both UNO and OC about the attack. They asked me to give them
a list of the Borkha Party terrorists so that they could take actions
against them. Accordingly, we gave him the list, but unfortunately no
action has been taken so far.” said Mr. Sachib, who also took part in
the demonstration.

“The UNO and OC also blamed the army for the attack.” he added.

The army prevented UPDF members from hoisting black flags at Zero Mile
area in Khagrachari town.

Mithun Chakma, a DYF leader, said a group of DYF members led by Tapan
Chakma went to Zero Mile to hoist black flags as a mark of protest
against Sajek massacre.

“But one army officer named Captain Tarek threatened them not to hoist
black flags and called them names.” he said.

“I complained to the Deputy Commissioner about it; but he refused to
take actions suggesting we were creating ‘unrest’.” he added.

In Dhaka the UPDF organised a demonstration under the banner of “Hill
Students, Youths and people of Dhaka” to make room for a wide

Sumen Chakma, General Secretary of PCP, put the number of the
participants at 400.

He said a few JSS supporters (Santu Larma faction) also attended the
demonstration held at Muktangon in downtown Dhaka.

After the rally a procession was taken out which march to Press Club
through Gulistan and Baitul Mukkaram.

News No. 38/2010/ “The situation is terrible”: Ricoh Chakma

“The situation is terrible”: Ricoh Chakma
News No. 38/2010, February 21, 2010

Rioch Chakma, ex-president of Hill Students Council, has described the
present situation in Sajek as terrible.

He made this comment during an interview with after
visiting the area along with a group of Buddhist monks today.

The following is what he has to say:

About one hundred Jumma people gathered in Gangaram when we reached
there. We saw fire is still smoldering and smokes billowing. The trace
of brutality is everywhere. But the houses of the settlers are
completely unscathed.

Only one or two huts they had built in Gangaram on Jumma’s land have
been burnt; but the Jummas allege that the settlers themselves set
fire to them to make the whole incident look like a “Pahari-Bangalee

Even the jungles have been burnt to ashes. People said at least three
hundred houses including three Buddhist temples and one church have
been completely burnt down.

The villagers are without food, clothes and drinking water. They need
these necessities on an urgent basis.

They are trying to survive on bananas burnt. Many said they did not
eat anything since the attack.

They said 10 – 12 are still missing in Guchchagram and a few more from
Gangaram shooting. No body knows exactly how many have been killed.

The people saw the settlers carrying away four dead bodies today. I
saw two dead bodies my self – that of Laxmipudi Chakma and Laxmi Bijoy

In Bongoltoli, where some of the victims have taken shelter, about
seven hundred people gathered when we reached there.

The victims handed over the dead body of Laxmi Bijoy to Dipankar
Talukder MP, who also visited the spot today.

His dead body was recovered today from a jungle near Guchchagram. A
bullet pierced his abdomen making a hole.

As we were coming back, some people told us that the army were chasing
Jumma villagers in Guchchagram. This happened at about 3:30pm.

We also heard that the UNO of Baghaichari had faced public anger at
Hajachara. The angry mob smashed the windowpane of his vehicle. This
took place at about 2:30pm.

The real picture is yet to emerge.

News No. 37/2010/ UPDF rejects army version of Sajek incident

UPDF rejects army version of Sajek incident
News No. 37/2010, February 21, 2010

The United Peoples Democratic Front has rejected the military version
of the Sajek incident, a press release says.

Terming the incident as “a preplanned and cold blooded massacre”, UPDF
leader Shanti Dev Chakma demanded that those responsible for the death
of innocent men and women must be brought to justice.

Khagrachari Region commander General M. M. Saleheen yesterday said,
“The army fired three blank shots in self defense after the terrorists
had fired on them. I do not know who fired the rest of the shots.”

UPDF leader termed this statement of General Saleheen as “a travesty
of truth and self-contradictory.”

He said the army had not only fired into the crowd of the Jumma people
but also entered sJumma villages while firing on the unarmed villagers
and set their houses ablaze.

“It is an undisputable truth that the only armed persons present at
the place of occurrence are the members of the military and the
police.” he said. “Therefore, there is no question of firing by any
other person than these armed personnel themselves.”

He also commented as “farce” the news that a wounded soldier was
airlifted to Combined Military Hospital in Chittagong.

On General Saleheen’s allegation that the Jumma residents of Sajek are
campaigning for their rights under the leadership of the UPDF, Shanti
Dev said, “the Sajek people settled in the area after they had been
displaced by military repression. They reclaimed lands and created
gardens there. However, during the rule of emergency (proclaimed in
January 2007) the army and settlers began to take these lands away
from them. When the Jummas tried to protest, they were victimized.
Hundreds of their houses were burnt down and Ladu Moni Chakma was
killed in the most brutal fashion.

“The Awami League came to power but incidents of repression and land
grabbing have not stopped. Thus the people of Sajek were left with no
other alternative than to fight back. They organised themselves under
two organisations namely “Committee for Protection of Land in Sajek”
and “Sajek Women Committee.

“Definitely, we support their just rights and movement. However, they
themselves decide their own strategies and programmes and UPDF has
nothing to do with it.”

Mr. Chakma accused the army of making an attempt to cover up the
incident by spreading falsehood.

He also condemned an attack on two journalists from “Samakal” and
“Prothom Alo” who tried to visit the place of occurrence yesterday.

The settlers barred them from entering the area and burnt down the
motorbike of Samakal correspondent.

Mr. Chakma demanded an impartial and fair inquiry into the Sajek
attack, proper treatment of the wounded people and adequate
compensation for the victims.

He also demanded that the government reconstruct the church and the
Buddhist temple burnt down during the attack.

He also called for the release of seven innocent villagers still under
police custody. The detained villagers have been identified as
Debendra Chakma (50) of Langolmara village, Reben Chakma (17) of
Gulongmachara village, Liton Chakma (28) of Gangaram Mukh, Nagor
Prashad Chakma (50) of Betagichara village, Dhana Sindhu Chakma (28)
of Jhagrabil village, Battya Chakma (19) of Tin Dojor village and
Bharat Joti Chakma (22) of Hajachara village.

According to him, seven people are still missing. They are Rupen
Chakma (18) son of Bindu Chakma, Rupon Chakma (16) son of Sneha Kumar
Chakma and Battya Chakma (18) and four persons from Gangaram Doar.

News No. 36/2010/ Armed terrorists continue to threaten Choton Kanti Tanchangya in Bandarban

Armed terrorists continue to threaten Choton Kanti Tanchangya in Bandarban
News No. 36/2010, February 21, 2010

The armed members of the Jana Samhati Samiti (Santu Larma faction)
continue to issue death threats to Choton Kanti Tanchangya, Organiser
of Bandarban District Unit of the UPDF, who survived an assassination
attempt by the same group a few days ago.

Speaking to the Mr. Choton said he is continuously
receiving death threats from the JSS men.

“I am now worried for the safety of my life,” he said, adding the
miscreants are still roaming in their area.

He has expressed fear that he may be attacked again any time.

On 18 February, a group of JSS members (Santu Larma faction) made a
failed attempt on the life of Choton Tanchangy at Balaghata in

One of attackers was caught red handed along with a gun and three
rounds of live bullets and a case was filed in this connection.

Choton said he would lodge a general diary with the police about the
recent death threats.

News No. 35/2010/ UPDF to enforce road blockade on 23 Feb
News No. 35/2010, February 21, 2010

The United Peoples Democratic Front, the largest political party of
the Jumma people in Chittagong Hill Tracts, has announced a set of
programmes including road blockade on 23 February.

Initially the blockade was announced for 22 February. However, after
considering the SSC exam, the party has shifted the programme to 23
February, says a press released issued today.

The other programmes include wearing black badges and hoisting black
flags on 22 February, candle light vigil in Khagrachari on 24
February, boycott of classes in schools and colleges on 25 February
and mass rally in Khagrachari on 26 February.

UPDF will also stage demonstrations today in Dhaka, Chittagong and
some other places in Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Jumma Peoples Network UK

Six Jumma men and one Jumma woman were shot dead by the Army as they opened fire on them during clashes between Jummas and Bangali settlers in Baghaichhari upazilla of Rangamati hill district of Bangladesh. one Army personnel was injured when the frenzied indigenous people chopped him with sharp machetes.

Four dead persons name have been confirmed by reliable sources (but still checking and will be updated soon we received further news). They are Laxmipoti Chakma, Didendra Chakma, Natonjoy Chakma, Shanto Chakma. Many other Jummas have been injured.

About five indigenous villages consisting of 300 houses were burnt to ashes by Bengali settlers assisted with the security forces .

The incident was started on Friday night as a group of Bangali settlers attacked indigenous people of Gongaram Mukh area over a land dispute. Since then settlers have started setting the homes including Buddhist temples & Christian churches on fire. Sources said hundred of houses have been burnt to ashes including 3 temples and a church.

Bangladesh army has resumed the burning down of the indigenous Jumma houses at 6am and opened fire killing 7 Jummas and injuring many others.

Local administration imposed Section 144 today (Saturday).

Thousand of indigenous people have fled to the jungle to save their lives.

Since the beginning of January 2010, illegal Bangali settlers with the support of Bangladesh army posted at Baghaihat zone under Rangamati district resumed expansion of their illegal settlement into the villages of the Jumma people.

Lal Amlai
Jumma Peoples Network UK

Bangladesh army burns down UN sponosored Chakma villages

- Three Chakmas shot dead, dozens injured -
-United Nations urged to intervene-
News No. 34/2010, February 20, 2010

The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has sought the intervention of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights with the government of Bangladesh about the Sajek attack which left at least five Jummas dead and socre others injured. The full text of the ACHR press release follows:

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today sought the intervention of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay with the government of Bangladesh for taking appropriate actions against the burning down of the tribal villages and indiscriminate killing of indigenous Jumma peoples since yesterday night i.e. 19th February 2010 by the Bangladesh Army and illegal plain settlers. According to the information received by Asian Centre for Human Rights this morning, the Bangladesh Army has resumed the burning down of the tribal houses at 6 am GMT (20 February 2010) and the villages are still being burnt at the time of issuing this press release.

At least three tribals including Lakkhi Bijoy Chakma and Litan Chakma were shot dead this morning (20 February 2010), dozens were injured in the firing by the Bangladesh Army while one Buddhist monk, Purnabash Bhikkhu, has been missing after the Buddhist temple was burnt down. At least four indigenous/tribal villages - Gangaram Doar, Retkaba, Purba Para and Guchachagram - under Sajek Sub-Division of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh have been burnt into ashes. In addition, at least 7 shops in Ladumani bazaar, one UNDP sponsored village centre providing assistance to the indigenous villagers, one church and one Buddhist temple were burnt down yesterday night (19 February 2010).

The Bangladesh Army personnel have reportedly erected barricades and have further been preventing the public leaders, civil officials and the journalists from visiting the affected areas.

“This particular attack on the indigenous Jumma peoples shows that the government of Bangladesh has failed to change its policy of indiscriminate killings of indigenous Jumma people in order to occupy their lands and implant more illegal plain settlers instead of implementing the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord of 1997.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights.

Since the beginning of January 2010, illegal plain settlers with the support of Bangladesh army personnel posted at Baghaihat zone under Rangamati district resumed expansion of their illegal settlement into the villages of the Chakma people. A number of houses have already been erected by the illegal plain settlers by forcibly occupying Jumma villagers’lands.

The Jumma villagers under the banner of Sajek Bhumi Rakkha Committee (Sajek Land Rights Protection Committee) submitted a memorandum to the Baghaichhari Upazila Nirbahi Officer on 10 January 2010 with an ultimatum of 16 January 2010 to return them their lands. As the deadline expired without any fruitful result on 16 January 2010, Jumma villagers started their agitation and started to boycott Baghaihat market from 18 January 2010.

The Bangladesh Army personnel and the security forces started burning down the tribal villages since yesterday night to increase settlement of illegal plain settlers.

PCP will not observe 21 February this year
News No. 33/2010, February 20, 2010

The Hill Students Council (PCP), a front organisation of the United Peoples’ Democratic Front, have decided to stay off the Shahid Minar this year, protesting government’s denial of the right of mother tongue to the national minorities in the country.

The PCP in a statement issued to the press on 18 February said “It is as much a shame as a disgrace to the language martyrs that the nation which had shed blood for the right of their mother tongue should refuse to give the same right to the national minorities.”

“We will refrain from visiting Shahid Minar ((mausoleum built in honour of those killed during the language movement in Bangladesh in 1952) and offering floral wreaths at it’s alter, because we think we should protest the government policy to destroy our own mother tongues.” Sumen Chakma, General Secretary of the PCP told

“However, this does not in anyway mean that we are showing disrespect to the martyrs.” he added. “We have visited Shahid Minars year after year in the hope that some day good sense of the government would prevail.”

The PCP demanded that the government takes immediate steps to provide recognition to the languages of the national minorities and to launch primary education programme in these languages in CHT.

Update on Sajek attack: a charred body recovered
News No. 32/2010, February 20, 2010

A charred body of a Jumma woman has been recovered in Guchchagram, bringing the death toll to five. Her identity could not be ascertained.

The casualty figure may rise further, as many still remains unaccounted for.

A report says army have arrested eight Jummas in Mazolong, further east of Baghaihat where the attacks took place. No further details are available.

In another incident, the Bengalee settlers attacked a jeep carrying UPDF supporters to Dighinala at Khagrapur in Khagrachari town.

They were returning home after attending a demonstration in Khagrachari held in protest against the Sajek attack.

One UPDF supporter, Ripon Chakma (25) from Indramacahra village in Dighinala, was badly injured in the attack.

The settlers stopped their vehicle and pulled down five of them from it. After protests, the settlers have been forced to release them.

Tensions have risen in Khagrachari town following the incident.

Sajek attack leaves 4 dead, scores wounded
News No. 31/2010, February 20, 2010

At least four Jumma villagers have been confirmed dead and scores others wounded when the army fired indiscriminately into unarmed civilians without slightest provocation in Sajek under Rangamati district. They also burned burnt to ashes hundreds of houses, including a Buddhist temple and a church, in a number of villages.

The attack began last night when a group of army personnel and illegal Bengalee settlers burnt down 29 houses including 7 shops, a church and a UNDP-run village centre, in two Jumma villages of Gangaram Doar and Retkaba.

The villagers fled into the jungle when the attack took place.

After the first attack, the villagers returned to their villages the next morning and gathered in Gangaram to protest it.

At about 10am the army and settlers went there again and ordered the Jummas to leave the area, but they refused to comply.

At 10:25am the army opened fire into the crowd without any sort of provocation, leaving many dead and wounded. They army also arrested three persons from there.

Another group of trigger-happy army men entered Guchchagram, a cluster village for the Chakmas, across the Kachalong river, while firing from their automatic weapons.

It is still not clear how many people have been killed in the attacks. However, three of the dead have been identified. They are Laxmi Bijoy Chakma, Liton Chakma (30) and Buddhabati Chakma.

Some of the injured are Shanta Shil Chakma, Mrittunjoy Chakma, Sushil Jibon Chakma, Bharat Joti Chakma, Biza Ma Chakma and Rekha Devi Chakma.

Three Jummas -- Dayal Chakma, Chironjeeb Chakma and Nipu Chakma -- are still missing.

The army also attacked Purbo Para village and burnt the houses and Banani Bana Vihar, a Buddhist temple. The abbot of the vihara, Ven. Purnabas Bhikkhu, is missing.

Baghaichari Upazila chairman Sudarshan Chakma and other local Jumma leaders have been barred from visiting the spots. Only the Baghaichari Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) was allowed in.

The local administration has imposed section 144 in the area to prevent Jummas from taking out protest demonstrations.

UPDF and its front organisations have planned for demonstrations in three districts of Khagrachari, Bandarban and Rangamati, and in Dhaka and Chittagong.

Buddhist monks will also take up programmes to protest the barbaric attack in Sajek, a Jumma Bhikkhu in Dhaka told

Cultural organisation formed in Khagrachari
News No. 30/2010, February 20, 2010

A new cultural organisation styled “Protirodh Sangskritik Squad” (Resistance Cultural Squad) has been formed in Khagrachari.

The name of the organisation was announced yesterday, 19 February, at the end of a conference of cultural activists from different parts of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

About 100 cultural activists and delegates took part in the day-long conference held at Perachara High School.

A nine-member committee for the PSS was formed with Ananda Prakash Chakma and Udoy Jibon Chakma as convenor and member secretary respectively.

The PSS will seek to organise and lead a cultural movement against national repression in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Breaking News: Army, settlers attack Jumma village in Sajek
February 19, 2010

Army and settlers have attacked a Jumma village Gangaram in Sajek in Rangamati district, burning down a number of houses.

The attack began at 10:30pm. The Jummas fled their homes. There have been reports of widespread looting. The casualties are yet to be ascertained. urge human rights and indigenous peoples organisatoins to take immediate actions against the attack.

Latest (11:10pm): the soldiers have just torched Ladumoni bazaar.

PCP protests assassination bid on Choton Tanchangya
News No. 29/2010, February 19, 2010

The Hill Students Council (PCP) today staged a demonstration in Dhaka in protest at the assassination attempt on Choton Kanti Tanchangya, Organiser of UPDF Bandarban District Unit.

Members of the PCP Dhaka branch brought out a procession from Muktangon at 4pm and held a rally in front of the National Press Club in down town Dhaka.

The speakers condemned the attack on Choton and demanded that the government mete out exemplary punishment to the attackers.

PCP Dhaka branch leader Ms Rentina Chakma Nevi said “I strongly condemn this cowardice attack and demand that such kind of violence must stop.”

Sumen Chakma, General Secretary of PCP central committee, blamed the JSS (Santu faction) for the attack on Choton which took place yesterday in Bandarban and demanded maximum punishment be meted out to the culprits.

PCP Organising Secretary Thuiko Ching Marma also spoke at the rally.

The botched assassination attempt on Choton Tanchangya comes three weeks after Santu Larma had faced public outrage at Maischari as he was on his way to participate in a CHT Land Commission meeting in Khagrachari.

Choton contested in the last parliamentary election held in December 2008 from Bandarban constituency. He coordinates UPDF activities in the district.

He told that he would lodge a case today in connection with the assassination bid.

“Santu Larma not attacked, an investigative report vindicates our assertion,” claims UPDF
News No. 28/2010, February 19, 2010

An investigative report by Khamin published in the New Age Xtra magazine of 19 February 2010 issue vindicates the UPDF assertion that Santu Larma was not attacked on 27 January while he was on his way to attend a Land Commission meeting in Kahgrachari, claims UPDF leader Ujjal Smriti Chakma.

“The photographs taken from the spot at Maischari by the reporter and published along with the report clearly testify that it was more a protest than an attack.” he commented. (photograph attached)

The Khamin’s report carries two striking pictures, among others, which help one to understand the true nature of the incident of that day.

One of the pictures has been captioned: “Local residents at Maichchhari put up shoes on a tree beside the road to express their rage towards Larma”.

The other says: “Local residents at Maichchhari put up hand written festoons to protest against Larma.

Khamin spoke to local villagers of both Jumma and Bengalee communities, leaders of the UPDF and both factions of the JSS as well as local government authorities.

The local people denied that any attack, as claimed by JSS President Santu Larma, had ever taken place.

Dipak Chakma, a day-labourer told him: “Our intention, through the human chain, was to show him his failure at solving our problems. We want peace and also our lands that were grabbed by the Bengali settlers in this village.”

Another villager said “Our human chain stood by the road while chanting the slogans that we do not want Larma and do not want him to come to Khagrachhari.”

Khamin also quotes a woman participant in the protest as saying: “As soon as we heard this, (news of Santu Larma coming) around 80 villagers began to make festoons, posters and shoe wreaths to grab his attention.”

Khamin goes on to say: “However, some of these demonstrators got carried away and threw stones and pieces of wood at the motorcade, according to Konika. ‘We were not influenced by the UPDF or any other political parties,’ said Gulapi Chakma, another resident of Maichchhari Bazar.”

After the incident, Santu Larma told the journalists in Khagrachari that he was attacked by UPDF. However, UPDF strongly denied the allegation and said Santu Larma had actually faced public anger over his destructive politics.

The CHT Commission and some so-called progressive political parties were quick to condemn the “attack” which was unusual in that they had never in the past condemned the most gruesome attacks on UPDF leaders as well as former General Secretary of JSS, Mr. Chandra Shekhor Chakma who fell out with Santu Larma over corruption and his autocratic nature of handling party affairs.

The local reporters took Larma at his word, never taking the trouble of making an on-the-spot investigation at the place of occurrence.

It took an independent reporter from Dhaka to do the job and his report, one hopes, will settle the issue once and for all.

A people scorned

Khamin investigates the recent alleged attacks on Santu Larma and
other CHT leaders on January 27

Tri-Ratna Buddha Bihar point
of Maichchhari upazila where Larma's
convoy was attacked

Around 8:30 am on January 27, Santu Larma, the president of Parbatya
Chhattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS), Chakma circle chief Raja
Debashish Roy and Nikhil Kumar Chakma, chairman of Rangamati District
Council, were separately on their way to attend a Chittagong Hill
Tract (CHT) Land commission meeting. They were supposed to meet the
PCJSS vice president, Laxmi Prasad Chakma, to discuss the issues of
the Task Force for Indian Repatriated Tribal Refugees and Internally
Displaced People at the circuit house.

According to the victims, during their trip from Rangamati to
Khagrachhari, they were all attacked at different spots. ‘Every thing
was going well when sometime around 9:30am and 10:00am we faced the
first attack at the Betchhari point,’ said Santu Larma to Xtra.

According to Larma, he was attacked at three different points by
the activists of the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF). On the
other hand, members of the UPDF have already denied the allegations
while claiming that the whole incident was possibly instigated by a
faction of the PCJSS, who are against Larma.

The UPDF claimed, Larma’s PCJSS, although being in good terms with
the present government, has failed to secure the rights of ethnic
minorities in the CHT like settling the land disputes, recognition of
ethnic minorities in the constitution, military rule and settlers
migration in the CHT.

The incident has once again highlighted the delicate situation that
currently prevails at the CHT area following the much-discussed army

‘Bricks and pieces of trees were hurled at our motorcade,’ Santu
told Xtra, later on. ‘However, due to the speed of the vehicle, we
overcame the threat,’ he added.

Santu also claimed to have faced attacks at the Lembochhari and
Maichchhari upazila under Khagrachhari.

‘The third attack occurred at Tri-Ratna Buddha Bihar point of
Maichchhari upazila and this was more dangerous than the other two,’
claimed Larma. ‘Stones, bricks, shoes and pieces of logs were thrown
at the motorcade,’ he added.

Larma’s gunman, Tarjen Khisa, fired three rounds after the
miscreants threw stones at the convoy.

Soon after reaching the Khagrachari circuit house, around 11:00am,
Larma informed local reporters about the attack and claimed that such
incidents would not have occurred had the government provided him
proper security.

‘The UPDF definitely attacked us as the group has been at it for
the past 12 years,’ he told Xtra later while demanding that the
government ban the party.

However, UPDF waived away the allegations. ‘It is a funny
allegation. Betchhari to Lembochhari, through which Larma travelled,
is a very desolate place where anyone could have harmed him, but
nobody did. Instead, the place he claims he was attacked in is
actually a marketplace,’ said Ujjal Smriti Chakma, a central committee
member of UPDF and a convenor of Khagrachhari district.

‘He is giving the incident a political colour as we are the only
political party that has positive support from all levels of the CHT
public,’ he went on.

‘The media covered the news based on Larma’s speech. They should
have visited the spots where the alleged attacks took place and talked
to the residents to find the truth,’ he suggested.

On the other hand, PCJSS sources reasoned that UPDF is an
undemocratic and terrorist outfit in the CHT.

‘They are against the CHT peace accord that was signed on December
2, 1997,’ said Larma. As such, according to the PCJSS, the UPDF do not
want peace in the CHT.

The UPDF was established on December 3 in 1997 while burning the
CHT peace accord at Raju Chattar in front of the TSC at the Dhaka
University (DU) campus. Later, on December 25, 1998 the UPDF was
established politically to secure the rights of ethnic minorities in
CHT, they claim.

UPDF’s reasons that the peace accord is not a legally binding
document and it also contradicts the constitution. UPDF had pointed
out that in the constitution, only the district council has the sole
authority and the regional council, formed through the peace accord,
is not even recognised.

‘We are not against the CHT peace accord; we just refuse the accord
due to its illegality,’ said Smriti Chakma. ‘The accord is a deed that
is dependent on the president’s mercy and he can dismiss the accord as
it has no legal validity,’ he explained.

He even pointed out that the accord had not passed through
parliament and was not voted upon. ‘Then how is it legal?’ he asked.

Smriti provided a different probable scenario. ‘The attack was
probably carried out by a faction of PCJSS who are against Larma,’ he

He explained that the region from Lembochhari to Maichchhari is
highly under the influence of this splinter faction of PCJSS. ‘Local
residents of Maichchhari willingly attend their demonstrations and
rallies due to their dissatisfaction with Larma,’ he added.

But Santu Larma denied the allegation. ‘PCJSS is not divided into
two groups and there are no disagreements in our ranks, ever,’ said

However, according to local sources, over the past two years,
during the reign of the military-backed caretaker government, PCJSS
did split into two groups. One was Larma’s PCJSS and the other was a
reformist group that criticised Larma for his autocratic
decision-making style.

Chandra Shekhar Chakma had first criticised Larma’ activities
openly by distributing leaflets among the locals. There was an
assassination attempt on him for which the reformists pointed their
fingers towards Santu Larma.

However, although the bullet did not kill him, Chandra Shekhar died
later in the year from a stroke. He had earlier been elected twice as
general secretary of the PCJSS.

This reporter visited the three spots where the alleged attacks had
taken place. However, nobody could say for certain the spots where
Larma’s motorcade was attacked.

According to Larma, the attack in Maichchhari was the most notable
while the other two attacks in Betchhari and Lembochhari were not very

However, most locals at Lembochhari Bazar denied any such incident.
‘No, nothing like this ever occurred in this area and the media
basically published fake news,’ said Kali Ratan Talukder, a shopkeeper
at Lembochhari Bazar.

Local people claimed that there has been a massive uprising against
Larma’s activities in CHT over the years. The residents at Maichchhari
village had actually organised a human chain to protest against
Larma’s activities on that day.

The villagers pointed out that Larma has done little to solve the
problems they have been facing with Bengali settlers grabbing their
lands. ‘We tried to draw Larma’s attention a number of times so that
he solves these problems,’ said Ani Chakma of Maichchhari.

‘However, he is busy with his personal life and has no headache
over our problems! How was the peace accord implemented when our lands
were never returned?’ he questioned.

‘Around 8:00am on January 27, we heard that only Santu Larma was
coming to Khagrachhari via the road to attend the land commission
meeting,’ said Konika Chakma, a resident of Maichchhari Bazar. ‘As
soon as we heard this, around 80 villagers began to make festoons,
posters and shoe wreaths to grab his attention,’ she described.

‘Our intention, through the human chain, was to show him his
failure at solving our problems,’ said Dipak Chakma, a day-labour at
Maichchhari. ‘We want peace and also our lands that were grabbed by
the Bengali settlers in this village,’ he added.

According to these locals, they never really planned any attack.
‘Our human chain stood by the road while chanting the slogans that we
do not want Larma and do not want him to come to Khagrachhari,’ said a

However, some of these demonstrators got carried away and threw
stones and pieces of wood at the motorcade, according to Konika. ‘We
were not influenced by the UPDF or any other political parties,’ said
Gulapi Chakma, another resident of Maichchhari Bazar.

While UPDF and a faction of PCJSS have been blamed for the attack,
local people also suspected that a third party, probably influenced
the demonstration.

‘We should keep in mind that there is a third party that does not
want the implementation of the peace accord in the CHT,’ said Nilotpal
Khisa, a lecturer of Panchari College and a resident of Maichchhari.
‘These people could very well be those who have been active against
the Peace accord since its signing,’ he added, alluding to a third
force who are allegedly linked to BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami.

However, Larma’s own party men had a different take on the alleged
incident. ‘Larma is the kind of man who always wants to be in the
media’s spotlight,’ said Rupayan Dewan, a member of PCJSS, when asked
about the incident. ‘He is efficient at creating situations through
which he will create a stir leading to headlines in the media,’ he

‘Actually, his status is falling every day in the CHT due to his
involvement in various immoral and selfish activities. His activities
have been questioned by many PCJSS committee members and dedicated
PCJSS leaders including Shaktiman Chakma, Shudha Shindhu Chakma,
Tatindra Lal Talukder (Major Pale Babu), Gaoutam Kumer Chakma (former
vice chairman of PCJSS),’ he added.

He also pointed out that the National council of PCJSS expired on
March 3 in 2009. ‘However, Larma is not taking any initiative to call
a council,’ he informed.

‘Larma is an autocratic person and is operating according to his
own will. He does not follow the organisational rules of PCJSS and
this is creating dissatisfaction amongst the other congress members,’
he said.

On February 3, a high powered investigation team, headed by ASP
Shakila Sultana of the Khagrachhari circle, came to investigate the
incident. ‘We have not found any clues yet about the incident,’ said
ASP Sultana to the press.

She pointed out that there is evidence that some unknown people had
thrown stones from the right side of Larma’s motorcade thus breaking
the glasses on the right side of his vehicle. ‘He probably injured a
finger on his right hand through the broken glass,’ she speculated.

Mohalchhari’s acting office commissioner, Abdul Mannan Khan, also
claimed that he did not find any clues and was unsure about UPDF’s
involvement in the attack.

‘I think a particular group, who does not want the peace accord to
be implemented in the CHT, is behind this,’ said Delwar Hossain, a
timber trader at Maichchhari. ‘UPDF does not want the implementation
of the peace accord and have probably done this in connivance with the
BNP-Jamaat alliance,’ he said.

New Age, Xtra, February 19, 2010

Assassination attempt on UPDF leader in Bandarban
News No. 27/2010, February 18, 2010

There has been an assassination attempt on United Peoples’ Democratic
Front (UPDF) leader in the southern CHT district of Bandarban.

According to UPDF and independent sources, UPDF’s Bandarban District
Organiser Choton Kanti Tanchangya was sipping tea at a restaurant at
Balaghata, a suburb of Bandarban town, at 2:30pm when a group of JSS
(Santu Larma faction) members appeared.

One of them took out a revolver and pulled the trigger after pointing
it at Mr. Choton. However, the trigger betrayed, and other JSS men
attacked him with clubs and sticks.

The attack left Choton seriously injured. He has been admitted to
Bandarban Sadar Hospital in senseless condition.

The people present at the restaurant resisted the JSS attackers and
caught one of them red handed. He has been identified as Antor Chakma,
from Rangamati.

He admitted that he has been assigned by Santu Larma to kill Choton
and other UPDF leaders in Bandarban.

The crowed gave him a sound beating before handing him over to the police.

Three rounds of bullets along with the revolver have been recovered from him.

Another attacker has been identified as S. A. Maung, who leads the JSS
armed group in Bandarban area.

UPDF has condemned the assassination attempt on Choton Kanti
Tanchangya and urged the government to take stern actions against JSS
(Santu Larma faction) armed groups.

Bikram Chakma, a UPDF member in Bandarban, told the JSS
(Santu group) had been threatening Choton for the last two – three

“We knew Santu Group men had come with a mission to kill or harm Mr.
Choton, and therefore we were on our guard.” he said.

UPDF leader Ujjal Smriti Chakma said violence has become a creed of
JSS (Santu). “How can he remain in power in RC when his terrorist
gangs go about killing and abducting innocent people everywhere?” he

“Obviously, there is state sanction behind his criminal activities.
Santu Babu is implementing the government blueprint to destroy the
Jummas by pitting his group against the whole Jummas. This is the only
reason why he continues to spurn UPDF offer of talks.” he added.

“If he disobeys his masters in Dhaka today, he will lose his position
at the RC tomorrow. This is as plain as that; and he is too faithful
to his masters to disobey them.”


HWF-PCP-DYF staged a demonstration in Khagrachari in protest at attack
on Choton Tanchanya.

The demonstrators chanted slogans against government-backed JSS (Santu
faction) terrorists and demanded that the government arrests and try
Santu Larma, the source of all evils in CHT.

Tense in Sajek: Jumma women feel insecurity
News No. 26/2010, February 17, 2010

As tensions between Jummas and Bengali settlers continue to mount in Sajek, Jumma women, particularly those living beside Bengali settlements and military and para-military posts, feel insecurity both at homes as well as at work.

Last night all the villagers of Hazachara had to come forward in aid of a Jumma housewife who had run away from her home to save herself from the marauding settlers.

According to sources, around 9PM a group of settlers and members of para military Ansar went to the house of Sushil Chakma, a Jum cultivator. He was not at home – away to Reserve Forest for bamboo-cutting – and his wife Chander Mala Chakma (35) was just in bed with her five young children when she heard the footsteps of the stalkers.

Sensing that they had bad intentions, she silently ran out of the house through a hole of the ramshackle bamboo wall, and so did her children.

After going a few distances, she gave a loud shout and called for help.

Hearing this, the villagers also gave shouts in chorus as a way of support and rushed to her and rescued her.

Chander Mala’s house is located within 250 yards of Baghaihat zone, and there is an Ansar post near her house.

One Jumma woman in Sajek described their lives as hell and said: “There is no security here and many villagers had to keep their young girls with their relatives in other areas.”

She admitted, however, that after the revolts of the Jumma women the army had to reduce their movements.

“But still there is no safety and security, because you do not know when they will come and raid our homes and arrest our husbands and sons.” she said.

She also alleged that the army is instigating the settlers to “grab our lands” and pick up quarrels with us.

Tense in Sajek: settlers attempt to kidnap one
News No. 25/2010, February 16, 2010

Tensions between Jummas and Bengali settlers have heightened in Sajek in Rangamati district as a group of settlers made an attempt to kidnap a Jumma businessman at Gangaram Doar of the area.

Sources said Abhilash Chakma, a resident of Talukderpara in Marishya and a businessman, was stopped by a group of settlers at Gangaram Doar in Sajek at 11.45am today.

He was on his way to Mazolong on business from Marishya on a motorbike.

The settlers roughed him up, took his motorbike away and tried to kidnap him. However, the nearby Jumma villagers rushed there and rescued him.

After protests, the settlers were forced to return his motorbike few minutes later.

Tensions have been prevailing in Sajek between Jumma people and illegal Bengali settlers for the last few days over a host of issues including land grabbing.

The Jummas have been boycotting Baghaihat bazaar since 18 January to press their demand for putting an end to illegal land grabbing and withdrawal of the army and settlers from the area.

They allege that the army is responsible for repressing innocent Jumma villagers and instigating settlers to grab their lands.

JSS Santu faction kidnaps one in Jurachari
News No. 24/2010, February 14, 2010

The armed Jana Samhati Samiti militants (Santu faction) have kidnapped a supporter of the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF) in Jurahcari in Rangamati district, sources say.

The incident took place yesterday about 7:30pm. According to an independent source, a group of about 15 Santu loyalists led by Hridoy Kumar Chakma (60), Promesh Chakma and Joti Chakma abducted Kalpa Ranjan Chakma (35) son of Ram Chakma from his home in the village of Daney Panchari under Jurachari Sadar Union.

The JSS men were armed with automatic weapons and aggressive in their behaviour.

Kalpa Ranjan Chakma is the president of the Village Committee in his village and actively supports the United Peoples Democratic Front.

One of the kidnappers, Hridoy Kumra Chakma, is an accused in a murder case and is now on bail.

The JSS members also beat up five other villagers for providing support to the UPDF, which has become the leading party championing the cause of the Jumma people, routing the JSS from most of the areas held by it earlier.

The victims have been identified as Shankar Chakma (35) son of Debendra Chakma, his wife Maharani Chakma, his son Sorit Chakma, Birongo Chakma (33) son of Shashi Moni Chakma and Balaram Chakma (30) son of Ananda Kumar Chakma.

Shanti Dev Chakma, UPDF’s Rangamati District Unit Organiser, condemned the kidnapping as cowardice and urged Santu Larma to shun violence and come to the negotiating table.

“These kinds of violence only serve the interest of the oppressors of the Jumma people and should be condemned by all those who claim to support the cause of the Jumma people.” he said in a telephone interview with

He also urged the Santu loyalists not to harm Kalpa Ranjan Chakma and release him immediately.

Human chain against land grabbing in Bandarban
News No. 23/2010, February 11, 2010

The Bangladesh Tripura Christian Students’ Association and Sadharan Tripura Janagoshti (Common Tripura People) formed a human chain Wednesday, yesterday, in front of Bandarban Press Club against attempts at land grabbing in Tonkabati Union.

They demanded arrest and trial of those responsible for the attack on the villagers of Jotram Karbari Para and the burning down of a house.

BTCSA President Naha Tripura said a total of 25 Tripura families with Jotram Tripura as their chief were rehabilitated by Forest Department under Tonkabati Union (No. 310) in 1985-86. Each of these families was given 5 acres of land – 4.5 acres for horticulture and .5 acre for homestead.

“The settlers are now trying to evict these poor families and grab their lands” he alleged.

On 2 February, a group of settlers led by Nasir Uddin attacked the Jumma villagers with dao (a kind of knife), stick and seesaw and torched a house.

Daity Tripura, Goyonganti Tripura, Terun Tripura, Michael Tripura and Hastaram Tripura were seriously injured in the attack.