Friday, February 29, 2008

Food aid for BD villagers hit by rat invasion

Source by-
Friday, February 29, 2008

DHAKA: The United Nations said Thursday it would distribute food and rat traps to people facing famine in southeastern Bangladesh where a plague of rodents has led to widespread crop destruction.

Around 7,000 of the most severely affected families in the Rangamati district would receive rice, shrimp paste, salt and two rat traps each, said Prasenjit Chakma of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Chakma said three parts of Rangamati district in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region had been hardest hit by the food shortages, with up to 26,000 people in urgent need. “All the crops and vegetables have been eaten up by the rats. The situation is perilous for the families. It is causing a famine-like situation in the hills,” he said.

Aid workers say around 150,000 people have been affected in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh army and Chittagong Hill Tracts district council were also handing out aid, he said, adding that the UNDP food distribution would begin next week.

Flowering of bamboo forests for the first time in 50 years in areas along the border with India has led to the so-called “rat-flood.” The rodents have multiplied in number by feeding on bamboo blossoms, rice stalks and vegetables. Villagers say that whatever they try to grow is devoured within hours.

The bamboo forests first began blossoming last year in the Lusai Hills in the neighbouring Indian state of Mizoram.The authorities there declared it a disaster zone after rats went on to eat food stocks. The problem soon spread to Bangladesh’s hill districts along a 300-kilometre (180-mile) border stretch. Locals said the plague happens once every 50 to 60 years, with the last such disaster in 1958.

Attempted rape in Dighinala, Army intervenes
News No. 37/2008, February 29, 2008

A 14-year old Jumma girl has been subjected to sexual assault in Dighinala under Khagrachari district.

A belated report from the area said on 19 January 2008, Saturday, at around 4 pm Ms Orchoto Chakma (father's name Birendra Chakma) of Hatchinsonpur village under Kobakhali Union (No. 3) went to the nearby grazing field to fetch their cows.

Seeing her alone, a settler cowboy named Shukkur Ali, aged 21, s/o Suruj Ali of the same Hatchinson area grabbed her and made attempts to rape her. He was probably lying in wait for her, for he must have known who the cows belonged to.

Orchoto resisted with all her might and as luck would have it, found a wood or bamboo stick to defend herself. As she got a breathing space she cried aloud for help.

Hearing her scream, the villagers rushed there, rescued her and nabbed the culprit red-handed. Later they handed him over to Bishwa Kalyan Chakma, chairman of Kobakhali Union Parishad.

Later in the day, after the incident, an arbitration meeting was held in the house of UP Chairman Biwsha Kalyan Chakma in which elders from both the communities attended. The settlers were represented by Borhan Uddin, member of Ward No. 5, Kobakhali Union Council, Boshor Member, Monnaf Leader and others.

The meeting unanimously decided to fine Shukkur Ali, the offender, Taka 500 for attempted rape.

However, one week after the said arbitration meeting the settlers approached Qamrul Hassan, second-in-command of Dighinala zone, who was the mastermind behind attempts to capture Sadhana Tila land last year, and asked for his help to make the Jummas pay for the "insults meted out to the whole settler community" by slapping a fine on Sukkur Ali for a trivial matter.

Emboldened by their meeting with the army commander, the settlers flouted the decision taken at the arbitration meeting and made a counter-demand that the Jummas must pay Taka 30,000 for "beating" Sukkur Ali.

In the meantime, Qamrul Hassan called the Jumma elders to his camp and threatened to "smash the bones of their body" if the demand of the settlers were not met.

Army prevents uplift of yet another Kuthir in Maischari
News No. 36/2008, February 28, 2008

Army on 22 February prevented Jumma Buddhist devotees from launching work to uplift Maischari Arannyo Kuthir, a Buddhist temple, in Mahalchari under Khagrachari district.

Army personnel from Bizitola camp drove away the Jummas when they approached the Kuthir.

In 2006, the settlers set the Kuthir on fire and lands adjacent to it were seized by them. The settlers also built houses near the Kuthir and are making attempts to grab Kuthir'a land itself triggering legal battle with the Jummas.

Three innocent villagers arrested in Dadkuppya
News No. 35/2008, February 28, 2008

Three innocent villagers were arrested by army personnel from Dadkuppya camp in Khagrachari on 27 February.

The army personnel raided the house of Rupayan Chakma (25) at midnight and took him and other two persons - Supayan Chakma (18) s/o Bhut-to Chakma and Bhardaj Muni Chakma (19) - to the camp. The later two youths hails from Bodanala and came there to help Rupayan Chakma to arrange for his wedding party.

The raid came as all was set, according to Chakma customs, for the wedding party to set out for a formal visit to the bride's home at Shukujjyapara village in Bizitola next morning. The visit could not take place as the bridegroom himself was arrested.

No reason was given for the arrest. The soldiers also searched the house and took away gold ornaments and wedding dresses meant for the bride and cash Taka 8 thousand. A coupon book for raising funds for a critically sick girl was also seized.

The chairman of Kiang-ghat Union, Mr. Bishwajit Chakma met an army officer of the camp today and discussed the case of the arrested Jummas.

The commander is reported to have told him that they would inquire about the arrested Jummas and release them if found innocent.

However, they have not been released till mid-day today.

Seminar on CHT held in Dhaka
News No. 34/2008, February 26, 2008

A seminar on the "struggle for establishing rights of the national minorities of the Chittagong Hill Tracts and democratic constitution" was held at R. C. Majumder Memorial Hall, Dhaka University today. Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir and Hill Women's Federation jointly organised the seminar.

Presided over by Hasibur Rahman, General Secretary of Bangladesh Lekhok Shibir, the seminar was addressed by Badruddin Umar, noted leftist theoretician and president of Bangladesh Jatiya Mukhti Council, Ms Samari Chakma, member, central committee, United People's Democratic Front (UPDF), A. K. Fazlul Haq, professor of Bangla, Dhaka University, Ricoh Chakma, president of Hill Student's Council and Singpat Mro, a member of Mro nationality studying in Notre Dem College, Dhaka.

Ms Samari Chakma presented a keynote paper on the subject, while HWF President Ms Sonali Chakma conducted the seminar.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Villagers tortured in Baghaichari
News No. 33/2008, February 24, 2008

Three Jumma villagers were tortured by army yesterday, 23 February, in Baghaichari Upazila under Rangamati district.

The incident occurred when a group of army personnel from Korengatoli camp raided the village of Tulaban. They interrogated Shankar Chakma (30) s/o Melallya Chakma, Manek Bosu Chakma (25) s/o Bindu Lal Chakma and Mongol Kusum Chakma (30) s/o Dhan Chan Chakma about the killing of Tapan Chakma, a supporter of the JSS (reformist), who was gunned down a day earlier, on 22 February.

When they said they did not know who had killed him, the army personnel beat them severely.

Friday, February 22, 2008


By Manimoy Dewan, Secretary Condolence Committee, Kolkata

(1921 – 2008)

The Chakma Rajguru Most Venerable Aggavamsa Mahathera was born on 8th December 1921 in a village which was surrounded with lush green hills and dense forest called Kutubdia in Chittagong Hill Tracts. His fathers name was Rudrasingh Mahajan and mother Dakhini Chakma Tong Changya. His parent gave his name as Fulanath Tang Changya. He grew with the boundless natural beauty of the valley. When he was young he realized that the power of knowledge and wisdom could develop the people of Chittagong Hill Tracts. He began his formal education in Rainkhong Kutubdia Christian School. His teachers” name was Mon Bahadur. After completion of his primary education he was admitted to Rangunia High School and later Koya Para High School. In the year 1937 on the full moon of Baisakhi Purnima he became “Samanera” i.e., ordained pabajjya at the age of 16 years in Rainkhong Kutubdia Aryapur Boudha Vihar situated at the bank of river Rainkhong, under the supervision of Venerable. Tessa Mahathera, the Lord abode of the Vihara.

In the year 1942 at the age of 21 years he took higher ordination of Upasampada on the full moon of Baisakhi Purnima under the Venerable U. Pajna Mahathera and lead a monastic life and continued with education. In the year 1947 on 15th June he came to Rangoon (Myanmar) for higher education and to learn meditation. He obtained M.A. degree in Buddhist philosophy. He has been honoured as “Vinaya Visaradh” by the Let Perhang University and Kamaihada University of Burma. He took training on Bidarshan Bavana in Internationally famous Bidarshan Bhavana centre at Mahasiadh Bidarshan centre for 5 month and honoured as Bidarshan Acharya. He spent 10 years in Rangoon and became renowned scholar in Theravada Buddhism. He worked in the protocol section of 6th Sangiti from 1953 to 1955.He has been honoured as “Tripitak Visaradh” by the Sangha Raj Bhikku Mahasabha of Chittagong. He has represented in the 3rd world Buddhist conference from Chittagong Hill Tracts.

On 26th December 1957 he returned to his motherland. In the year 1958 on the request of the Chakma Raja His Highness Tridiv Roy, he became the Lord Abbot of Raj Vihara and honoured as CHAKMA RAJGURU.Such an honoured was and unprecedented event in the entire Chittagong Hill Tracts. It was a memorable occasion for Venerable Aggavamsa Mahathera the way the Royal family and the people made him as a CHAKMA RAJRURU. At that time situation was different. The people were confused on Buddhism represented by the illiterate Rauli Monk influenced by tantricism. He began to work for the revival of Therovada Buddhism, Buddhist culture and education. RajGuru Ven. Aggavamsa Mahathera moved from village to village, preaching the people on Therovada Buddhism. He brought waves on Buddhist culture amongst the people. He re-established Katrina Civara Dana Ceremony, Buddha Puja, in a manner followed by the ancient Buddhist under his able guidance and continued efforts a great social and religious revival took place in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. He was a great social and religious reformer in Chittagong Hill Tracts.

He became Mahathera on 9th April 1965.He founded Boudha Juba Sangha, Aryapur M.E School, now Kangra Chari High School, Bagal Tali Boudha Vihar, Rainkhong KutubDia Boudha Vihar,“The Buddhist Mission” “The Parvattya Chattagram Buddha Samity” . He had participated in the All India Bhikku conference held at Bodha Gaya in the year 1973 where he had presided one day in the conference. He had also participated in a 3 days conference at Mahabodhi Society Hall, Kolkata in the same year. He attended in the International Buddhist Conference held in Nepal in the year 1977. In the year 1982 he had attended human Rights Conference in Netherland and presented his speech on the inhuman torture by the military to the mass trible people of CHT. .He was invited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Geneva on 29th July- 2nd August 1985, Commission on Human Rights on Minorities Working Group on Indigenous people. He utilized the opportunity to focus the plight and sufferings of the people of Chittagong Hill Tracts.. He visited United Kingdom, Germany, Netherland, Switzerland, France, Thailand, .Srilanka, Nepal and many other countries, and preached humanity, international brotherhood and world peace.

He established relationship with a number of Internationals Organization such as World Fellowship of Buddhist, Thailand, Mahabodhi Society of India, Kalinga Nippon Buddhist Sangha, Japan, Union Buddha Sasana Council, Burma, The Colombo Youngman Buddhist Association, Srilanka, The Burma Buddhist World Mission Myanmar, London Buddhist Society, London and All India Bengal Buddhist Association, India. He wrote about 50 books on Buddhism and wrote many articals. These are Samabaya Buddha Upasana, Buddha Upasana (Loka Bibhag) Buddha Upasana
(Lokottar Bibhag) on meditation, Chakma Gidedi Mongal Sutra, Parina Natak(Play), Stop Genocide in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Sramaner Sikhaniya, Bidarshan Bavana Niti,Budha Samantika, Bisudhi Marga, Geeti Manjuri (Chakma and Bengali) Pratisodh (play), Habhilayar Sangsar (Chakma Play) Chakma Kadadi Dammapada,He translated many books from ancient Pali Text to Bengali and English.

He came to India in the year 1979 and visited religious Buddhist Centre in India. Ven.Dharama Pal Mahathera lord abbot of Dharamankur Boudha Vihara has extended hearthy welcome . He founded The Buddhist Mission at Kolkata with the help of Sri Gopal Bhusan Chakma, eminent social worker at Baguihati, Kolkata. He was honoured as a PANDIT by the Calcutta University. He was appointed as a visiting professor of Pali literature, and also as an external examiner of PhD thesis of the Calcutta University. In the year 1986 Ven. Bimal Tissa Mahathera came to India and met with Ven Rajguru at Kolkata. Ven. RajGuru shared his experience, guidance, and gave moral support to Ven. Bimal Tissa Mahathera. Both together with the association of eminent Chakma living in Kolkata founded the great institution “Shishu Koruna Sangha” in the year 1986. Ven. RajGuru became the founder President of the organization.

He had good number of disciple’s, among them the Ven.Jyotipal Mahathera (Arunachal Pradesh), Ven.Tilaka Nanda Mahathera now president of Parbatya Bhikku sangha, Ven. Prabarananda Mahathera (Subalong), Ven.SumanaNanda Mahathera (Chengi), Ven.Subhachar Thera and many others.. He had given the name “Sadhana Nanda”at the time of Upasampada to most renowned Buddhist Monk Ven. Sadhanananda Mahathera popularly known as “BANA BHANTE”.

He had always a strong feeling for his motherland CHT. Due to his
Old age he was suffering from diseases. His mind was to go back to his native place. Finally he started his journey on 19th January 2001 from India to Bangladesh. Ven. Bimal Tissa Mahathera had made all arrangement. Ven. Prajananda Mahathera, the lord abode of Shakkya Muni Buddha Vihar, Dhaka extended all necessary assistance. Later on he went to Rangamati at the request of His Highness Chakma Raja Debasish Roy.

At the age of 88 years he took his last breath on Saturday 5th January 2008 at Raj Vihar, Rangamati, his motherland and left us for heavenly abode, resting in eternal peace .He was like HIS HIGHNESS DALAI LAMA to us, a great son of Chittagong hill Tracts. He rediscovered the

Therovada Buddhism and Buddhist culture in this subcontinent. This was his greatest contribution to the humanity. This vacuum cannot be filled up. It is a great loss for the Chakmas, Marmas, Baruas and for the entire Buddhist world. His immortal body is kept under reservation. The date of cremation is yet to fix. Thousand devotees will attend to pull the rope ON A MAGNIFICANT RATH, HIS LAST JOURNEY and pay their last respect and homage to the great religious teacher.

On this 17th of February, 2008 we at Bodhicariya Vihara Pay our respect and homage to our beloved Raj Guru Aggavamsa Mahathero.We all pray that Raj Guru Aggavamsa Mahthera may achieve NIVVANA.

Sabbe Satta Bhavantu Sukhitatta

Supporter of JSS (reformist) shot dead
News No. 32/2008, February 22, 2008

The armed members of the Jana Samhati Samiti (Santu) shot dead a supporter of its rival faction known as JSS (reformists) in the village of Kadamtali under Baghaichari Upazila of Rangamati district at 8 a.m. today.

The victim, identified as Tapan Chakma, was gunned down at his home. No further details are available.

Kadamtali is located about 4km east of Baghaichari sub-district headquarters.

The incident comes less than 15 days after the killing of two JSS (reformist) members in a similar attack in the same area.

On 9 February the armed members of the JSS (Santu) shot dead Tontu Chakma (35) and Suresh Chandra Chakma (32) at Rangadurchari area under Khedarmara Union.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"I have learnt too much of brushfire"

- Major Mahabub
News No. 30/2008, February 21, 2008

On 9 February a group of 19 army personnel from Ghilachari camp in Kawkhali of Rangamati district conducted search operations following the alleged kidnapping of Hemanta Chakma, a BRAC employee.

The soldiers searched four village kiosks at Panchari and scattered the merchandise all over the ground. They also interrogated the people about Hemanta Chakma. The soldiers asked Sunil Talukder, headmaster of Panchari High School, whether he knew Hemanta Chakma, whether he had been kidnapped and whether he knew his whereabouts etc.

When he replied in the negative, the army men tried to implicate him with the alleged kidnapping. Major Mahabub threatened him saying: "I am Major Mahabub. I have learnt too much of brushfire".

The army then took him to the school playground along with them. Teachers and students were playing volleyball at the time. Major Mahabub forced them to halt the game and asked each one of them about UPDF.

Five or six soldiers went to Binoyankur Buddhist temple, forced Rev. Dwip Bongshaw Bhikkhu, the chief priest of the temple, and another Buddhist Sramana (novice) out and took them to the playground.

The Major charged that UPDF hid firearms inside the temple. The Bhikkhu denied it and told him that he had never seen them carrying firearms.

The army personnel asked them to report to the camp if they knew about the whereabouts of Hemanta Chakma and then left.

Hemanta Kanti Chakma s/o Patindra Lal Chakma of Dolupara village in Bormachari under Kawkhali thana is an employee of Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), a non-governmental organisation. He was a member of the student wing of the Jana Samhati Samiti (Santu) and tortured many innocent students alleging them to be supporters of UPDF. He and his gang members did it with full backing of the army and JSS leaders. His usual method of operation was to beat up alleged UPDF supporters and then hand them over to the police or army.

The villagers of the area don't think that he was kidnapped. They believe that he was taken to a safer place by his torture victims to discuss compensation and the cases filed against them.

Army prevents a Jumma from constructing houses in Maischari, soldiers injured in monkey attack
News No. 29/2008, February 20, 2008

On 17 February, army personnel from Kiang-ghat camp in Khagrachari prevented Pabullya Chakma s/o late Chigono Chakma of village Karallyachari from constructing a house on his own land.

Mr. Chakma bought two sacks of cement and other house building materials, but the army ordered him not to construct the house. His land lies about half a kilometer from Sarnath Arannyo Kuthir.

The army also prevented the uplift work of the Kuthir, run a disciple of Rev. Bana Bhante, the most revered Arhant Buddhist monk in Bangladesh. Troops have been deployed at the Kuthir area since January 3 to make sure that the order is complied with.

Of course, uplift work has been stopped and the army also succeeded in preventing a religious gathering at the Kuthir (the event took place in the village). But when they were basking in victory it never occurred to them that there is a thing called natural punishment.

And this is what they have met with recently. It is easy for the army to impose its will on the innocent Jumma villagers, but it is not that so when it comes to wild animals. They are not bound to obey human laws and orders as they have their own laws. Therefore, the army and monkeys have come face to face with each other in the theatre of the war.

The war has already broken out and the army has suffered two casualties. A few days back troops of monkeys launched their first surprise attack on the army soldiers posted at Sarnath Arannyo Kuthir and injured one. The wounded soldier had to be treated in the hospital. The second attack has taken place today leaving another army man seriously injured. No casualties have been reported from the monkey's side!

Obviously, the army has found its own match!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Land grabbing attempts continue: army orders Jumma villagers to vacate land
News No. 28/2008, February 17, 2008

On 7 February Dui Tila army camp commander Subedar Mohammad Malek unveiled plan to settle 50 illegal Bengali settler families in Tin Tila area under Baghaichari Upazilla of Rangamati district.

The commander also ordered 9 Jumma villagers to leave their homesteads in Tin Tila. They are Gongotya Chakma (45) of Betagichara village, Banshi Chakma (40) of village Betagichara, Sambhulal Chakma (50) of village Betagichara, Kishor Chakma (35) of village Betagichara, Chikondhan Chakma (35) of village Hazachara, Kanti Chakma (35) of village Hazachara, Kishtojoy Chakma (35) of village Hazachara, Kalomoni Chakma (35) of village Moghban and Purnadarshi Chakma (45) of village Tintila.

Subedar Malek unveiled his plan at a meeting on that day with 5 Jumma elders he called at his camp. The Jummas present at the meeting were Natin Chakma (village chief), Chitta Ranjan Chakma and Suresh Chakma of Boro Hazachara village, Bharat Kumar Karbari of Noapara village in Tintila and Sumojya Karbari of Rannyabon Chara village.

Malek told them that 50 settler families would be settled in Tintila area and warned: "if the settlers face any troubles (with the settlement), you and all the Pahari people (of the area) will be held responsible for that."

He further said that no one will be allowed to build houses within 300 yards of the (Dighinala - Baghaihat) road. "However, houses can be built and orchards and plantations created outside of that area," he added.

The army commander asked the Jumma elders to produce Pora Chakma (30) of village Rannyabon Chara under Tintila Mouza before him. The army suspects him of carrying out an arson attack on a newly built settler house near the camp.

Apart from the Jumma elders, three Bengali settlers - Abdul Matin Leader, Mohammad Selim Bahari, a leader of Sama Odhikar Andolan, a ultra communal outfit of the settlers, and Mian Member, incumbent commissioner of Baghaivchari Municipality - were also present at the meeting. They suggested that all the lands of Tintila are Khas (not owned by individuals). "If the Paharis can live here, why can't we?" they asked slyly.

The army and the illegal settlers have been trying to grab about 14 acres of land in the area. Of these, 12 acres belong to Chitta Ranjan Chakma and Pora Chakma of Rannyachara village under Baghaichari Upazila. The remaining 2 acres belong to Dildar Chakma of village Boro Hazachara under Merung in Khagrachari district.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Internally displaced in CHT continue to suffer

Our correspondance,

Barendra Tripura cannot afford the 20-odd-kilometre ride on 'chandergari', ramshackle jeeps turned into public transports that meander through the hilly terrain with more passengers and goods than they ought to carry, to the Massalong bazaar to buy a month's provisions for his family.

Once every month, the 55-year old starts from his house in the remote hills of Rangamati for the bazaar very early in the morning. He walks 40-plus kilometres to the bazaar and back to buy rice, salt, kerosene and vegetables for his four-member family.

On his latest trip to the bazaar, he had Tk 200 to buy provisions for the family, which translates into 83 paisa per person per day.

'I could manage only Tk 200, that too after two months. If I take chandergari, half of it will be spent on the fare,' said Barendra, as he walked through Konglak, a hill top locality more than 2,200 feet above the sea level, on his way to the Massalong bazaar on February 7.

Barendra, who has recently migrated from the Toi Choi mauza to Natunbari High School para (neighbourhood), is one of many internally displaced people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts who have virtually no social and economic security.

Like many others, he was forced to leave his ancestral home in Khagrachari because of the decades-long armed conflict in the hill tracts.

Internal displacement in the hill tracts started with the construction of the Kaptai dam and intensified during the armed conflict, which left more than 8,500 people killed.

Forced eviction, atrocities during the conflict between the government and the rebels, confiscation of land to establish military camps, population transfer programme, clashes between Bengali settlers and minority ethnic groups have also compelled many hill people to flee their homesteads.

Repatriation and rehabilitation of refugees was started with the signing of an agreement between the government and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti, bringing an end to the insurgency in late 1997, paving ways for resettlement of the displaced people.

But the problem remained thanks to inefficacy of two bodies formed to resolve the problems. The task force to rehabilitate the displaced people and the land reforms commission to settle land disputes have never functioned effectively even after 10 years of signing of the deal.

A large number of displaced people still live in reserved forest areas in the deep interior of Rangamati and Khagrachhari. Most of the refugees, repatriated from neighbouring India, live in makeshift camps housed at different government institutions in the districts with little food aid from the government.

There has been no charity for the internally displaced ones. They lack food, water, medical treatment, education, sanitation and other amenities, forcing them to continuous habitat shift from one place to other in search for better livelihood supports. Additionally, they face eviction threat from forest officials on a regular basis.

Neither the district administration nor the taskforce on CHT refugee has correct statistics on the number of displaced people, although the government spends a significant amount of money on the refugees' cause.

In the last 20 years, Tk 1,100 crore was spent from the public exchequer on the refugees, the deputy commissioner of Khagrachari, Shahadat Hossain, said.

Asked about the condition of the internally displaced persons, the chairman of the taskforce, Samiran Dewan, told New Age that a list of displaced people was prepared. 'But not all displaced people were accommodated in it.'

The list stirred a controversy as Bengalis from the plains were also included it, he added.

The hill leaders opposed inclusion of Bengalis settlers in the list, almost stalling the rehabilitation process.

'We had a series of dialogues over the matter but failed to come to any conclusion,' Samiran said.

He added that the taskforce is now tasked with distribution of rations among 12,222 families, including 90,208 from indigenous communities. Official estimates say between 500,000 and 550,000 people were displaced due to the conflict.

According to available statistics, some 5,100 people from 1,000 families were repatriated while the internally displaced people could not return to their original villages.

'Dithering by the government has put us on the street. We are not sure whether we'll get back our home and land,' a member of a repatriated family told New Age at Dighinala Upazila headquarters, where several hundred repatriated families took shelter on the premises of different government establishments.

He said the administration serve them with eviction notices on a regular basis.

'Where should I go…my land is still occupied by Bengali settlers with the assistance from the administration, why they [Bengali settlers] are not served notices,' the returnee, who was evicted from his home in 1986 in the wake of arson attacks by Bengali settlers.

After the military-controlled interim government came to power, the taskforce chairman claimed that it had rehabilitated 26 refugee families at Dhiginala.

However, local sources said, these families were not rehabilitated on their land. They were rehabilitated on a highland, not suitable for agricultural production.

Jumma NGO worker raped in Khagrachari
News No. 27/2008, February 14, 2008

Newspaper reports said a female Jumma NGO worker has been raped in Khagrachari. She hails from southern CHT district of Bandarban.

The daily Prothom Alo and the daily Purbokone reported that police on Tuesday arrested Sultan Mahabub Mian, area manager of Padakshep, a national NGO, and Mithu, another staff, on charge of raping a female employee.

The unnamed victim, who works for the same NGO, alleged that when she went to their office at Matiranga Upazila on last Thursday, Sultan Mahabub Mian told her that her brother had fallen sick and waiting for her at the NGO's area office in Khagrachari district headquarter.

Thereafter, Sultan drove her to Padakshep's Khagrachari area office and raped her the whole night.

Sub-Inspector of Khagrachari police station Mr. Monju Doha said a case was filed in this connection and that the medical test report was yet to come.

The Purbokone said according to case No. 6 dated 12/1/08 medical test of the victim was conducted.

It further said that Sultan Mahabub Mian was produced before the court yesterday. The court granted one-day remand for him.

Army raids house of UPDF activist again in Jurachari
News No. 26/2008, February 14, 2008

The military have conducted, for the second time in 10 days, raids on the house of Binoy Chakma (26) s/o Ramani Mohan Chakma in the village of West Balukhali under Rangamati district.

The latest raid was carried out at around 7pm 13 February by a group of army personnel from Lulongchari camp (No. 10) in Jurachari.

The soldiers searched the house extensively and harassed the inmates, one source said. However, he did not go into details.

The raid comes 10 days after the first one on 4 February.

UPDF activist arrested in Gamaridhala
News No. 25/2008, February 14, 2008

A member of the United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) and a teenage boy have been arrested in East Gamaridhala village of Dadkuppya area, 5km south of Khagrachari district town.

Shankar Chakma (38) and a male domestic help in their house were arrested during a raid by a group of army personnel from Dadkuppya camp on his house on the night of 13 February. They were taken to the camp and beaten up severely.

Mr. Shankar Chakma has been vocal against recent land grabbing by illegal plain settlers, who have taken away hundreds of acres of land with active support from the army during the last one year. Parts of his homestead land have also been taken away by the settlers.

Military operation in Dighinala

Our correspondent

The military has been conducting operations in Bamey Ugudochar under Dighinala Upazila (sub-district) in Khagrachari district since 11 Februay.

Army personnel from Mainee zone and Suburipadachara camp are involved in the operation aimed at nabbing "terrorists".

Local villagers alleged that some unidentified masked people are collaborating with the army.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Army arrests innocent villager in Baghaichari
News No. 23/2008, February 12, 2008

Priti Bikash Chakma alias Phena, aged 55, s/o Gujungya Chakma was arrested when a group of about 20 army personnel from Korengatoli camp in Baghaichari under Rangamati district raided his home in the village of Middle Bongoltoli a little over midnight on 11 February.

He was rousted from his bed and taken to the camp. Thereafter, the army placed a home-made gun in his hands and handed him over to the Baghaichari police station. A case has been filed against him under Arms and Explosives Act.

Mr. Chakma has been described as innocent by those who know him. Sukhomoy, his neighbour, said he is a peaceful and amiable man and always help others in the village.

Another villager Swapan Chakma does not see any reason why he should be arrested. "Some people may not like him as he had contested in the last UP elections, but that has nothing to do with the army", he said.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Two shot dead in Rangamati

Our Correspondent
Source from-

Tribal miscreants shot dead two persons at Ranga Durchari Bazar under Baghaichari upazila in the district on Saturday. A gang of tribal miscreants also abducted a BRAC official from Kutukchari under Kaukhali upazila in the district on Thursday.

The dead were identified as Tantu Chakma, 35 and Suresh Chandra Chakma, 32, reportedly activists of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity. The police and security forces said miscreants shot them dead while they were allegedly exacting money from local people in the area, some 120 kilometres northwest of the district headquarters.

The police recovered the bodies on Sunday and sent them to Rangamati General Hospital for autopsy. Rangamati Unit of PCJSS denounced the killing and demanded immediate arrest of those responsible for it. A case was filed with the Baghaichari police station in this connection. In another incident, tribal miscreants abducted a BRAC official from Kutukchari under Kaukhali upazila in the district on Thursday. Quoting family members, the police said armed miscreants kidnapped Hemanta Bikash Chakma, manager (education affairs) of BRAC stationed at Kaukhali, while he was returning to his Rangamati residence after visiting few schools run by BRAC.

The criminals contacted victim’s family at Duluchari in the upazila and demanded Tk 3 lakh as ransom for his release, the police said, adding that the family members informed them of the incident on Saturday. A BRAC official admitted the incident of abduction. An army team went to the spot on Saturday and launched a drive, sources in security forces said.

Abducted Brac official buys freedom

Our Correspondent, Rangamati
Source from-

Unidentified abductors yesterday released an official of Brac after realising a ransom of Tk 2 lakh from his family in Kawkhali upazila in Rangamati.

Hemonta Chakma, manager of a local branch of Brac, was kidnapped on February 6.

Family members said miscreants kidnapped Hemonta when he went to visit a school run by Brac at Kawkhali. The abductors initially demanded Tk 5 lakh as ransom for his release.

On Sunday Hemonta's family members were able to establish contact with his captors at Kutukchhari and come to an agreement over the ransom figure.

The captive was freed yesterday morning after the ransom of Tk 2 lakh was paid. He was released in the forests of Kutuchhari union under sadar upazila of the district.

Md Ashraf Ali, regional manager of Brac, Rangamati, said that he learned of the abduction three days after the incident. He said that Hemonta's family took initiatives to secure his release.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Settlers sowing paddy as army provides protection
News No. 21/2008, February 08, 2008

Reports reaching from Naniachari in Rangamati district said the illegal settlers began planting paddy saplings on land forcibly grabbed from some Jumma individuals in Hatimara village under Burighat Union today, while army personnel stood guard nearby.

Army personnel were also posted at Krishnamachara Primary school near the land where the settlers were working so that the Jummas could not lodge any effective protests.

A Jumma government official from Naniachar told that Md. Abul Sharif, an illegal settler from Bogachari, was planting paddy saplings on 1.6 acres of land grabbed from Sunil Kumar Chakma (36) under military protection.

Tensions have been building up since December last year when the settlers from Burighat forcibly took away at least 25 acres of land, of which 10 acres are "fringe land".

Acting on complaint from the Jumma land owners, on 3 January the Naniachari Upazila Nirbahi (Executive) Officer Mr. Humayoon Kabir Sirkar visited the spot under army protection and instead of ejecting the illegal land grabbers advised the Jummas to share their lands with the settlers.

The Jummas rejected the TNO's decision terming it unjust and biased in favour of the settlers and on 26 January raised the issue with the Chakma circle chief Raja Barrister Debasish Roy, who has been appointed as Special Assistant to the Chief Adviser in charge of Chittagong Hill Tracts Ministry.

Drama of disappearance
On 20 January, a settler named Shamshu Mollah, who is mentally abnormal and debt-ridden, was rumoured to have been disappeared. Using this as a pretext, the settlers mounted attacks on the innocent Jummas.

They beat up four Jummas who came to East Hatimara from Gorjontoli to buy pineapple saplings.

Two other Jummas from East Hatimara village - Shubho Dhan Dewan, aged 24, s/o Nalini Dewan and Ananda Chakma, aged 24, s/o Karunamoy Karbari - also fell victim. Both of them were roughed up. One of them sustained injuries in one eye and the other got his leg fractured.

More attacks were feared and the innocent Jummas from North and East Hatimara villages began leaving their homes.

By 23 January, the two villages became desolate. 45 families (300 persons) from East Hatimara and 36 families (250 persons) from North Hatimara took shelter in the nearby villages of Bhangamura, Chelozchari and Pudial.

On 29 January, a representative of the Chakma Raja Debasish Roy visited the area to enquire about the situation. This was followed by two visits by Naniachar zone commander and an official of local civil administration.

The civil administration requested the villagers to return to their homes. But they refused to do so without full guarantee for their lives and property. Later, the civil administration officials and local public representatives talked to them and assured them that there would be no further settler attack on them. They returned to their homes between 30 January and 3 February.

Both the civil and military administration showed complete apathy towards the sufferings of the distraught Jummas, who had to live without adequate food and warm cloths in freezing cold. There were none to look after those who fell sick. No one came up to help them. The civil administration's step-motherly behaviour was breathtaking in its palpability. Not to speak of the army.

When Mr. Pranati Khisha, chairman of Burighat Union Council, showed his interest to take actions to mitigate the sufferings of the ill fated Jummas, the settlers from Burighat bazaar harassed him while the army tried to detain him. However, two kind-hearted Bengali settlers came to his rescue and helped him to run away (the name of the settlers withheld for security concern).

Japan gives Tk 58 lakh to BMBA

Source from-

Japan has donated US$ 85,183 (approximately Taka 58 lakh) to Bangladesh Marma Buddhist Association (BMBA) to construct a two-storied residential hostel for BMBA School.

To this effect, Chargé d' Affaires ad interim of Japanese Embassy Yonezo Fukuda Tuesday signed a grant contract with Executive Director of BMBA M Kyaw Maung.

This grant is the second time for the BMBA from the Japanese Government. The first grant was provided in 1998 by the Japan Government for the construction of Marma Residential School in Dhamrai, which was aimed at providing good quality education to children from age 5 to 12. Currently, 280 students, including 80 students from families in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) are studying at the school.

Using the grant, BMBA will construct a two-storied residential hostel with accommodation for 72 students. The new hostel will consist of dining hall, auditorium, library as well as dormitory. All hostel facilities are open not only to Marma students, but also to other students of BMBA School. Through this project, the Japanese government hopes to contribute to the better access to primary education.

The Government of Japan has been extending grant assistance for grassroots human security projects through NGOs in Bangladesh since 1989. A total of 132 projects have already received grant amounting US$9.2 million (Taka 62.7 crore).

Army searches house of UPDF activist in Jurachari
News No. 20/2008, February 08, 2008

A group of about 20 army personnel led by a Major and a Subedar from Lulongchari camp (No. 10) in Jurachari under Rangamati district on 4 February raided the house of Binoy Chakma (26) s/o Ramani Mohan Chakma in the village of West Balukhali.

The overnight search was believed to have been conducted to arrest Binoy Chakma, a member of the United People's Democratic Front. However, he was not at home at the time.

The soldiers searched the house frantically, apparently for firearms, but they found none and nothing incriminating.

West Balukhali is a remote hamlet in Rangamati district lying 25km south-east of Jurachari sub-district headquarters and their house is merely about half-kilometer from Lulangchari camp.

Army beats innocent Jummas, grabs land
News No. 19/2008, February 08, 2008

Eleven Jumma villagers were beaten by army as attempts to grab land and expansion of illegal Bengali settlement failed.

On 3 February, army personnel from Dui Tila camp under Baghaihat zone in Rangamati district detained and tortured the villagers for protesting against the illegal grabbing of their land in January.

The victims have been identified as Chitta Ranjan Chakma s/o Shashi Bhushon Chakma, Guno Sindhu Chakma s/o Krishna Mohan Chakma, Debabrata Chakma s/o Krishna Mohan Chakma, Doya Chand Chakma s/o Ranga Mohan Chakma, Bhadra Sen Chakma s/o Chulo Moni Chakma, Rangabattya Chakma s/o Sudhan Chandra Chakma, Satta Kumar Chakma s/o Leppe Chakma, Sunil Moy Chakma s/o Indra Sen Chakma, Babudhan Chakma s/o Satta Kumar Chakma, Jagadish Chakma s/o Jiodhar Chakma and Subal Chakma s/o Reboti Ranjan Chakma.

They were released the following day after torture.

Dui Tila, also known as Kshetrapur village, is about 12km south-west of Dighinala and sits on Dighinala - Marishya road.

The villagers alleged that the army is also searching for 8 other Jummas for arrest. They are Bijoy Lal Chakma, Shambhu Muni Chakma, Natim Chakma, Suresh Chakma, Chandra Mohan Chakma, Bibra Kanti Chakma, Shashi Punnyo Chakma and Birendra Lal Chakma.

Land grabbing
In a memorandum submitted to the Special Assistant to Chief Adviser in charge of Chittagong Hill Tract Ministry, Barrister Debasish Roy, the villagers of Dui Tila area alleged that their lands were taken away by force for the settlement of illegal settlers after destroying standing banana plantations.

When the Jumma land owners protested, the settlers told them that they were building houses as per instruction from commander of Baghaihat zone in Rangamati district.

On 17 January, the Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Bagahichari ordered Abdul Matin, a settler, to stop construction of houses and see him at his office. When asked, Abdul Matin told the UNO that the Baghaihat zone commander gave the order to grab the Jumma's land and expand Bengali settlement there.

Before the intervention of the UNO, the settlers had build about 10 houses with thatch and bamboo. The UNO himself oversaw the demolition of a few houses on the spot while the army broke down the remaining houses by the night.

Present CHT situation threat for future

Say eminent citizens
Staff Correspondent
Source from:-

Prof Zillur Rahman Siddiqui speaks at a press conference at the National Press Club in the city yesterday. On his right is Prof Ajoy Roy and on his left is journalist Syed Abul Maksud. Photo: STAR
Expressing grave concern over the situation of the hill people in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), eminent citizens yesterday said it is frightening and might explode anytime, causing ripple effect across the country.

Quoting hill people, they said by continuing and strengthening settlement of the Bangalees in the hills and the land of the indigenous people, Bangalee settlers and the hill people are set against each other.

These observations were made in a report presented to journalists at the National Press Club in the city yesterday following the citizens' visit to CHT during January 28-30.

Professor Ajoy Roy, politician Pankaj Bhattacharya, journalists Kamal Lohani and Syed Abul Maksud, Dr Rashid E Mahbub, Dr Shaurav Shikder of Dhaka University, social worker Belal Ahmed and former additional secretary Rabindranath Trivedi were in the team that toured the area.

Presiding over the programme, Prof Zillur Rahman Siddiqui, former vice chancellor of Jahangirnagar University, said the present situation prevailing in CHT is a threat to the future of Bangladesh.

Some quarters might have been engaged to foil the next elections and the caretaker government must be aware of it and act accordingly, he said.

Pankaj Bhattacharya said, “A vested quarter is engaged in an ill effort to create anarchy in the country and hamper the national elections. I urge the government to look into the issue seriously.”

He categorically said vested quarters are working with the agenda of Jamaat-e-Islami and fundamentalists in the name of Samadhikar Andolon (movements for equal rights).

Presenting the report prepared on their experience, Prof Ajoy Roy said taking advantage of the government's non-implementation of the CHT Peace accord, the civil administration continued Bangalee settlement, identification of non-hill people and provided them with certificates.

The army's activities in the name of curbing extortion and militant activities of United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF) and acquiring new hills have frightened the indigenous people, he said.

The hill people allege the government has conspiracy behind this, he said, adding that the programme that the government undertook in settling the Bangalees in the hills from the Guchchagram instead of rehabilitating the Jumma hill people has angered them.

Canceling the previous land settlements, the district administration is arbitrarily giving new settlements, which go against the interest of the hill people and in favour of the Bangalee settlers, Prof Ajoy noted.

As per regional council leaders, there are over one lakh hill refugees, but there is none to address the problem, Prof Ajoy said, adding that Bangalees are also occupying the religious structures.

The present ratio of hill people and Bangalees is now 52:48, but in the next census it will be tilted towards Bangalees, he said. Hill people think the number of voters will also override the number of the hill people in future, which is a threat to them.

On the other hand, the government is also helping the Rohingya Muslims who fled from Myanmar to settle at Naikkhangchhari, Ruma, Lama, and Alikadam in Bandarban. “Does the government then want to form a new CHT with Bangalee and Rohingya Muslims?" Prof Ajoy posed a question.

In the report, the citizens said the number of Jumma people will come down for various initiatives when CHT will be considered extension of the plain Chittagong.

“Colonial attitude of the government, army and Bangalees cannot resist the movement of hill people. We must accept the CHT hill people. So, sooner the Bangalee settlers are removed from the CHT, better is the result,” the report said.

Rats Damage Crops:CHT people facing acute food crisis

Shantimoy Chakma, from Hupbang, Barkal, Rangamati and Monirul Islam Monu, Bandarban
Source from:-

People in remote areas of Rangamati and Bandarban in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) are facing a severe food crisis following the recent invasion of rats on their jhum crop fields.

Indigenous people in Chhotomerung, Ramghar, Dighinala, Panchhari, Guimara Laxmichhari of Khagrachhari, Thanchi, Alikadam, Lama, Ruma and Nikhiyangchhari in Bandarban have been passing days practically half-fed and many of them are living on jungle potato.

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), 766 families in Bandarban--363 in Ruma upazila, 295 in Thanchi and 108 in Roangchhari upazila--lost their yearly production.

But locals claimed that about 1,800 families in the hill district have been affected by the invasion of rats. They also alleged that no block supervisors under the district DAE yet visited the affected areas.

The DAE has meanwhile launched a programme to exterminate rats from February 3 across the country.

However, district DAE Deputy Director Abdullah Ibrahim said no special measures were taken for the affected areas in CHT.

Many jhum farmers in Rangamati have meanwhile left their homes and took shelter at their relatives' while a few even left for India hearing that the Indian government is providing food and financial assistance, sources said.

Special Assistant to the chief adviser Devasish Roy visited the pest-hit areas in Hupbang of Barkal upazila and assured people of assistance through test relief and food-for-work programmes.

But no steps have so far been taken, locals alleged.

Rats in large numbers have invaded fields of turmeric, ginger and other jhum crops in Hubbang, Majhirpara, Thalchhara, Bhudorijipara, Kukichhara, Jarolchhari, Ranalpara and Kusumchhari in Barkal upazila, Noapara in Longudu upazila, Ruilui, Konglak, Oldlankar in Baghaichhari upazila, Rayingkhiyang Borthalipara in Bilaichhari upazila, and Dumdumiya in Jurachhari upazila of Rangamati.

Vast paddy fields came under such attack a couple of months ago.

Porandhan Chakma of Hubbang village said he went to market to buy rice but had to return home empty-handed as there was no rice in the market. "My family has been passing days almost half-fed, sometimes eating jungle potatoes, sometimes even starving," he said.

Purnendu Chakma and Shimul Chakma of Thalchhar said they have been living on jungle potatoes for the last few months, but those have also become rare now. They said they used to collect bamboo to earn livelihood, but this year bamboos have also withered because of flowering and fruition.

Usually, bamboos come into blossom every 50 years following which they wither quickly.

Karbari Shantibikash Chakma of Shuknochhari of Baroharina union said, "I sowed five tins [50kg] of paddy this year. I anticipated a good harvest, but the harvest was so small it only lasted for half a month."

Kripa Kumar Chakma and Buddhamoni Chakma of Kukichhara of Barkal urged the government to arrange interest-free bank loans for them to overcome the current crisis. "We went to the Krishi Bank at Barkal upazila sadar but the officials said they do not have adequate money to provide loan," they said.

A field worker of the bank said they have limited budgets for different sectors but the demand is very high. He, however, said they will provide loans when budgets will be available.

Lal Bug Pankhua, headman of Halamba, said they can survive about six-seven months with the jhum paddy. "All my jhum fields were destroyed by rats this year," he said.

The headman said they met the army brigade commander at the district headquarters for financial assistance but he said they do not have enough fund.

Zophui Thang Tripura, headman of Shiandai mouja, said in the wake of the food crisis many families of the village and the neighbourhood have left for India hearing that the Indian government is providing food.

"Nobody is paying any heed to our misery," he said.

Meanwhile, Rangamati Hill District Council has distributed Tk 6 lakh from the CHT affairs ministry allocation--Tk 4 lakh in Baghaichhari and Tk 2 lakh in Bilaichhari.

The council has also made a proposal to the CHT affairs ministry for a three-year horticulture development programme for providing assistance to the indigenous people of the rats-hit areas.

"We will start the work when the project is approved," said Arunendu Tripura, PRO of the council.

Rangamati Deputy Commissioner Md Nurul Amin said, "We have no specific programme for the people in the rats-infested areas, but I hope our Special Assistant to chief adviser Devasish Roy will do something for these people as he himself visited the affected areas."

He said the VGF, VGD and OMS programmes are going on in the district.

Cha Swe Marma of Nachalongpara in Roangchhari upazila, Kew Ching Aong of Daluchhari, U Kew Nue and Hiru Moni Tripura of Antahapara under the same upazila said they lost most of their harvest in the rat-invasion and that with the remaining rice they may survive only three months.

They said each family recently got Tk 1,000 only from the CHT affairs ministry through the Bandarban Hill District Council.

The CHT affairs ministry has already allocated Tk 5 lakh while Bandarban Hill District Council allocated Tk 3 lakh for distribution among the 766 affected families.

Money was distributed in Ruma on January 14 and in Roangchhari on January 31.

Meanwhile, about 150 families in the areas including Paoapara, Monirampara, Zotiyapara and Kristapara are still out of the DAE list of affected families and have not received any government support yet.

"Since there was no help, most families in the area have left their homes," said Sambhu Kumar Tanchangya, chairman of Noapatang Union Parishad.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Chakma refugees still virtualy stateless

Sukham Nanda
Source from:-

DHARAMPUR, Feb 7: Ever increasing population of Chakmas refugees settled in Arunachal Pradesh is becoming a major concern in the adminstration of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Chakmas who had migrated from Bangladesh and Tripura during the early 80`s predominantly occupied Dharamnagar village in Miao district of Arunachal Pradesh at present.

The populations of Chakma refugees which are concentrated mainly in the Miao district have crossed more than 90,000 against the population of about 1.3 million Arunachali`s. The population of Chakma refugees in Miao district is at least double the population of original sub-tribes of Arunachal Pradesh now.

The refugees, though they now dominate demographically in Miao district of the state, have not yet been able to claimed their fundamental rights as the government of Arunachal Pradesh still does not recognise them as citizens.

Some 5000 of them have however been given the voting rights at present by the Arunachal Pradesh Government, though they are not given candidature rights.

As a matter of fact the status of the Chakma refugees there remain unchanged as they still practice nomadic and primitive lifestyle.

The settlement villages of the Chakma refugees being located in extreme isolated from the Miao district headquarter, there was no proper approach road from the rest of the state to reach their camps - Dharampur part-I,II and III, - and no electricity, no water supply, no health care facilities and no schools in all three refugee camps.

And the people there have been tought the lesson of Budha Gaya by the Budhis Monks, as all Chakmas refugees there follow the Budhism as their religion since they settle there.

Being spent rest of their life in primitive ways their livelyhood depends maily on cultivation and hunting in nearby jungles.

It seems, like a dreams for the people of Chakmas seeing the sophisticated video cameras and laptop carried by a team of researchers from German and young Journalists from all over the states went there for study tour organised by the Panos Asia.

In the meantime, while intereacting with elders of Chakmas refugees who spoke in Assamese language expressed their desireness to be a recorgnised as citizen of the Arunachal state so that they can enjoy every fundamental rights and will improve their social, political and economic status.

They said they are not blaming to the Arunachal Pradesh government for the status which they have been living with and they knew they are refugees but the struggle to achieve their goals constitutionally to get the status of rightfull citizens is only their soul objective the Chakmas claimed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

HWF team meets Ain-o Salish Kendra chief Sultana Kamal
News No. 18/2008, February 06, 2008

A team of Jumma students led by Hill Women's Federation president Ms
Sonali Chakma met with Ms Sultana Kamal, ex-adviser to the interim
caretaker government and executive director of Ain o Salish Kendra, a
leading human rights body in Bangladesh, at the latter's office today.

The team apprised her of the appalling human rights situation of the
Chittagong Hill Tracts and requested that her organisation monitor the
situation more intensely and systematically.

Earlier on 4 February, a memorandum was submitted to her on behalf of
the HWF, a platform of the Jumma women in CHT. The memo highlighted
the incidents of human rights abuses including land grabbing,
political repression, extra-judicial killings, rape and arrest
committed in CHT since the declaration of state of emergency on 11
January last year.

The HWF president told her that due to unwritten harsh censorship on
the media imposed by the local military authority, who are the defacto
ruler of the area, the incidents of rights violations go unreported in
the local as well as national newspapers and other media outlets.

The HWF leader also requested her to send a team to CHT to assess the
human rights situation, make its findings public and put pressure on
the government to stop human rights abuses in CHT.

Ms Sultana Kamal assured the HWF team that she would continue her
fight for the rights of the Jumma people and raise the issue of the
CHT at national as well as international forums.

The HWF team also included Konica Chakma, Aungyo Marma and Somen

Fresh land grabbing attempt in Bizitola, Khagrachari
News No. 17/2008, February 06, 2008

Fresh land grabbing attempts have been reported from Bizitola, 7km
south of Khagrachari district town.

On 4, 5 and 6 February, the illegal settlers made attempts to capture
0.92 acres belonging to Lal Chakma s/o Nabo Kumar Chakma and 1.30
acres to Shanti Priyo Chakma s/o Lalit Mohan Chakma in Gamaridhala
Mouza (No. 256).

Following the same old pattern, the settlers cleared jungle for
construction of houses. The identities of the settlers could not be
known; however, they are the same people who have already grabbed
Jumma people's lands in the area.

The Jumma land owners registered protests, but to no avail.

The Khatian No. of Lal Chakma's 0.92 acre of land is R/12 (Dak No.
809/1221), while Shanti Chakma's R/13 (Dak No. 809/1216).

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Congratulation to the Govt.of BD

February- 02, 2008
Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed
Hon. Chief Advisor
Care Taker Government
People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Re. Congratulations on the appointment of Raja Devashis Roy, Bar-at-Law, Chakma Chief as Special Assistant to Chief Advisor

We, the members of the Bangladeshi CHT American Buddhist Association, would like to congratulate you on the appointment of Barrister Raja Devashis Roy as Special Assistant to the Chief Advisor of the Care-Taker Government, People’s Republic of Bangladesh..

Needless to say that this appointment is a great honor for the minority communities of Bangladesh, especially the Indigenous people of greater CHT. We are really happy to see that the current government has taken the wise decision of appointing an appropriately qualified leader with national and international exposure who can oversee the well-being of ethnic minorities and deal with the present situation of CHT, if the government machineries cooperate and assist him with their positive well wishes. This appointment is not only the recognition of his unique background, knowledge, experience, dedication and leadership skills but also the indication of the government’s willingness to solve the decades long prevailing issues causing unrest and unfortunate bloodshed in the region.

This appointment gives us a hope that the long-waited inter-racial harmony and peaceful coexistence will prevail in CHTs as expected during the signing ceremony of historic CHT Peace Accord which is the result of multiparty negotiations involving major political parties of Bangladesh for a considerable period of time.

In the course of this occasion, we have the privilege to mention that the current initiatives of the government against corruptions, socio-economic inequalities; and to remove anomalies of judicial and executive systems of the government have earned higher level of appreciation from home and abroad. We also congratulate and declare our solidarity with the government for such noble initiatives and success.

It is also well recognized that these initiatives could hardly be possible if the Bangladesh Army would not come forward with their active support and positive attitude during the crucial situation prevailing just before and after ‘1/11’. We pay our tribute and respect to Bangladesh Army for their generous role in that critical situation that saved the country from serious disaster; and hope that their active support will continue to establish country’s image in a prestigious position in the world community.
We believe that CHT region is an integral part of Bangladesh and the country’s socio-political stability cannot be achieved in isolation without addressing the very issue of the peace-loving indigenous citizens of Bangladesh residing in the CHT region.

We sincerely hope that the current leadership of this Government will take the CHT issue as an inseparable component of its reform mandate and take immediate steps towards the peaceful solutions of the problems of Chittagong Hill Tracts through implementation of historic CHT Peace Accord that will lead to the socio-economic development of the region; and will have an impact on overall national development.

In this context, we would like to reiterate that the specific historic, topographic, demographic, and cultural characteristics of CHT region should deserve special consideration in finding a permanent solution of the problem, as acknowledged and adopted by South Asian countries and other countries of the world in their own countries for the solution of ethnic minority problems, even in the USA.

We are confident that Barrister Raja Devashis Roy will be able to represent the fellow ethnic communities well in and receive constructive support from the government; and we wish him and the Government a grand success in their responsibilities.

We do believe in and advocate for practice of basic human rights, religious harmony, peaceful co-existence, and preservation of special rights and identity of ethnic minorities along side by side with majority community as chartered by UNO and other International Organizations.

We strongly condemn terrorism, racialism, socio-economic disparity, and ill designed and ill motivated sponsored internal migration.

May Lord Buddha bless Raja Devashis Roy, the Government of Bangladesh, and the people of Bangladesh for peace, happiness and prosperity.

Best regards.

(Kirti Ranjan Chakma)
Bangladeshi-CHT American Buddhist Association
California, USA

Copies to:

1.General M.U. Ahmed
Chief of Bangladesh Army
Dhaka, Bangladesh.

2.Raja Devashis Roy, Bar-at-Law
Chakma Chief, Rangamati
Special Assistant to the Chief Advisor
Care Taker Government
People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

3.Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma
Chairman, CHTs Regional Council
Rangamati, Bangladesh

4.Charge’ d’ Affaires
Embassy of the United States
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Embassy of Bangladesh
Washington, D.C, USA

Hill District Councils
Rangamati / Khagrachari / Bandarban

7.Press Club, Dhaka/Chittagong/Rangamati, Bangladesh