7th year of Taindong communal attack: another example of impunity to the perpetrators

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Hill Voice, 3 August 2020, Khagrachari:  Today is the 7th year of the Taindong communal attack in Matiranga upazila of Khagrachhari hill district. Although 7 long years have passed, the people involved in the attack have not been brought to justice.

This day on 3 August 2013 the Bengali settlers with the support of security and law enforcement forces conducted a massive communal attack followed by arson and looting in 11 villages of Jumma people in Taindong area. In this attack, around 36 houses including 19 houses in Sorbeswar Para, 12 in Baga Para, 2 in Talukdar Para and 3 in Bandarshing Para (Bhagaban Tila) were burnt to ashes. Besides, around 400 houses of Jumma villages including two Buddhist temples, namely, Sorbeswar Para Janashakti Bouddha Bihara and Monudas Para Bouddha Bihara were plundered and vandalized by the Bengali settlers.

A total of 454 Jumma families numbering 2000 persons crossed over the border and took shelter in the ‘no-man land’ between Bangladesh and Indian territories. Apart from this, around 1,500 persons of 380 families belonging to Tripura community fled to the neighbour Panchari upazila of Khagrachari district, while other 35 families took shelter in the jungle.

At least 12 Jumma villagers were learnt to have been wounded in this attack while some of them were reportedly snatched off from the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) custodianship and severely beaten up inflicting serious wounds with sharp weapons by the Bengali settlers. It was alleged that the police and BGB members did not take effective measures against the Bengali settlers during the massive attack upon the Jumma peoples in the broad day light.

In this attack, Ashamoni Chakma, a 2-month old daughter of Sukkamoni Chakma of Bandarshing Para died of pneumonia at Khagrachari general hospital on 10 August 2013. Her father Sukkumoni Chakma was chopped by the Bengali settlers and sustained wounds in his hand.

The amount of damages of 15 houses, out of 36 houses that were set ablaze in this attack, has been estimated to be 2.656 million in BDT. Apart from this, the amount of damages of 262 houses, out of 400 houses plundered and vandalized by the Bengali settlers, has been estimated to be Taka 12.898 millions. Hence, it is observed that the total loss caused by the arson, looting and destruction of houses including rest of 21 houses set ablaze and 138 houses plundered and vandalized has been estimated to be 20 million in BDT or US $ 256,410.

At around noon that day, the Bengali settlers announced that a motorcyclist named Md. Kamal Hossain had been abducted and since then they have been organizing with agitated slogans.

The synchronized attack of Bengali settlers began at 3:00 pm and continued to exist 4-5 hours at a stretch in combination with arson, looting and vandalization in the nearby Jumma localities around the BGB camps. Around the Bandarshing Para BGB camp located are the villages of Baga Para and Bandarshing Para (Bhagaban Tila) while the Talukder Para is located adjacent to the Taindong BGB camp. Besides, quite nearer are the BGB camps of Tanakka Para camp, Asalong camp and Fenichara camp, from the suburb areas of which the Bengali settlers set out to attack the Jumma villages. In addition, the Bengali settlers from Gumti, Khedachara, Matiranga and Battali (Alu Tila) marched in crowds by the side of these BGB stations. But the BGB personnel did not take any measure to refrain the advancing settlers from going to attack upon the Jumma villages.

The police and BGB did not take adequate measures against the attacking Bengali settlers during their massive attack upon the Jumma people conducted in the day light. It rather appeared that the law-enforcing agency indirectly offered an opportunity to the Bengali settlers by playing a passive role during the violent incident. Later, BGB and police gave assurance of security to lives and properties of the Jumma villagers and urged them to return to their villages; however, the Jummas disagreed to return to their homes. They made a point alleging that in each incident taken place earlier, BGB and police had given such assurance, but they did not keep their words accordingly even for once.

Around 2,000 Jumma villagers, who crossed the border for life sake, agreed to return to their villages following a security guarantee given by Dipankar Talukdar and Kujendra Lal Tripura. The State Minister also promised them to provide adequate compensation for damages done to them. Despite promises of full security, adequate compensation and proper rehabilitation by State Minister for CHT Affairs Dipankar Talukder and Kujendra Lal Tripura along with local administration and law enforcement agencies, the affected Jumma people have not yet received proper compensation and rehabilitation.

A case was filed against 175 people including against 30 persons by names, with the Matiranga police station in connection with the attack, on 5 August 2013. In that attack, Anil Bikash Chakma’s house was completely set on fire by the settlers. Among the accused, there are members and supporters of BNP and Awami League in the case filed.

Police arrested 7 settlers including Md. Kamal Hossain for their alleged involvement in the attacks. The other arrestees were Abed Ali (UP Member), Abu Hanif, Md. Kamruzzaman, Amir Hossain and Jahangir Alam and also Md. Kamal Hossain who was propagated to be abducted. Besides, on 8 August 2013 in the evening, police arrested two alleged persons identified as Mr. Sirajul Islam, former chairman of Taindong union and assistant organising secretary of Matiranga BNP and Abu Hanif alias Edhan from Biojid Bostami area in Chittagong city.

However, though they were detained but later released on bail with the connivance of the government including security and law enforcement agencies. Thus, under the direct patronage of the government, those involved in the attack were gradually offered full impunity.

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