A pregnant Jumma woman dies due to detention of army in Subalong

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Hill Voice, 25 April 2020, Rangamati:  A pregnant Jumma woman has tragically died before reaching the hospital due tohaving been detained by the army at Subalong Camp for 45 minutes on the way to Rangamati District Hospital from Jurachhari Upazila.

The victim was identified as Ronika Chakma (22). Although her father-in-law’s house was in Barkal, but after getting pregnant she came to her parents’ house in Baherachhari village of Banjogichhara union under Jurachhari upazila. When the woman started feeling labor pain at around 3:15 am on 24 April 2020, the family members was taking her to Rangamati.

This allegation came up on 24 April 2020 in the status given on the Facebook wall of a person named Amar Sidhu Chakma. The allegation soon went viral and many were seen expressing grief and anger. Evidence of the incident was later confirmed by contacting the relatives of the victim.

Amar Sindhu Chakma directly blamed the army personnel for the death of the pregnant woman and their ruthless and indiscriminate detention in the name of searching at the army check post in Subalong camp. He claimed that, the woman would not have died if the army had not detained her for so long.

However, a person named Rupam Chakma has blamed social prejudice on his Facebook status on 24 April 2020. “We, the society, have to take liability,” he wrote. “Safe motherhood is also possible in rural clinics. We and the marginalized people should know that safe maternity services are now being provided in government community clinics or health departments in rural area” he added.

However, although his statement was partially true, many commented on Facebook that it was not entirely true. Moreover, that social prejudice did not play a major role in this tragic event. If they had been so superstitious, they would not have taken the decision to go to the Rangamati Sadar hospital.

Due to the disastrous condition of the outbreak of the epidemic corona, they finally decided to go to the hospital in Rangamati district headquarters. Many expressed angers saying that, in this case, if the army did not behave in such an inhumane manner, considering the special situation and special circumstances, the woman would not have died like this.

Amar Sidhu Chakma mentioned in the description of the incident that, the house of the parents of the deceased pregnant woman is in Jurachhari upazila. She was married in Barkal upazila. When her labor pains started on the morning of 24 April, her relatives including her husband left for Rangamati to take her to Rangamati District Hospital. Usually the only way to reach Rangamati from Jurachari is by water ways, that is why she was being taken to the hospital by engine boat.

When they reached Subalong under Barkal upazila, the army at the check post stopped their country boat. Amar Sindhu Chakma mentioned that, after being detained for about 45 minutes, when the condition of the pregnant woman became serious, the army promised to release their boat.

He also mentioned that, when the pregnant woman was in labor pains and fainted again and again, then the army released their boat.

Amar Sindhu said that, the pregnant woman died on 24 April 2020 at around 7:30 am. If the army had not stopped the engine boat for 45 minutes, the woman would not have died while pregnant, and the child who died in her mother’s womb would have seen the face of the earth, he said.

Amar Sindhu Chakma expressed his anger and mentioned on his Facebook wall that, neither the army nor anyone else has the right to threaten anyone’s life on the pretext of security.

As a result of the imposition of military rule by the then Awami League government in 2001 called ‘Operation Uttoran’, the army continues to violate such human rights in the name of searching and patrolling in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

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