Army atrocity, info collection in Rowangchhari amid Corona disaster

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Hill Voice, 26 May 2020, Bandarban:  While the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown has triggered misery and stagnation in public life, the harassment and mysterious collection of information arbitrarily by the army in the various villages of Rowangchhari in Bandarban has caused widespread panic and anxiety among the Jumma villagers.

The question of whether these drives of the army are a new conspiracy against the Jumma people has also arisen among the local people.

According to local sources, the army of Rowangchhari army camp has been collecting information from Jumma villagers about ID cards, birth registration certificates, sources of family income, number of family members, how many children they have, in which class the children are studying, etc. in 11 Jumma villages of Rowangchhari upazila under Bandarban Hill District. Even the army are taking pictures of each family member.It is learnt that today, on May 26, 2020 in the morning, the army of Rowangchhari army camp came to different villages and collected various information and took pictures of the villagers.

Information was also collected and photographs of Gyana Ranjan Chakma, former headmaster of Bandarban Government High School and his family members were taken. He currently lives in Wagay Para village of Alekkhyong union in Rowangchhari upazila.

Besides, another team of the army started taking pictures at 10 am of same day in Bangchhari Dokan Para of ​​Rowangchhari. The army, on the other hand, sent instructions through Karbaries (village head) in several areas, so that villagers could come to the school for the same purpose.

When the villagers wanted to know the purpose of collecting this information and taking pictures, the army said that the villagers would be given Corona relief materials.

But the villagers are feeling panic and anxiety about collecting this information and taking pictures as there is no civil administration or health department staff involved in the such activities.

The villages where information is being collected and photographed in the name of providing Corona relief are: Wagay Para, Natingjhiri Para, Battali Para, Chakshulal Para, Laxmichandra Para, Lalit Mohan Para, Siramani Para, Binanga Para, Ruru Para, Taimrangchhara Para, Shuknajhiri Para etc.

There are also allegations that the army interrogated unnecessarily and harassed Karbaries of different villages while they went to the camps, as being called by the army.

Among them, Bimal Tanchangya, Karbari from Wagay Para village; Lakkhan Tanchangya, Karbaru from Battali village, Biswajit Tanchangya, Karbari from Natingjhiri village and Kyafa Marma, Karbari from Tulachhari Bhitor Para have been harassed by being called to the army camp.

Many villagers feared that taking such information and family members’ photographs in the name of providing Corona relief was a conspiracy.

The villagers alleged that the army regularly harassed the people in the name of searching for terrorists in the villages of Natingjhiri, Wagay Para, Taimrongchhara, Battali, Noapara etc. generally in the night from 11:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Besides, the army has asked those people working in the development service in Rowangchhari, such as Babul Thanchangya, Rubel Sen, Apan Thanchangya and Mahfuz, to be present in the army camp tomorrow.

The villagers also said that two groups of Reformist armed terrorists had recently entered in Balaghata area of Bandarban town and Rowangchhari of Bandarban in the night under the protection of the army. From then on, there was panic among the common people.

It is learnt that the army has already started collecting various information and pictures from the Jumma villagers of these areas.

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