Hill Voice, 11 September 2022, Rangamati: The government has started setting up Armed Police Battalion (APBn) camps in the hill areas, violating the CHT Accord and trampling on the land rights of Jumma people.
Recently, it has been alleged that there is an attempt to set up an APBn camp on the land of Jumma villagers adjacent to a Buddhist temple in Chiberega area of Bagachatar Union of Longadu Upazila under Rangamati Hill District. As a result, there has been resentment among the local Jumma people.
For this purpose, a group of APBn and the police has already visited to the area and measured the land of the Buddhist temple area and Jumma villagers around it with a surveyor. The APBn authorities carried out this measure despite the objections of the local people.
According to local sources, around 12:00 pm on September 10, 2022, a group of APBn and police led by Additional DIG of APBn from Uttara in Dhaka AKM Mosharaf Hossain Miyaji, Additional DIG of Specialized Training Center of Khagrachari APBn Mir Modachher Hossain and Additional Superintendent of Rangamati district Md Mofizur Rahaman visited the place. SI Md. Mazharul Haque of Longadu police station was also present at the time.
Locals said, APBn and police officials measured the ‘Chiberega Buddhist Temple’ area and the adjacent field. It is known that the measured land area of temple area is 2.70 acres and the measured land area of the playground is 2.60 acres.
It is known that a plan has been taken to set up the said APBn camp on the playground adjacent to the Buddhist monastery and on the land owned by three Jumma villagers.
The three Jumma owners of these lands are- (1) Bijay Shanti Chakma, son of Punang Chan Karbari, (2) Ranjan Kumar Chakma, son of Dhenga Chakma and (3) Nirat Ranjan Chakma, son of Bharat Kumar Chakma. It is said that there are homesteads of these three villagers at that place.
Locals said that if the APBn camp is set up at that place, it will cause hindrance in religious activities including the movement of people to the local Buddhist monastery and the sanctity of the monastery will be destroyed. Besides, the field built on the land of local Jumma people adjacent to the temple is the only playground for Jumma-Bengali in the area.
It should be noted that on April 13, 2022, an instruction was issued from the Armed Police Battalion Headquarters stating that “police will be deployed in the land of 240 army camps withdrawn” in order to “implement the decision of the 5th meeting of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord and Monitoring Committee”. “Initially, police will be deployed in 30 camps,” the directive said.
According to the Accord, though there is provision of the withdrawal of all temporary camps from the CHT and the transfer of the land abandoned by the withdrawn camp and cantonment to the real owner or to the Hill District Council, but the government has recently taken the initiative to set up 30 ABPn camps in violation of the Accord.
A high-level law and order meeting was held at Rangamati on 25 May 2022 and the regional office of APBN was inaugurated on 26 May 2022 to unilaterally set up an APBn camp in place of the army camp which had been withdrawn by trampling on the CHT Accord.