Hill Voice, 5 July 2020, Chittagong Hill Tracts: In June 2020, as part of the repression upon the Jumma people, the army set up two new camps and arrested four Jumma people including one abducted by intelligence and beaten three others, according to the June monthly report of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS). Besides, it is also mentioned that murder of two Jumma and abductions 3 Jummas were reported to have been committed by army-backed armed terrorist groups and at least 40 acres of land was occupied by Muslim settlers in June 2020.
The monthly report titled “June 2020: Monthly Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts” published by the Information and Publicity Department of the PCJSS on 5 July 2020 states that due to the lockdown undertaken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus, public life, livelihoods, economic and social life in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) have been forced to face an unprecedented difficult situation. This situation seems to have become more critical, especially due to the special political, economic, social, cultural and administrative systems and realities, context and distinct ethnic characteristics of the CHT. On the one hand, the political, economic, social and cultural life of the indigenous Jumma people has come to a standstill as the CHT Accord has not been implemented for almost 23 years, similarly the normal and overall way of life of the Jumma people has been disrupted due to the role and conspiracy of the government and the state forces against the CHT Accord; the aggression of the anti-Jumma communal forces and various forms of harassment, oppression and terrorism perpetrated by the state forces’ narrators, brokers, opportunists and terrorist groups.
At present, the government has completely stopped the implementation process of the CHT Accord. As a result, as the Jumma people are being deprived of their rights recognized in the Accord, similarly, the role of the CHT Regional Council and three Hill District Councils as well as the effectiveness of the special governance system of the CHT established in the light of the Accord has come to a standstill today. In fact, the government, various government institutions and individuals have themselves been violating the CHT Accord and have been playing a role against its interests of Jumma people. As in the pre-Accord period, at present military rule and authority of the army has been re-established in the CHT. Especially during the Covid-19 crisis, by deploying the army or assigning them responsibilities, in the name of dealing with Covid-19, the army alarmingly intensified extra-judicial killing, arresting, torturing and suppressing Jumma people including the members of the PCJSS and its associate associations engaged in the movement.
Not only that, the army have been creating vested armed groups and spies from among the Jumma people and inciting them against the Jumma people and has been constantly obscuring the situation by openly cooperating directly and indirectly to them. In recent time, terrorist activities of the military-backed Reformist and UPDF (Democratic) against the Jumma interests have intensified. On the other hand, the attempts of Muslim settlers have accelerated to occupy land of the Jumma people in different parts of the three hill districts due to multifaceted conspiracy of the government, army, BGB, intelligence and communal groups.
In June 2020 at least 4 Jummas have been arrested and 3 others beaten by the army including 01 abducted in three hill districts. In June, the army provided direct and open supports to the Reformist and UPDF (Democratic) armed group in expanding their terrorist and extortion activities in different parts of Rangamati and Bandarban districts with an aim to turn CHT situation into different direction and to obstruct the implementation process of the CHT Accord. On the other hand, in June 2020, the army, violating the CHT Accord, set up 2 new camps; one is in Rangamati Sadar Upazila and another more is in Hafchhari Union in Guimara Upazila of Khagrachhari District.
As in the past, in June 2020, killing, abduction, beating, extortion, detention, threatening, detaining in village, and forcing the villagers to attend meetings by the army-backed Reformist and UPDF (Democratic) terrorists are continuing. Even such atrocities are being increased more so day by day. In June 2020, 2 Jummas were killed, 3 persons were abducted, 5 were beaten, 3 UP members were threatened, 4 mobile phones from 4 people were snatched and many people were forced to pay extortion and fine and detained, threatened, apprehended and forced to attend the meeting by the army-backed terrorists of the two groups.
In addition, in June 2020, along with various acts of human rights violations by the army and terrorist activities of the Reformist and UPDF (Democratic), there has been a worrying increase in the fresh land grabbing by Muslim settlers illegally settled with political purpose. They are even continuing these misdeeds at the behest of the local administration. Attempts to occupy lands have been made by Muslim settlers in three separate places in Longadu upazila of Rangamati district, one in Panchhari upazila of Khagrachhari district, one in Lama upazila and another in Naikhyongchari upazila of Bandarban district. As a result, there has been a possibility to take place communal clashes.
In June, at least 40 acres of land were fallen to prey in forcible occupation by Muslim settlers and 8 Jumma families were subjected to be victimized. On the other hand, it has been reported that Rohingyas are fleeing from the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar after breaking the lockdown of coronavirus in the first week of June and entering Bandarban district freely. They took shelter in a village called ‘Paingsi Ghona’ in Kalaghata of Ward No. 3 of Bandarban Municipality. It is also reported that Rohingya militant groups have been reportedly involved in smuggling yaba and various drugs and gold from Myanmar to Bangladesh through pillars 39-41 of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Naikhyongchhari upazila.