54 men-women of Bawm villagers arrested in Ruma, most of them innocent

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Hill Voice, 10 April 2024, Special Report: It has been reported that 54 men and women of Bawm people have been arrested in the so-called operations of joint forces over the last three days following the bank robbery and weapons looting by the army-created KNF (Kuki-Chin National Front) terrorist group in Ruma and Thanchi in Bandarban district. It is reported that 52 people have been sent to Bandarban District Jail from those arrested yesterday (April 9).

However, it is known from several sources that in the name of operations against KNF terrorists, the joint forces are indiscriminately arresting and harassing women and men of the innocent Bawm community. Joint forces are preventing Jumma villagers from buying more than 5 kg of rice and slowing down the mobile network. Widespread panic has spread among the locals.

At least 49 men and women of Bawm community have been identified among those arrested from Ruma who are known to be innocent and guiltless. Among them, 18 are women, Two are pregnant woman, 8 are college-university students and others are public and private school teachers, government and non-government employees, planters, laborers and people of various professions. Each of them has a specific profession. Some of the students are studying in Dhaka, who came home for vacation just a few days ago.

It has been reported that the people of Bawm villages such as Munnoam Para, Bethel Para, Happyhill Para, Bachtlang Para, Artha Para etc. have already fled the village due to the fear of persecution and harassment during the army operation.

A rights activist from Bandarban, who did not want to be named, said that the army did not take any action against the KNF terrorists immediately after the bank robbery. 3/4 days after the incident, the joint forces started the operation. By now the real culprits might have moved to a safe place. But now common and innocent people are being arrested in mass, and atmosphere of fear is created in the area. It is nothing but intentional.

It is to be noted that on April 2, around 9 pm, an armed group of 13 KNF terrorists led by Jaorin Lusai (42) robbed Sonali Bank’s Ruma Upazila branch of about Tk 16.0 million and snatched 14 weapons and 415 rounds of ammunition of the security guards, and also kidnap the bank manager. However, the next day through various media, the administration claimed that the said money was not robbed.

The next day, on April 3, around 12 noon, another armed group of KNF terrorists attacked two banks, Sonali Bank and Krishi Bank, in Thanchi Upazila of Bandarban district and looted Tk 1.9 million. Many believe that there is a conspiracy by the Army and the DGFI (Directorate General of Field Intelligence) in such a successful robbery of the bank located between the police and BGB camps by the KNF in broad daylights.

Immediately after the incident of robbery, it was announced that the joint forces of the government had started a massive military operation in the Bandarban area from last April 7. The joint force reportedly includes personnel from the Army, Rapid Action Battalion-RAB, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), police, Ansar and various intelligence agencies.

Earlier on April 7 at around 11 pm, the police arrested a young woman and two young men of Bawm community from Reicha army check post of Bandarban Sadar Upazila. Later it was reported that they were involved in a robbery case. They too are known to be innocent and returning from Dhaka to Bandarban.

It is to be noted that last on March 5, 2024, KNF held a meeting with the peace committee led by Bandarban Hill District Council Chairman Kyew Shwe Hla Marma in the presence of representatives of Army and DGFI at Bethel Para in Ruma. KNF promised not to carry out any terrorist activities in the meeting. The KNF’s successful and dramatic robbery of banks in front of members of the security forces, less than a month after the meeting, has raised many questions.

It should also be noted that the Kuki-Chin National Development Organization (KNDO) was formed in 2008 under the leadership of Nathan Bom and Vanchunliam Bom with the help of the Army and DGFI. Later in 2019 armed activities were started by changing the name of KNDO to Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) popularly known as Bawm Party with the help of the army and DGFI with an aim to engage them against the implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiiti (PCJSS), one of signatories of the Accord.

Later, when news of providing shelter and military training to an Islamic militant group in exchange for money spread, the army were forced to launch an operation against the KNF under international pressure. But despite this, the army and DGFI continued to support the KNF tactically. Many involved expressed the opinion that the incident of bank robbery of three branches close to the army and police camps on April 2-3 would never have been possible for the KNF without the help of the army and DGFI.

Many have expressed the opinion that without taking any action against the armed terrorists of KNF known as Bawm Party, the purpose of indiscriminate arrest of innocent and unarmed Bawm villagers in the name of joint operation is nothing but to protect KNF terrorists involved in bank robberies by misleading public opinion.

The identities of 49 (18 women and 31 men) victims of mass arrests by joint forces from Ruma area and three innocent men and women caught at the Reicha check post are as follows:

The arrested women villagers were-

1. Azing Bawm (20), w/o Arinh Bawm, d/o Jingrowat Bawm and Halcheo Bawm, Village-Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Planter by profession.
2. Lalsing Par Bawm (30), s/o Alim Bawm, d/o Lian Juam Bom and Par Eng Moy Bawm, Village Bethel Para, Ward No. 2, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Planter by profession.
3. Van Rin Kim Bawm (36), w/o Tolang Pui Bawm, d/o Joam Bil Bawm and Thon Liang Bawm, Village-Bethel Para, Ward No. 2, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban, Planter by Occupation.
4. Atang Bawm (30), w/o Palen Bawm, Village-Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban.
5. Almon Bawm (22), d/o Sian Khup Bawm, Mother- Rial Nem Bawm, Address- Bethel Para, Ward No. 2, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. She is a student of degree 2nd year, Bandarban Government College.
6. Lal Moon Eng Bawm (19), Father’s name- Tannai Bawm, Mother’s name- Laldon Kim Bawm, Village Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban.
7. Lal Nun Jir Bawm (34), father’s name- late Punsang Bawm, mother’s name- Tyan Kil Bawm, Village-Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Planter by profession.
8. Melri Bawm (26), Father’s name- Jingalh Bom, Mother’s name- Mrita Pakting Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban.
9. Lal Nun Bawm (24), Father’s name- Lom Jual Bawm, Mother’s name- Sangkim Bawm, Village Bethel Para, Ward No. 2, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. She is known to be pregnant.
10. Name Pen Bawm (38), w/o- Sanglian Bom, Father’s name- Toar Thon Bawm, Mother’s name- Lal Jin Moy Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Planter by profession.
11. Elizabeth Bawm (30), w/o Bhanlal Dik Bawm, Father’s name- Eliathan Bawm, Mother’s name- Nankim Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is assistant teacher by profession, Pendu Hedman Para Government Primary School. She is known to be 4 months pregnant.
12. Lal Tlahkim Bawm (30), Father’s name- Laltan Lian Bawm, Mother’s name- Cheutwar Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. She is working in Hill Child Development Program in Ruma.
13. Partha Joal Bawm (19), Father’s name- Laltan Lian Bawm, Mother’s name- Cheo Toar Bawm, Village-Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. She is a student of WCA college in Dhaka.
14. Jing Ron Eng Bawm (32), father’s name- late Chamnin Eng Bom, mother’s name- Tin Eng Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Planter and day laborer by profession.
15. Lal Noon Kim Bawm (25), Father’s name- Laltan Lian Bawm, Mother’s name- Cheo Toar Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. She is a student of BA 2nd year, Bandarban Government College.
16. Tina Bawm (18), Father’s name- Lal Ruai Bawm, Mother’s name- Jingnoon Moy Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. She is a student of grade XI, St. Joseph’s College, Savar, Dhaka.
17. Leri Bawm (23), Father’s name- Lallam Sang Bawm, Mother’s name- Lalpar Moy Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban.
18. Shiuli Bawm (21), Father’s name- Hlang Khum Bawm, Mother’s name- Dangjing Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban.

The arrested male villagers were-

1. Saplion Thang Bawm (21), Father’s name- Lal Moon Sang Bawm, Mother’s name- Thwang Kim Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is an electrician by profession, Ruma Palli Bidyut.
2. Lal Rin Sang Bawm (25), Father’s name- Nalthan Bawm, Mother’s name- Dausim Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban.
3. Cyrus Bawm (25), Father’s name- Santhiang Bawm, Mother’s name- Lal Minnem Bawm, Village-Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar No. 2 UP, Ruma, Bandarban.
4. Moon Thang Lian Bawm (33), father’s name- late Cham Nin Bawm, mother’s name- Tin Eng Bawm, Village-Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is a tourist guide by profession, Ruma.
5. Pachung Bawm (44), Father’s name- San Thiang Bawm, Mother’s name- late Ronjing Bawm, Address- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Planter by profession.
6. Bhan Lal Dik Bawm (32), Father’s name- Lal Lung Thang Bawm, Mother’s name- Lal Noon Siam Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is a private teacher.
7. Jasua Bawm (42), Father’s name- Lal Moon Sang Bawm, Mother’s name- Thuang King Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is Shaw Mill worker by profession, Polly Shaw Mill, Ruma.
8. Bharau Sang Bawm (32), Father’s name- Rem Near Bawm, Mother’s name- Bil Thim Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is a village policeman by profession, Ruma.
9. Nalathon Bawm (55), Father’s name- Sangsing Bawm, Mother’s naem- Tuar Thuang Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is an electrician by profession.
10. Lal Sklang King Bawm (29), Father’s name- Lalmin Lian Bawm, Mother’s name- Pena Klear Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban.
11. Lian Luai Thang Bawm (24), Father’s name- late Sai Young Bawm, Mother’s name- Sem Jeer Bawm, Village- Bastang Para, Ward No. 7, Paindu UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is a student of Shanta Mariam University, Uttara, Dhaka.
12. Lal Ram Tiyam Bawm (44), Father’s name- Simthan Bom, Mother’s name- Rausum Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is Acting Head Teacher, Baktlai Para Government Primary School by profession.
13. Laldam Liam Bawm (36), Father’s name- Jalian Lal Bawm, Mother’s name- Rial Nem Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is Night Watchman by profession, Directorate of Family Planning, Ruma.
14. Lawm Jual Bawm (50), s/o late Sang Khan Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Gardener by profession.
15. Ram Thang Lian Bawm (17), Father’s name- Jing Sang Bawm, Mother’s name- Jir Bling Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is a student of grade XII, Notre Dame College, Dhaka.
16. Gilbert Bawm (17), Father’s name- Lal Ram Lian Bawm, Mother’s name- Lal Duh Sar Bawm, Village- Basatlang Para, Ward No. 7, Paindu UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is a student of grade XI, Kazi Azimuddin College, Gazipur, Dhaka.
17. Bhan Ruat Moy Bawm (23), Father’s name- Lal Tuar Bawm, Mothers’ name- Sim Ting Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is an employee, Directorate of Livestock, Ruma.
18. Lal Emmanuel Bawm (43), Father’s name- Jing Al Bawm, Mother’s name- Tham Flamir Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is an employee, Hill Child Development Programme, Ruma.
19. Lalmun Lian Bawm (28), Father’s name- Lal Than Kum Bawm, Mother’s name- Lal Jing Ngen Bawm, Address- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban.
20. Lal Thang Pui Bawm (19), father’s name- late Lal Moi Thang Bom, mother’s name- Lal Siam Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is student of HSC examinee, Ruma Sangu College.
21. James Milton Bawm (34), Father’s name- Kong Klear Bawm, Mother’s name- Pak Tlem Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is the office bearer, Bethel Para Government Primary School, Ruma.
22. Rosang Lian Bawm (30), Father’s name- Biak Thon Bawm, Mother’s name- Siam Kung Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is an employee, BRAC, Ruma.
23. Lal Rawat Lam Bawm (45), Father’s name- Ram Sim Bawm, Mother’s name- Juam Thilong Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is a Pastor, ECC Church, Ruma.
24 Lal Din Thar Bawm (40), Father’s name – Dong Nin Bawm, Mother’s name – Ngon Phen Bawm, Village – Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is the leader of the Sramik League, Ruma, an affiliate of the government party.
25. Jaunun Sang Bawm (45), Father’s name- Cheo Dir Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is an accountant by profession, Chittagong Hill Tracts Child Development Programme, Munnuam, Ruma.
26. Rem Thon Bawm (60), Father’s name- Ang Cheo Bawm, Mother’s name- Siam Jing Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Planter by profession.
27. Penal Bawm (60), Father’s name- late Chaytim Bawm, Mother’s name- Til Thong Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is a planter by profession, a day labourer.
28. Rual Kom Lian Bawm (55), Father’s name- Sapyang Bawm, Mother’s name- Mrit Ngoon Cheo Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Warn No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP. He is a Government Servant by Profession, Directorate of Family Planning, Ruma.
29. Lal Raokham Bawm (37), Father’s name- Lal Ja Lian Bawm, Mother’s name- Eli Jeboth Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. He is a planter and Jum farmer by profession.
30. Bhan Lal Sam Bawm (34), Father’s name- Rem Near Bawm, Mother’s name- Kil Sim Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Motorcycle driver for hire by profession.
31. Lal Ruai Bawm (52), Father’s name- San Thiang Bawm, Village- Bethel Para, Ward No. 4, Ruma Sadar UP, Ruma, Bandarban. Planter and day laborer by profession.

Those arrested at Reicha check post on the way back from Dhaka to Bandarban were-

1. Geminiu Bawm (22), Village- Simtlangpi Para, Thanchi Upazila,
2. Bhannun Nuam Bawm (23), Ronin Para, Rowangchari Upazila and
3. Ame Loncheo Bawm (22), Village- Simtlangpi Para, Thanchi Upazila.