Army patrolling causes harassment and panic among Jummas in Bilaichari

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Photo : Symbolic

Hill Voice, 28 October 2023, Rangamati: Two groups of Bangladesh army have reportedly conducted patrolling in Bilaichari Sadar Union and Kengrachari Union of Bilaichari Upazila under Rangamati hill district. This army’s move allegedly harassed several Jumma men and women, and emerged fear in the Jumma locality.

It is learnt that the two groups have gathered together and stayed in a primary school as of filing this report.

According to local sources, an army team of 20 personnel led by a subedar went out on a patrol operation from Dupshil army camp under 32 Bir Dighalchari army zone in Bilaichari upazila Sadar, on October 28, 2023 around 8 am. All the patrollers were wearing iron hat. Afterwards, they stationed at Dighalchari Mon Para Government Primary School in Ward No 4 of Bilaichari Sadar Union No 1. From the school, they patrolled nearby Jumma houses for some times. At this moment, the army personnel have misbehaved with several Jumma women, and harassed by asking- whether they have seen terrorists or they go there.

The army stayed around an hour in the village, and left for Parikhola Mon of Kengrachari Union No 2 along Bilaichari Mon. During this movement, they made 3 Jumma labourers to carry their loads. When the army arrived on the Parikhola Mon, they released the porters just giving them Tk 60 per head. Locals said, the wage of a porter for such hard work is at least Tk 500 a day.

In addition, it is known that immediately after the patrol team went out, another army group of 20 personnel led by Captain Arif went to Hajachara Para area through the bank of Bilaichari lake in warlike posture. Patrolling the area for a while, the army went to Parikhola Mon para. There, the army asked a woman named Basanadebi Chakma to come out of her shop and then pointed a gun at her. Then, they tried to take photograph of the Jumma woman with a mobile phone planting a local made gun on her. But the woman refused to do so and somehow escape from the state.

It was learnt that the army personnel then interrogated and intimidated the woman saying, “The JSS members come here, why don’t you inform us?”

Later, both the army teams converged and moved from Parikhola Mon towards Bangalkaba Primary School at around 1:30 pm and the are reportedly staying there till writing this report.

It is reported that there are panic among the people for army’s harassment and their station at the Bangalkaba Primary School.