Army raid on innocent villagers on the pretext of Baghmara incident

Photo: collected from social media

Hill Voice, 9 July 2020, Bandarban: It has been alleged that the army have intensified its crackdown on innocent villagers and searched their houses in different areas of Bandarban in connection with the 6 murders that took place in Baghmara on 7 July. The army have already raided several villages and arrested at least one person. A case has been filed with Bandarban police station against 10 people who are vocal for implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord through democratic means.

According to local sources, on 8 July 2020, Tuesday at around 1.30 am, army raided the Uji Headman Para in Kualang Union of Bandarban Sadar Upazila arriving there in three vehicles and cordoned off the entire village.

At this time, the army forcibly woke up the sleeping villagers and checked the national identity cards of all the men and women. Sumon Marma, who was staying at her father-in-law’s house was detained by the army as he could not show his national identity card.

When family members of Sumon Marma contacted the local army on Thursday, the army denied arrest of Sumon Marma. As a result, family members are worried. Sumon Marma lives in her father-in-law’s house at Uji Headman Para and runs the family on driving motorbike and Mahendra jeep on renting.

Meanwhile, on 9 July at around 2:00 pm, a group of army personnel conducted a search operation in Baghmara Headman Para of Rajvila Union. At that time, the house of Mong Shwe Sai Marma, students and youth secretary of Bandarban Sadar Upazila branch of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), was surrounded by army.

At that time, the army woke everyone of the house up and searched the house. However, Mong Shwe Sai Marma was not at home at that time. When he was not found, the army harassed and threatened his family members in various ways.

On the other hand, on 8 July 2020, General Secretary of the Bandarban district branch of the Reformists, Ubamong Marma, filed a case in connection with Baghmara incident against 10 members of the PCJSS and its associate organizations with Bandarban Sadar police station. Besides, 10 other unidentified persons have also been accused in the case.

The 10 accused mentioned in the case are 1. Apai Marma (38), 2. Aungprue Marma (45), 3. Binoy Lal Chakma (45), 4. Nirekta Chakma (50), 5. Mongprue Marma (48), 6. Shanti Bikash Chakma (36), 6. Jarip Kumar Tanchangya (50), 6. Mong Shwe Sa Marma (40), 9. Usainue Marma (38) and 10. Sumon Chakma (35). They are all residents of different villages in Rajvila and Kuhalang Union of Sadar Upazila.

According to the sources of PCJSS, Apai Marma, Nirekta Chakma, Mongprue Marma, Jarip Kumar Thanchangya and Mongshwesa Marma are five members of the PCJSS. The other 5 people are known to be supporters of the PCJSS.

Sajib Chakma, Information and Publicity Secretary of PCJSS, said that the members and supporters of PCJSS have been accused in the case for political harassment and to destroy the organization capacity of PCJSS in Bandarban.

A member of the civil society in Bandarban, who are vocal for the land rights of Jumma people and for the implementation of the CHT Accord and who did not want to be named, said that the arrival of Reformists in Bandarban on 31 May with the help of special forces, ignoring the ongoing coronavirus, the residents of Bandarban have never seen it with good eyes.

He said that after arriving of Reformist in Bandarban, as a result of their misdeeds like beating, harassing, demanding extortion etc. by calling one person after another to their base with arms openly, the residents of Bandarban became angry with the Reformists.

On the other hand, on condition of anonymity, a local public representative said that most of the people in Bandarban could not accept the role of the Reformists like the Razakar forces of ’71 liberation. The public representative said that most of the people in Bandarban looked with bad eyes at the movement of the Reformist armed members openly in the shelter of the army.

The public representative further said that the people of Bandarban have also seen the relationship to tail dung of the Reformists with the newly formed unruly Mog Party or Mog Liberation Party who defected recently from Arakan Liberation Party (ALP). On the other hand, it angered the ALP against Reformists and Mog Party.

Although the residents of Bandarban could not accept the Baghmara incident of 6 murder on 7 July, at the same time they are feeling relieved, he said. Because this incident can reduce the harassment and terrorism of the Reformists. He thinks that the residents of Bandarban can get some relief from that anarchy.