Army withdrawn from Shijokmukh army camp, but site handed over to BGB

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Hill Voice, 26 March 2023, Rangamati: It has been reported that the army personnel of the Shijokmukh army camp built in the premise of Shijokmukh Sarbajanin Buddhist Bihara forcefully in Sarboatali Union of Baghaichari Upazila under Rangamati District by the Bangladesh Army were finally withdrawn today. However, the army have handed over the camp site to the Rajanagar BGB zone instead of the original owner of Buddha Bihara Management Committee.

Today, March 25, 2023, at around 12:30 pm, the army of the said Shijokmukh army camp have moved to the neighboring Durchari Bazar army camp along with their ammunition, arms and belongings. While leaving, the name of the camp was also erased from the main gate of the army camp. But the houses, sentry posts etc. built for the camp were not demolished.

According to the CHT Accord, there is a provision of handing over camp site to the actual owner or Hill District Council after withdrawing the temporary camp. But in this case, the army did not do so and handed it over to the BGB authorities, according to locals.

It is known that initially the people of the area took the fact positively that the army left the said Shijokmukh army camp site. But later the news that the camp site was handed over to Rajanagar BGB zone authority have created despair among the local residents.

It is to be noted that last April 25, 2019, a group of army personnel under the leadership of Captain Khaled and Warrant Officer Hasmat of Maini Zone of 21 Bir Regiment in Longadu Upazila went to Shijokmukh Sarbajanin Buddha Bihara premise and set up the army camp by force violating the CHT Accord. Immediately after the establishment of the army camp, the army personnel of the camp created various obstacles in performing the religious functions in Bihara and carried out immense harassment and oppressive activities on the Jumma people of the area.

It is learnt that the said Buddha Bihara is an very old one which was built by the displaced Jumma people after the construction of the Kaptai Dam in the 1960s.