Hill Voice, 10 October 2023, Rangamati: It is alleged that Bangladesh army have been harassing the Jumma villagers in the name of patrolling operations in Balukhali Union of Rangamati Sadar Upazila under Rangamati hill district. In addition, harassment is being made in the name of collecting voter ID cards and photographs of the Jumma villagers.
According to the villager sources, under the leadership of Captain Md. Abdullah (camp commander of Morisyabil army camp in Balukhali Union under Rangamati Sadar Upazila) a patrolling team numbering 20 army personnel came to the shops at Kaindya Para Bridge at around 11 am, on October 9, 2023. After keeping vigilance on the villagers for about 2/3 hours, they stayed the night at Basanta government primary school.
Afterwards, Habildar Md. Sohel of the team reportedly summoned Santosh Chakma, headman of the No.125 Mouza, a UP female member Shefali Chakma, Karbari Minati Chakma of Doujari Para and Mahendra Lal Karbari. It is said that they were subjected to several harassing interrogations by the army.
On the other hand, on the same day at around 9 am, an army patrolling group numbering 18-20 from the Subalong army camp of Barkal upazila took position at the Balukhali Union Parishad office. From there, a group of 8-10 personnel is reported to conduct patrol in the nearby Kaptai Lake area. Later they left the site around 4 pm finding nothing there.
As a result of the patrol operation, it is reported to have created anxiety and panic among the Jumma villagers in the area.
It should be noted that on 7 October 2023, 9 Jumma villagers were allegedly harassed by the army in the name of collecting voter ID cards and photographs of the Jumma villagers in Jibatali and Magban Union of Rangamati Sadar Upazila. In the face of the pressure and intimidation of the army, it is learnt that 9 Jumma villagers of various villages of Jibtali and Magban Union were compelled to submit their voter ID cards and photographs to the army camp authority.
When contacted, the villagers said that the army are not the authority to collect their personal information. In fact, they were forced to give their personal information out of fear. They fear that their personal information could be used by the military to trap them in danger.