Hill Voice, 23 September 2022, Bandarban: In two separate incidents in Kuhalong Union of Bandarban Sadar Upazila in Bandarban Hill District, there are allegations of an attempt to set up a new army camp by encroaching on the land of a Buddhist monastery and molesting an innocent Jumma woman including house search by Bangladesh Army.
According to local sources, yesterday (September 22) around 10:00 am, an army team numbering 25 from Bandarban Sadar Army Zone went to Thoai Gya Para area of No.6 Ward of Kuhalong Union with 20 Bengali workers. Immediately after their arrival there, they started clearing the bushes and felling trees around Thoai Gya Para Buddhist temple without any discussion and consent.
On hearing the news of the incident, the local Buddhists, including men and women rushed to the spot and protested against the land grabbing to prevent them from setting up any army camp there. As a result, an altercation was sparked between the both sides.
At the while, the army personnel said that there was an order from high command. So they would stay there no matter how much the local obstructed.
In the meantime, when the local people informed about the incident, the chairman and dignitaries of the area and a captain of Bandarban Sadar Zone with another army team came to the spot. The army wanted to set up a camp there, even though the local people told everyone about the incident.
At one stage of the controversy, the local residents said to the army members with sadness and anger, “If you want to set up a camp here, then you have to set up the camp by shooting us in our chest.” At that moment, the captain of the army zone threatened the local residents and said, “We will stay here. Do whatever you can.”
At one stage of the long disputations between the army and the local people, the army personnel left the spot at around 5:30 pm vowing to stay at the site of the Buddhist monastery for the next 5 days. Meanwhile, it is said that the army personnel took away two mobile phones from the local residents.
Humiliation of a Jumma woman
On September 21, 2022, a team of 15-20 army personnel and police led by a Zone Commander from Bandarban Army Zone went to Puraton Charuipara village of Kuhalong Union and humiliated and threatened a Marma woman and conducted a harassing search into her house.
According to local sources, at around 3:00 pm on the day, the joint team of army and police went to the Puratan Charuipara village. At that time, the army personnel waked up the sleeping Titiprue Marma (24), wife of Paimongu Marma and wanted to search the house. Titiprue Marma’s husband was not at home at that time. Titiprue Marma did not want to let the army personnel to search her house as there was nothing in the house. At this, the army personnel scared and showed anger to Titiprue Marma by kicking her house.
The source also said that the army personnel wanted to take Titiprue Marma with them. But the local men and women of the area, coming forward snatched Titiprue Marma from the hand of the army.
After that, the commander of the army team threatening to see for it the army and police personnel went away from there.