Chairmen, Headmen and karbaris of two union threatened and abused by army in Rangamati 

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Hill Voice, 21 September 2022, Rangamati: Two Union Parishad chairmen, headmen and karbaris (village head) of Jibtali and Mogban Union were called by Bangladesh Army’s Kaptai army zone and allegedly threatened and abused in connection with the recent CNG taxi burning incident. The incident took place in Jibatali Union of Rangamati Sadar Upazila under Rangamati Hill District.

Yesterday morning on September 20, 2022, the 2iC of Kaptai Army Zone Md. Mostafiz called those indigenous local Jumma dignitaries in the army zone and at one stage the 2iC misbehaved, threatened and abuses them, a reliable source said.

The dignitaries and public representatives and locals felt humiliated and expressed deep sorrow and concern for such unspected and insulting behavior of the army officer.

According to local source, Md. Mostafiz, 2iC of Kaptai Army Zone of Kaptai Upazila adjacent to Rangamati Sadar Upazila informed Jibatali Union Parishad Chairman Sudatta Chakma, 105 Jibatali Mouza Headman Hitler Dewan, Jibatali Union Parishad member Barun Chakma, Mogban Union Parishad Chairman Puspa Ranjan Chakma, 106 Kamilachari Mouza Headman Advocate Bhavatosh Dewan, No.4 Ward Member of Mogban Union Babul Tanchangya and Karbaris (Village heads) of the both Mouzas to appear in the Kaptai army zone.

As per information of the 2iC Md. Mostafiz the said chairmen, members, headmen and karbaris of the Mauzas appeared at Kaptai army zone yesterday on September 20, 2022 at 9:30 am. At that time, Zone Commander Lt. Col. Md. Ferdous was seen coming to the meeting place of the Chairmen, Members, Headmen and Karbaris but he did not come at last and it was 2iC Md. Mostafiz appeared there.

It is learnt that as soon as 2iC Md. Mostafiz arrived at the meeting place and before the representatives could understand anything, the 2iC Md. Mostafiz said, “You nurture terrorists.  You know that JSS terrorists burnt CNG on September 16.” Questioning why you did not inform the army zone, 2iC Md. Mostafiz also abuse the leaders in unspeakable language. Besides, 2iC Md. Mostafiz is reported to have threatened that none of them would be spared if such incidents happened again.

It is learnt that, on 18th September 2022, at 10:00 AM at Rangamati DC Office, a discussion meeting was organized with the UP Chairmen, Members, Headmen and karbaris on the same issue. The said leaders were also present there. The President and the Secretary of CNG Owners Association, Rangamati Upazila Chairman, Municipal Chairman, Superintendent of Police, Intelligence and Army officers were present there.

As soon as the meeting started, an army officer unilaterally told the Jumma leaders that, “What did the JSS terrorists gain by burning CNG?” You (public representatives) are backing terrorists, giving donations, providing various types of assistance.” The army officer threatened and said that if this happens again, we the army will be forced to torture the common people.

It is worth mentioning that on September 16, 2022, someone burnt a CNG-powered taxi at a place called No.2 Agar Bagan of No.1Ward of Jibatali Union.

Using the pretext of the said incident, the army arbitrarily calling the Jumma UP Chairmen, Members, Headmen and karbaris of the area is harassing, misbehaving, threatening them, and raising false allegations against them and with a motive deliberately implicating the JSS in the incident.

Several rights activists who did not want to reveal their names from Rangamati town and neighbouring areas of the spot said that everyone knows who stay beside the area near where the taxi was burnt? There is currently no JSS activity there due to the suppression and oppression of army and army-backed terrorists.

They said that the UPDF (democratic) and reformist terrorists supported by the army have established a base in Jibtali Chairman Para, only some distance from the incident site. From there, those terrorists have been carrying out terrorist activities including extortion and beating people in different areas of Jibtali and Mogban union with the association and instructions of the army.

It is noteworthy that recently there have been complaints of staying UPDF (democratic) terrorists numbering 40-45 from last September 1, 2022 under the leadership of Barun Karbari. Then on September 2, 2022, around 9:00 am, an army team from Jibtali army camp came to the base of the terrorists in Chairman Para. Then around 10:00 AM, the army escorted all the members of the terrorist group to the Jibtali army camp. It is learnt that the army had a day-long secret meeting with the UPDF (Democratic) terrorists at the Jibtali army camp. There was also fresh information that after meeting around 5:00 pm, the army team escorted backs the UPDF (democratic) terrorists to their base.

It may be noted that about three years ago, the army escorted an armed group of UPDF (democratic) and reformist terrorists to the chairman para village of Jibtali Union. Since then, these terrorists have established a reign of terror in different areas of Rangamati Sadar, including killing, beating, kidnapping, ransom, extortion.

There are several allegations that the army and its backed terrorist groups jointly conduct occasional patrols in neighboring areas and search operations in villages.