CHTIPCC seeks PM’s intervention to stop harassing innocent Bawm people

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Hill Voice, 26 April 2024, International Desk: CHT* Indigenous Peoples Council of Canada (CHTIPCC) sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to intervene in the Ruma Chaos, stop harassing the innocent Bawm Community and create peace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). The memorandum was mailed to the Prime Minister on 25 April 2024 by the President of CHTIPCC Priti B Chakma.

The memorandum stated that the Indigenous peoples of the CHT have been facing human rights violations since long time back though they are honestly desiring a peace that could prevail so that development can be achieved, economy can be vibrant and the rights of the local Indigenous peoples can be preserved as distinct peoples. There is no doubt that all these features are added values for our Bangladesh as a proud nation.

But it is very regretted that our Indigenous peoples are devoid of peace because of many untold reasons though you are a peace-loving leader in Bangladesh and in the world as a whole. Your endeavor to development and peace in the world is highly praising and hence why not in the CHT? We have no doubt that your action is very tremendous in the case of the CHT for peace if it would work well.

Among many recent human rights violations that are going on in the CHT, one is very noticeable if you have paid attention to it. The KNF or Kuki-Chin National Front, which was formed with the interest of the military or their instigation as indicated by various sources, had looted two banks (Sonali Bank and Krishi Bank) on the dates of April 02 and 03. Now in retaliation to it, the military and its allied forces like police and RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) have started operation to nab the KNF members. But, to our utter surprise, these forces have arrested some 111 innocent Bawm community’s people plus some from Marma and Tripura communities too as of April 25, 2024. These arrested persons belong to farmers, students, teachers and employees. It is a very painful to say that there are two pregnant women and four children and among them, one is a two months old baby.

The memorandum further said that Hon’ble Prime Minister, you are a woman and you know very well that a woman needs a suitable place to feed her baby. The jail or a lockup place in a police custody is not a place for a feeding mother to feed her baby. Moreover, these pregnant women, feeding woman and children are unimaginable to go for looting a bank or get involved in a terror activity.

We have learnt from the report emerging from the area where the military operation is going on that a student from the Bawm community named Mr. Lalremrut Bawm, son of Late Lalthuaithleng Bawm, was killed by the brushfire of the military during their operation. We have also learnt the B.A. student was trying to rescue a woman who was already injured by the military’s shelling, but the military didn’t spare him to kill.

Hon’ble Prime Minister, your immediate intervention in this operation by the forces is very crucial at this moment and the Accord you signed for peace has become extremely important to have peace in the CHT. Thus, your action for peace will highly be appreciated, CHTIPCC said.

The memorandum was copied to Prime Minister of Canada, Foreign Minister of Canada, Bangladesh Focal Person of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the UN, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Asia and the Pacific Division of Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO) of the UN, State Minister of CHT Affairs, Consulate General of Bangladesh in Canada etc.