CHTIPCC urges DPKO to stop recruitment of BD army

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Hill Voice, 23 December 2023, International Desk: CHT Indigenous Peoples Council of Canada (CHTIPCC) urges Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) of the United Nations to stop Bangladesh army from recruiting in the Peacekeeping Missions unless until they are cooperative in the Accord implementation and close their all camps.

The appeal was sent to DPKO and copied to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the United Nations on 21 December 2023.

The appeal states that as heinous acts committed by the Bangladesh military, the Indigenous Jummo peoples live in terror in their own land and if possible, they flee or are fleeing to different places in the neighboring countries or to the countries where they can in order to get rid of the military’s harassment, arrest, torture, killing, brutal interrogation, etc.

In 1997, an agreement called “Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord” was signed between the Sheikh Hasina’s Bangladesh Government and the PCJSS (Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti) on behalf of the Indigenous peoples for a political solution to the CHT issue, but due to ill intention of the military, the Accord has yet not been implemented fully in 26 years. Their “Divide and Rule” policy is active due to which they dominate the indigenous peoples easily and the Accord implementation is interrupted.

Till to date, the military have created several armed terrorist groups, provide their shelter and use them whenever or wherever these groups are needed. Out of many incidents between these factions, two major cases that happened in this year can be brought to your notice.

The Bawm community also known as Kuki community is a small community among the Indigenous Jumma peoples in the CHT amounting to be hardly 12, 500 population out of about 900,000 Jumma peoples. They had a developmental organization called Kuki-Chin National Developmental Organization in the past.

But, the militaries with their heinous plan, they instigated the Bawm community to form the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) instead of development organization in 2020 so that this KNF can start fighting against other indigenous communities viz. Chakma, Marma, Tripura, etc. and the KNF was formed. The military provided the KNF with weapons and financial help.

When the KNF started helping the Islamic militant members in 2021 for their financial gain, the Bangladesh Government with its strictest order to go against the Islamist terrorists had to change the planning of the military, they abandoned their helping to the KNF, so was the beginning of conflict between the military and the KNF.

The military and the KNF exchanged firing several times in which even some military personnel died. But on April 6th, 2023, the military took some members of the UPDF (Democratic) and Reformist JSS (MN Larma) which was also created by the military in 2010, to Khamtang Para (village) in Rowangchari under Bandarban District to fight against the KNF.

At that time, the UPDF (Democratic) and Reformist JSS (MN Larma) members detained some villagers and fighting between the army-backed armed group and the KNF started, they shot 7 villagers to death on spot. The victims were 1. Sang Khum Bawm (45 yrs), 2. Van Du Bawm (35 yrs), 3. Jahim Bawm (40 yrs), 4. Sun Phir Thang Bawm (22 yrs), 5. Boy Rem Bawm (17 yrs), 6. Lal Lian Ungk Bawm (44 yrs) and 7. Lal Thazar Bawm (27 yrs) who all were from the Bawm community. They also killed a member of the KNF whose name was unknown.

To happen this incident was instigated by Lt. Col. Md. Mahmudul Hasan, PSC, 05 EBR, Bandarban Zone; Lt. Col. Shahriar Iqbal, PSC, Ruma Zone; and Brig. Md. Ziaul Hoque, Brigade Commander of 69 Infantry Division of Bandarban.

Another example of killing of four people in December was mentioned in the appeal. On Dec 11th, 2023, at around 9:30 pm, the members of the UPDF (Democratic) suddenly attacked a group of the UPDF under the direction of the military at Anil Para village under Panchari in Khagrachari District and as a result, four members of the UPDF died on spot. They were (1) Bipul Chakma, (2) Rohin Bikash Tripura, (3) Liton Chakma and (4) Sunil Bikash Tripura. It is alleged that Major Zobayed Mohammad, Commander of the Panchari Upazilla Zone; Col. Abul Hasnat Jewel, Commander of the Khagrachari Zone; Brigadier General Mohammad Mohtashim Haider Chowdhury, Commander of the Khagrachari Region who were commanded by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Chittagong Division Shahinul Haque. These militaries are serving with 203rd Infantry Battalion of the Bangladesh Army.

The three indigenous youths or the members of the UPDF namely, Niti Datta Chakma, Ruhin Tripura and Harikomol Tripura, who were abducted at gun points by the members of the UPDF (Democratic) were released later by the military. In fact, the released persons were the agents of the military who were used to locate the presence of the UPDF members.

These two cases are more than enough to prove that the Bangladesh militaries are the main cause in having disturbances in the CHT. The CHT Accord could have been implemented fully for peace if they have extended their helping hands. They control almost every thing from administration to development for their favor only. They have not withdrawn all temporary military camps as per the Accord, rather they have been expanding. The Indigenous Jumma peoples have been living like in a cage with the military’s 24hrs surveillance.

The Bangladesh military could be very dedicative in the UN Peacekeeping Missions, but they have ugly faces in term of human rights violations in the CHT with their suppressive and oppressive attitude towards the Indigenous Jumma peoples. It could only be overcome and the indigenous peoples can be in peace with their rights if your mighty power stops them from recruiting in the Peacekeeping Missions unless until they are cooperative in the Accord implementation and close their all camps.