Even on eve of national festival of Jummas, army’s raids and oppression continue in Bilaichari

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Photo : Symbolic

Hill Voice, 12 April 2023, Rangamati: Even on the eve of the national festival of Jummas in Chittagong Hill Tracts, there have been reports of continuous patrolling operations by the army in various Jumma villages in Bilaichhari of Rangamati district and in these operations, Jumma villagers were beaten, searched, harassed and a villager was sent to jail.

On the other hand, it has been alleged that various obstacles are being created by the army in different areas of Bilaichari in the celebration of Biju, Bishu, the national social festival of local Jummas.

In the last one week (April 6-April 12) at least four patrolling operations were conducted by the army and during these operations at least 4 innocent villagers were reportedly beaten up, harassed in the name of interrogation and 1 person was detained and handed over to the police.

According to local sources, on April 6, 2023, Ward Member Sumon Tanchangya (35), son of Latusen Tanchangya of Union No. 4 of Bilaichhari Upazila went to Farua Bazaar. At one point, the army personnel of Farua army camp took Suman Tanchangya from Bazaar to the army camp. At that time, the army personnel told Suman Tanchangya that there is a barrack of Shanti Bahini in your area and asked him that how many people live in the barrack, what is the name of the commander and so on. When Suman Tanchangya replied that he did not know all this, the army men beat Suman Tanchangya severely. Suman Tanchangya was released after being detained in the camp for about 3 hours. However, when the army ordered Suman Tanchangya not to go to Bilaichhari upazila headquarters, Suman Tanchangya went home.

It is also known that on April 8, 2023, a group of army personnel from Farua Army Camp, took a medicine shopkeeper named Natun Kumar Tanchangya (48) from Farua Bazar to the army camp and beat him severly. After one day’s detention in the camp, the army personnel called the police from Bilaichari police station and handed over Natun Kumar Tanchangya to the police. Natun Kumar Tanchangya is reportedly lodged in Rangamati Jail. However, it is not known why Natun Kumar was beaten up by the army and handed over to the police.

On April 10, 2023, a group of army personnel from Taktanala Army Camp of No. 3 Farua Union went on a patrol operation in Uluchari area. On the way back from there, the army team forcibly took two villagers named Apu Tanchangya (60), son of Mansipya Tanchangya and Shanta Tanchangya (40), son of Tabmuni Tanchangya from Taktanala village to the house of Anil Tanchangya (48), son of Tabmuni Tanchangya of the same village. At that time the army asked Apu Tanchangya and Shanta Tanchangya if they knew Anil Tanchangya, the owner of the house. When both of them replied that they know, the army further asked, where is he (Anil Tanchangya)? Does he collect JSS subscriptions? When Apu Tanchangya and Shanta Tanchangya replied that they did not know about this, the army men first slapped them and then severely beat them with bamboo sticks.

After this beating, the army men told Apu Tanchangya and Shanta Tanchangya that they should ask Anil Tanchangya to be present at the army camp the next day.

It is known that on that day Anil Tanchangya and his wife went out of the house for family work. Meanwhile, knowing about the incident, Anil Tanchangya is said to be running away from home fearing torture by the army.

Locals said that at last today (April 12) an army team of 20 men led by a Subedar from Bilaichari Sadar Army Zone went on a patrolling operation in Parikhola Maun (hill) of No. 2 Kengrachari Union. On the other hand, on the same day, an army team of 20 men led by a subedar from Dhupsheel army camp went on a patrolling operation to Pankhowa Para and Marma Para of Lata Pahar via Shalbagan.

Allegation of obstruction in celebration of national festival:

In celebration of the national social festival of Jummas, the Biju, Bisu, there have been allegations of obstruction by the army in various areas of Bilaichari.

According to local sources, local Jummas have been instructed by RP Commander from Bilaichari Army Zone that no one can use sound box anywhere in the event. It is reported that the local Jummas of Kutubdia village of Bilaichari Union sought permission to celebrate Biju systematically, but the army zone authoritiy did not give permission to hold any event. Jummas of Dhupyachar area of the same union were also informed by the army that they should not hold any event on the occasion of the festival.