Mog Party and so-called anti-terrorist activities of the army in CHT

Photo: A group of Mog Party members on the ground of Poaitu Para Government Primary School in Gainda Union, Rajasthali

Aungmrant Aung

Due to kidnappings, murders, extortion and terrorist activities, a small armed group called the Mog Party can be heard in the mouths of the common people. It is learnt that the group (so-called party) made its debut in the Rajasthali area of ​​Rangamati during the parliamentary elections in 2018 by campaigning for the Awami League candidate with arms, threatening general voters and taking them hostage. The members of the party then indiscriminately started killing Tanchangya, Chakma and Marma villagers and activists of ParbatyaChattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), which signed an agreement with the Bangladesh government in 1997, in the Rajasthali of Rangamati and BandarbanSadar areas. As a result, the party becomes a panic among the masses.

According to the members and supporters of the Mog Party, the name of the party is Mog Liberation Party (MLP). It is learnt that the leader of the party Khoilang was the head of the armed wing of the ALP (Arakan Liberation Party). When the ALP announced a ceasefire for talks aimed at resolving political problems of Arakan in Myanmar, most of the party’s leaders and activists, including its general secretary, fled to Arakan. Mrs. Mrajalang, the party’s general secretary, is said to be currently living in Yangon, the old capital of Myanmar. The party is said to have opened an office in Myanmar and continued its political activities, but so far no agreement has been reached or no political rights have been granted. In this situation, another armed group in Arakan called AA (Arakan Army) gained immense popularity and support among the Arakanese people.

The ALP is known among the Arakanese people as a government-sponsored organization for its support of the Myanmar army in the war and by capturing AA members. It is heard that at present the ALP is a party that is widely hated by the Arakanese people. Even ordinary Arakanese people killed ALP members when they found them. At that time, a small portion of the ALP members (about 14-17 persons) remained in Mizoram of India, refrained from moving to Myanmar. Later, when there was a shortage of food in their family, they moved to Balipara area of ​​Thanchi in Bandarban district to collect money. The party started extorting money from the locals and traders. From there, they came to Ruma, Rowangchhari area and started extorting money. At a time, it was known that the party went to Lama, Alikadam and extorted money. Later, during the parliamentary elections in 2018, they took refuge in the Gaba and Powaitu Para areas of Gaindya Union in RajasthaliUpazila. Since then, theyhave been working for the ruling Awami League candidates in various elections and now has a permanent base in Powaitu Para.

Aiming to disrupt, weaken and destroy ethnic unity among the Jumma people, including the struggle for the rights of the indigenous Jumma people of the CHT, and to increase racial discrimination, the local leaders of the Awami League and the Bangladesh army campaigned as a separate political party of the Marmas with this small faction of the ALP who does not have any political ideology and program in one hand and,on the other, in order to portray the CHT as a terrorist region (the goal is to call them Marma terrorists in the future), they cut the letter A from the ALP and replaced it with the letter M and then campaigned under the name of MLP.Now there is a debate among Awami League leaders, activists and supporters as to whether the full word of MLP will be Mog Liberation Party or Marma Liberation Party.

Awami League leaders and activists became very busy misinterpreting the word ‘Marma’, a nationality of the Jumma peoples, mentioned in the CHT Accord of 1997 signed by the government with the PCJSS. They started preaching that the ethnic identity of the Marmas is not Marma, they are Mog. As a historical basis for this, in the past, in official papers, men were written as ChaihlaprueMog and women as MehlaprueMogini. But in reality, the spoken and written language of the Marmas was never called the Mog language. It was called Marma language or Mraima language. Mog in Marma language, there is no such word. It is learnt that there are instructions from the army to call the MLP as ‘Marma Party’. However, according to the language spoken by the leaders, the abbreviated form of the Mog Liberation Party came to be known as the ‘Mog Party’.

So far, no announced program of the Mog Party has been heard. It has not been heard that they have started the movement on the basis of any program before. However, during the election and in various public meetings for the purpose of extortion, the party workers said that the PCJSS is Chakma Party. If the CHT Accord is implemented, Chakmas will be the minister, MP, Chairmen of Regional Council and Hill District Councils. The Chakmas will rule the whole three hill districts. Various misleading statements were made, including the rumor ​​that the Chakmas would oppress and exploit the Marmas.

Needless to say, the CHT Accord is a nationally and internationally recognized agreement. The agreement stipulates who will be the Minister for CHT Affairs, how the Regional Council and District Councils will be formed, who and how many will be members and chairmen among the Jumma nationalities including permanent Bengali residents. There is no opportunity to amend or violate this agreement. While campaigning for the Awami League candidate Dipankar Talukder in the last parliamentary elections, they said that UshatanTalukder, the candidate of the PCJSS, is Chakma; Can’t vote for him. It is known that Marma villagers also raised a question in such a campaign meeting. They asked, “Is Dipankar Talukdar a Marma? Is Awami League a Marma Party?” But the members of the Mog Party could not give a good answer to this question.

Moreover, the Mog Party members are heard to say that they will make members and chairmen in the Union and UpazilaParishads among from Marmas. The task of making this member-chairman is also not in the Bengali majority area. They are seen killing, abducting and collecting money from the Jumma tribes including the Tanchangya, Chakma and Marma. The so-called Mog or Marma Liberation Party has never been heard to explain from whom the liberation of any territory, to whom the Mogs or Marmas subjugated. It was not clear whether, if Mog or Marmawere elected as Member or Chairman,how the Mog or Marma people get the right to freedom.

It is learnt that the present position of the Mog Party is that this armed group along with its leader Khoilang is permanently stationed at Powaitu Para in Gaindya Union of RajasthaliUpazila of Rangamati District. Their total number of members is 48 including women. From there they go to other areas and kidnap, kill and extort money. Powaitu Para is located to the south of the Rajasthaliarmy camp, to the south-east of the Bangalhaliaarmy camp and to the south-west of the Antaha Para army camp. It takes 30 or 40 minutes to walk from Rajasthali Bazaar to this village and 10 or 15 minutes by vehicle. It takes about two hours to walk from Bangalhalia Bazar to Bazar No. 5, and by vehicle, only way to go via Rajasthali. On the other, by vehicle from Anta Para army camp, it is the way to goChushak Para viaManjoy Para and from there it takes 30 minutes to walk to Powaitu Para. The army camps of the Bangladesh military are located around the village.

Khoilang, the leader of the Mog Party, is known as Uchingmong. He is literate in Burmese. He can’t even speak Bengali. His family is said to be in Mizoram of India. Other members of the ALP said that Khoilang had been expelled from the party for his anti-discipline and harmful activities. It is learnt that Khoilang was born in Powaitu Para, but moved to Arakan of Myanmar along with his family from an early age. Before becoming a member of the ALP armed group, he never came to Poitou.

The name of Kya ShweHla, President of Bandarban District Branch of Bangladesh Awami League and Chairman of Bandarban Hill District Council (brother-in-law of Minister Bir Bahadur) is heard as the main patron and supporter of this Mog Party. At present, they are being publicly patronized by the Chairman of the RajasthaliUpazilaParishad and the President of the UpazilaAwami League,UbachaMarma.

It is also learnt that the abduction and killing of tribals by the Mog Party has led to a clash between the ALP and the supporters of the CHT Accord. The army went into operation in the Powaitu area after receiving information that the pro-Accord armed group was stationed in the area. While the army advancing, members of the Mog Party, who were stationed there at the time, fired at the army. In this firing, an army member was killed. Later, when the army personnel went to the area again, one of the soldiers was seriously injured in a landmine blast planted by the Mog Party.Later, the soldiers did not go into operation after reaching an understanding among themselves. It is said that even the army often provides security assistance to the Mog Party members to protect them.

It is seen that when the members of the Mog Party go to any area, the army follows them there or the army stays guarding them from some distance of that area,so that no one can take advantage of the attack on the Mog Party or they are not attacked. On the other hand, in the incident of killing of Mog Party members, the army took initiative to suppress the people engaged in the movement to implement the CHT Accord by arranging to file false cases against the leaders, activists and supporters of the PCJSS and innocent villagers. They were later arrested, harassed, physically and mentally abused and financially harmed. The propaganda is that the army is working to maintain law and order and the rule of law. In these false cases, PCJSS members and the people’s representatives supportive to the CHT Accord, and even the leaders and workers of the PCJSS in the remote Bandarban district are frequently entangled.

It is learnt that later on, many members of this armed group called Mog Party left the group realizing their mistake, after being known the real situation, misusing the name Mog or Marma and seen their terrorist activities, known about the harmful deeds for the Jumma people, became disgusted with the lives of the deprived Marma and Jumma people. It is also heard that some of them have joined the movement for implementation of the CHT Accord.

Now the question to the conscience of the people, is the army really suppressing terrorism in the CHT? Is maintaining law and order? Or are they pushing the CHT towards terrorism with the creation of terrorist groups in the CHT?