Hill Voice, 14 October 2019, Monday, Bandarban:  On 14 October 2019 at around 3:00 pm two indigenous Tanchangya men were shot dead by Boarder Guard Bangladesh (BGB) at Fatrajhiri area under Ward No. 8 of Gumdhum Union of Naikhyongchari Upazila in Bandarban Hill District. The deceased were identified as Mongkhicha Tanchnagya (60) and Aungchai Mong Tanchangya (45). The killing is seemed to be incident of election violence, but it is alleged that the incident was happened due to use of excessive force by BGB personnel without order of the Magistrate, with an aim to prevent winning of Babul Kanti Tanchangya, a sole indigenous candidate for the post of Member of Ward No. 8 in the Gumdhum Union election.

It is worthy to be mentioned that the elections of three Unions under Naikhyongchari upazila, namely, Naikhyongchari sadar, Sonaichari and Gumdhum Unions, were held on 14 October. Two candidates comprising of one from Bengali community named Ahmad Ali and another candidate from indigenous Tanchangya community named Babul Kanti Tanchangya contested in the poll for the post of Member of Ward No. 8 of the Gumdhum Union.

It was reported by local sources that the supporters of two competing member candidates in the election of Ward No 8 under the Gumdhum union engaged in a heated argument in front of Fatrajhiri Government Primary School centre, over alleged casting of fake votes by local Bengali and Rohingya people, a little after 10:00 am. At that time, supporters of Babul Kanti Tanchangya caught few Rohingyas red handed while they tried to cast fake vote in favour of Ahmad Ali. The Rohingya men were handed over to police. After that, voting continued peacefully till 3:00 pm.

Local sources allegedly reported that the clash ensued at around 3:00 pm after Bengali people who were supporters of candidate Ahmad Ali made sudden attack on supporters of Babul Kanti Tanchangya while they were peacefully sitting in front of Babuk Kanti’s house at Fatrijhiri Para. The casualties occurred when BGB personnel, deployed there on election duty, opened fire in the name of dispersing the two warring groups and bringing the situation under control. In the firing, Mongkhicha died on the spot while Aungchai Mong got hit by a bullet during the clash. He was rushed to Ukhiya Upazila Health Complex in Cox’s Bazar where doctors declared him dead around 4:30 pm.

It is alleged that BGB did not take any action to disperse attacking Bengali people, rather BGB personnel made fire on Tanchangya people who were trying to prevent attack of Bengali people simply. At that time, no Magistrate was present in the spot and BGB opened fire without order of the Magistrate. Local indigenous community alleged that there was no such extent of violent situation that could compel BGB personnel to open fire. It was nothing, but use of excessive force by BGB personnel and it was committed as indigenous people are the easy and soft target in the human rights violation.

According to documentation of Kapaeeng Foundation, from January to 15 October 2019, there have been 7 extra-judicial killings including two Tanchangya men mentioned-above in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Similarly, 4 indigenous persons have allegedly been subjected to victims of enforced disappearance by the plain cloth law-enforcement and security forces, among whom 2 persons have been freed after keeping couple of days in the detention in unknown places, but 2 persons remain missing till to-date. At least 76 indigenous persons have arbitrarily been arrested while 7 persons have been detained for some hours and tortured brutally at that time. At least 10 persons including 5 elected public representatives have been made shown arrested one after another case during or before getting out from the jail in accordance with the bail granted by High Court.

Moreover, around 278 indigenous persons have been falsely charged in the 17 fabricated cases while at least 22 houses have been searched. Many villagers have been harassed during the searching. Besides, 10 incidents of violence against indigenous women and girls have been reported, among them, 2 women have been killed after gang rape. It is also alarming that three new camps were set up in Rangamati district in 2019 violating the provision of the CHT Accord signed between the Government of Bangladesh and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) in 1997.