Hill Voice, 27 September 2020: Human chains have organized with the joint initiative of conscious student society and conscious citizens in Bandarban and Chittagong demanding justice and highest punishment of those arrested for gang-raping a disabled Jumma woman in Khagrachari.
The demonstration and protest rallies held at the corner of Chittagong Cheragi Pahar with the joint initiative of Chittagong University Branch and Chittagong Metropolitan Branch of Pahari Chatra Parishad and Pahari Sramik Kalyan Forum.
Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network and Kapaeeng Foundation have strongly condemned the ongoing violence and torture of indigenous women in the past few days and called for immediate arrest and punishment of the perpetrators.
It is to be mentioned that at around 2:30 pm on Thursday, 24 September 2020, a group of 9 Muslim Bengali settlers equipped with local weapons including knives broke the door of the victim house and tied the victim, her mother and father with the rope forcefully. After that, the miscreants took the victim to another room and gang-raped her one after another indiscriminately.
On 26 September, police arrested 7 of the 9 accused from different places in Khagrachhari and Chittagong. The arrested are- 1) Md. Amin alias Nurul Amin (40), son of late Abul Kashem of Taichala Para in Ramgarh, 2) Md. Belal Hossain (23), son of late Akbar Ali of Comilla Tila in Khagrachari, 3) Md. Iqbal Hossain (21), son of Md. Imran Hossain of Bara Pilak in Guimara, 4) Md. Abdul Halim (28), son of Md. Habil Mian of Adarshagram of Amtali Union in Matiranga, 5) Shahin Mian (19), son of Abdul Kader of Pachshim Bara Pilak of Guimara, 6) Md. Antar (20), son of Ahmmed Ullah of Daroga Para of Ramgarh, and 7) Md. Abdur Rashid (37), son of Shamsul Haque of South Muslim Para of Matiranga.
It is learnt in the press release signed by Mohammad Abdul Aziz on 27 September that Tk. 48,000 of gold ornaments looted from the arrested, Tk. 4,900 out of Rs 6,000 looted cash, a mobile set looted from the custody of the accused, door-breaking shovel 1 piece, 2 knives, 2 daos used during robbery and gang rape, a autorickshaw (Green Color CNG) without number, a pair of plastic shoes left by the accused after the gang-rape which was later identified by Rashid as his own shoes have been recovered from the arrestees.
Human Chain in Bandarban
A human chain was held in front of the Bandarban Press Club on Sunday, 27 September 2020, with the joint initiative of the conscious student community and the conscious citizens demanding a fair trial and highest punishment for raping in the country including the three hill districts.
Alka Tanchangya, General Secretary of Hill Women’s Federation of Bandarban branch, Umlai Marma, President of representative of Marma Student Council in Bandarban, Hale Lui Bawm, representative of Bandarban Bawm Student, Shekhar Pal, representative of Bandarban Prothom Alo Bondusova, Changlak Mro, Finance Secretary of Bangladesh Mro Students Association and others were presented in the Human Chain. The Human Chain was moderated by General Secretary of PCP Bandarban College Branch Mong Mya Marma while Human Rights Activist Donai Pru Nelli presided over the function.
Speakers at the human chain said that the rate of rape of women in the hills and plains during the Corona period is alarming. The way the activists of Bangladesh Chatra League (BCL) tied up the newly married husband and gang-raped his wife at MC College in Sylhet, on the other hand, the incident of gang-rape and looting of a mentally challenged Jumma woman at Khagrachari Sadar on the night of 24 September 2020 has frightened us. This fact proves that they are more powerful than the law enforcement agencies of the country.
In addition to thanking the police for apprehending the culprits in the Khagrachhari incident, the speakers described the situation of the murder and rape of Jumma women in the hills and expressed concern over the justice system and fair trial in Bangladesh. They demanded immediate trial of the arrested rapists without any delay.
Protest Rally was held in Chittagong
A protest rally and gathering was held at the Cheragi Pahar intersection of Chittagong with the joint initiatives of Chittagong University Branch and Chittagong Metropolitan Branch of Pahari Chatra Parishad (Chittagong Hill Tracts Hill Student Council) and Pahari Shramik Kalyan Forum (Hill Workers Welfare Forum) at 3:00 pm on Sunday in protest against the rape of a mentally handicapped Jumma woman by the Bengali settlers at her home in the village of Balpeye Adam, adjacent to the Golabari Union Parishad office in Khagrachhari Sadar Upazila.
The welcoming remarks were made by Sukhi Kumar Tangchangya, Member of PCP of Chittagong University Branch while the procession was presided over by Rumen Chakma, Organizing Secretary of PCP of Chittagong University Branch and moderated by Hlamiu Marma, Member of PCP of CU branch.
Also expressing solidarity Rani Yen Yen, Adviser to the Chakma Circle Chief, Reng Young Mro, Member of the Central Committee of the PCP, Jagat Jyoti Chakma, Organizing Secretary of the Pahari Shramik Kalyan Forum, Manchunu Marma, Organizing Secretary of the Chittagong Metropolitan Branch of the Bangladesh Marma Students Council.
Speakers at the rally said that the trend of rape is increasing in different parts of Bangladesh due to lack of exemplary justice. As a result, indigenous Jumma women in the CHT and women in the plains are living in a culture of insecurity. They demanded that the rapists and oppressors should be brought under the law and exemplary punishment must be given to minimize these types of violence.
The speakers further said that despite the frequent heinous incidents in the CHT, the administration and the ruling section are not conducting a fair trial and the perpetrators are getting away after committing crimes again and again. As a result, the rate of rape and violence against indigenous women in the CHT is higher than anywhere else in Bangladesh. The speakers felt that it was important to implement the CHT Accord urgently to overcome the violence and land grabbing.
KF and BIWN Condemn and Demand Punishment
Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network and the Kapaeeng Foundation have strongly condemned the recent continuous violence and abuse against indigenous women and called for immediate arrest and punishment of the perpetrators.
In a press release signed by Pallab Chakma, Executive Director of Kapaeeng Foundation and Falguni Tripura, Coordinator of Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network on 27 September 2020, it is said that, some accused were arrested on 25 September in connection with the gang-rape of a mentally handicapped Chakma woman (26) by 9 Bengali settlers in Khagrachari, but the other accused have not been arrested yet.
Besides that, on 14 September 2020, an indigenous schoolgirl was raped by a policeman in Dighinala while on 19 September 2020, at 5.30 pm, a Manipuri woman (60) was physically abused by Umed Mia, a resident of Katabil village in Adampur union of Kamalganj police station in Moulvibazar district. Although the victim’s son filed a case with the Kamalganj police station, the accused has not been arrested yet.