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Army search HWF leader’s house in Lakshmichari

20 Nov 05

Soldiers from the Army Zonal camp in Lakshmichari carried out a search operation in some houses in Lakshmichari including the house of Reena Dewan, president of Khagrachari District Unit of the Hill Women’s Federation.

The incident occurred on 20 November at around 10:30 p. m. after a group of army men raided their houses.

Hill Women’s Federation president Sonali Chakma in a statement issued to the press on 23 November condemned the military for searching the houses of HWF leader Reena Dewan and other innocent villagers. Terming the action of the army as a direct infringement on the fundamental rights of the victims, she said after the search Reena is now feeling insecurity.

She said the search was conducted to intimidate Reena Dewan, who is politically active and vocal against the misdeeds of some army commanders in Lakshmichari and elsewhere in the CHT.

Sonali Chakma further alleged that the Lakshmichari army also searched and ransacked the house of Ms Joya Chakma, another HWF activist, a few days back.

The recent search came 50 days after the torture of three Jumma women, including a HWF activist, in Babuchara of Dighinala under Khagrachari District.

This torture incident had attracted media attention when the victims on 8 October held a press conference in Dhaka. Narrating the incident they said, on 1 October 2005 a group of army men numbering 10/12 led by Major Moinuddhin, commander of Babuchara army camp, raided Moggya Karbari Para in the name of searching for firearms. The army beat up Mrs. Sufia Chakma after she said did not possess any arms.

The following day, the army came again and tortured Kolika Chakma, wife of UPDF activist Sugata Chakma, and Rupali Chakma, convenor of HWF Dighinala unit.

Sonali Chakma demanded the government put a stop to the repression and harassment of the members of her organisation. If anything untoward happens to Reena Dewan or if she is harmed in any way, then the Lakshmichari army will be held responsible for this, she warned.

The much publicized so-called peace accord will be eight years old tomorrow. The accord was signed by Jana Samhati Samiti and the then Awami League government on 2 December 1997. After eight years, peace is still as elusive as ever. The CHT still remains heavily militarized and the army is accused of widespread violations of human rights in the area. Like the women in any other militarized zones of the world, the Jumma women are the most vulnerable. They have to live in constant fear and anxiety.

Source: UPDF

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