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Fresh tensions in Sajek as settlers build houses on Jumma’s land

News No. 118/2008, June 27, 2008

There have been reports of fresh tensions in Sajek, the scene of the 20 April deadly arson attack, as the settlers have begun building houses on lands belonging to the Jumma people.

Sources said on 24 June, Tuesday, about 2 pm, Md. Helal (23) began building a house on the lands of Mongol Sen Chakma (45) in Purbopara village. Helal’s father and mother were assisting him in the work.

When Mongol Sen Chakma’s wife, Mrs. Poran Sona Chakma (38) protested, a heated altercation ensued between them. In the face of the protest the settlers stopped work and left.

However, a few minutes later they came back with more fellow settlers – among whom was “butcher” Shah Alam – and chased Poran Sona Chakma away. The settlers were armed with dao and other sharp weapons.

On 26 June, a group of military personnel from Baghaihat zone surrounded the house of Poran Sona Chakma and searched for her husband Mongol Sen Chakma. He was not available at home at the time.

Sources said while the army personnel continue to intimidate the Jummas with arrests and house searches, the settlers keep on building new houses on the lands of the Jumma villagers. “They (the settlers) have already built a number of houses in Purbopara in the last few days” said a resident of Sajek, adding that the situation was tense.

He further said that more settlers had been brought in from Marishya, and that there was growing fear among the Jummas that another attack was being planned.

On 20 April, the illegal settlers, backed by a strong contingent of army personnel, launched an attack on four Jumma villages in Sajek and burnt 77 houses, a church and two Unicef-run schools to ashes.

There have been protests and condemnation against the attack, and national human rights organisations demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident. They sent their own inquiry teams into the area, held press conferences and published reports on the incident.

Yet, the government has failed to bring those responsible to justice. Not a single settler has so far been arrested in connection with the incident.

chtnews.com is an independent and voluntary online news service dedicated to projecting and analyzing the current events in the Chittagong Hill Tracts from the perspective of the Jumma people’s struggle for right to self-determination. For further information please contact at: chtnewsonline@gmail.com

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