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Insecurity grips young girls, women of ethnic minority

Young girls and women of the ethnic minority people of the villages at Langadu in Rangamati that came under arson attack by Bengali settlers on June 2 are now in fear of physical and sexual violence.
Some of those women and young girls, who returned to the villages after passing a week in deep forests in remote hill areas, said that they could now go out only if accompanied by males and they were sleeping in shelters at night as their homesteads were not still safe for them.
‘I have not brought my college-going daughter to the locality fearing physical and sexual violence,’ said schoolteacher Shushil Jiban Chakma, who took shelter at Bana Bihar temple.

Reshmi Chakma, 14, said she could not move across the roads fearing that Bengali boys might encounter her popping up from forest along the hilly roads.
Six anxious female ethnic minority students of Rangamati Government College were seen at Langadu Bana Bihar temple on June 8.
They said that they were going home at Baghaichari from Rangamati town, but took shelter in the midway at the temple fearing physical and sexual violence by Bengali boys.
They said that they needed a six-hour launch trip to reach Baghaichari from Rangamati and it was wise to take male companions for their security.
‘The situation is not good now,’ said Sucharita Chakma, one of the six college girls, who were later escorted home by security personnel on request from an ethnic minority leader.
Sixty-eight-year-old woman Kripalini Chakma said that the confidence of the ethnic community people was dashed by the June 2 arson attack that left a septuagenarian woman burnt to death and about 300 houses and shops of the ethnic minorities burnt.
‘If they [Bengali settlers] can set afire our homes, they can harm our girls,’ she said.
Local leaders of Parbattya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti, a regional political party of Chittagong Hill Tracts, said that most of the women, girls and children did not return home as they were easy victims of any violence.
PCJSS Langadu unit publicity secretary Milan Chakma said only some 100 males and 30 females of about 1,500 ethnic community people, who fled from the villages during the arson, returned to the locality so far and most of the victims were still in deep forests.
‘We are still in trauma and it will take time to rebuild our lives after such mayhem,’ he said.
Rangamati police, however, said that they were not aware of any such fear.
‘The situation is under our control and ethnic minority women have nothing to fear to move around,’ said Rangamati superintendent of police Syed Tariqul Hasan.
He said that four police outposts were set up at Langadu to ensure security.
Asked about why the six girls were escorted by security personnel if there was nothing to worry about security, he said, ‘We provide support if anyone feels insecure and seek our escort.’

source: newagebd

Insecurity grips young girls, women of ethnic minority

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