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Military harassment continues in Naniachar

HR Monitoring Cell, UPDF, January 13, 2007

Army harassment of innocent Jummas in Naniachar of Rangamati district has reached its limits.

On 3 January 2007 army men led by Lt. Col. Abdul Wadud set up check posts at a number of entry points to Naniachar bazaar and searched the body, bags and baskets of every Jumma who passed them.

The check posts were set up at Saw Mil, Lunch Ghat, Jatri Chauni of Upazilla Sadar, High School ground, Naniachar College, Ratnangkur Buddhist Temple, T&T area and the first sentry post at army zonal camp.

The day was market day. The soldiers halted all the market-bound Jummas at those entry points from 6 in the morning and made them waiting till 2 p.m. so that they could not sell their merchandises. As a result the Jummas suffered financial losses. Many could not buy rice, the staple food of the Jummas, and other necessities for want of hard cash which they could have earned after selling their own goods. This meant that the whole family was forced to starve. Some of the goods were perishable and no compensation was given for the damage caused to them.

The Jumma women’s bodies were searched in objectionable manner and sexually suggestive comments were passed.

At High School check post a Jumma youth had the courage to ask the soldiers why they were being searched and kept waiting for hours. He did not know that asking questions is an offence under Army pocket law book which might lead to serious troubles. Mr. Moni Swapan Chakma (30) s/o Anil Kanto Chakma of village Noadam was punished for asking the question by stripping his pants and detaining him until sun set. The soldiers also gave him corporeal punishment.

CHT NEWS NO. 11/2007. Prepared by Human Rights Monitoring Cell, United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF). January 13, 2007. Website: www.updfcht.org

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