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Raid, torture and search in Belaichari

News No. 116/2008, June 25, 2008

Military personnel have tortured 3 Jummas and searched a house during a raid in Bangalkaba village under Belaichari Upazila of Rangamati district. The whole operation lasted for about 4 hours, between 6 to 10 a.m.

On 24 June, a group of military personnel led by Captain Tanvir from Merangchara camp raided the village of Bangalkaba. “Two half-masked JSS members were along with them”, a human rights activist quoted one of the victims as saying.

The soldiers interrogated three bazaar-bound Jummas about the whereabouts of the local activists of the United People’s Democratic Front and when they said they did not know anything about it, the infuriated army men beat them up. The torture victims are Ananda Talukder (20) s/o late Dhirendra Talukder, Toroi Chakma (26) s/o Bijoy Basanta Chakma and Dipak Chakma (20) s/o unknown.

The soldiers then broke into the house of Sonaram Tonchongya (25) s/o Sojit Tonchongya and searched it. No one was there in the house, as the family was away to their Jum field.

The army personnel also looked for Kalamon Chakma (45). But when they did not find him at home, they picked up his wife Kalapudi Chakma (40). However, they released her from a place near Belaichari bazaar on way to the camp.

The soldiers forayed into the tea shop of Dulal Tonchongya (28) s/o Kalendra Tonchongya, ate refreshments and walked away. Not a single penny was paid for this.

Villagers alleged that two JSS members were seen along with the army. “One of the victims told me that they could recognise the half-masked JSS members who boasted that they had found ally in the army. He also said that the JSS men had told the villagers that they would finish off the UPDF very soon”, the human rights activist told chtnews.com on condition that his named is not mentioned in the report for security reasons.

Over the last two years, the JSS has been routed from most of the areas it held for decades. Recently, it lost almost the whole of Belaichari area to the UPDF which has gained in popularity for the role it has played in the campaign against land grabbing in CHT. Since then, the JSS has been trying to regain the area. They have become so desperate that they had no qualm about finding ally in the military to oust their rival.

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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