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Torture victim Niranjan Chakma cremated

News No. 126/2008, July 11, 2008

Niranjan Chakma, who was tortured to death in army custody on 7 July in Digholchari zone, was cremated yesterday as per religious and social customs of the Chakma people.

Mr. Chakma was picked up from his home in the village of Nareychari under Kangarachari Union by a group of army personnel led by a Warrant officer from Merangchara army camp. He was taken to the camp and tortured badly, resulting in his tragic death.

His dead body was returned to his family members on 9 July.

The identity of the Warrant Officer (previous designation was Subedar) responsible for his arrest could not be known. The Digholchari zone is commanded by Lt. Col. Sayed Md. Assaduzzaman and his second-in-command, Fakruddin.

Merangchara army camp is a base camp under Digholchari zone.

Nareychari village lies in Belaichari Upazila and is accessible only by foot at this time of the year when the water level of the Kaptai Lake reaches its lowest. At other times, the village can be reached comparatively with ease.

Hill Watch Human Rights Forum tried to interview the family members of the Niranjan Chakma at Kaptai, a town bordering Chittagong, as stepped up army operations have made a visit to the remote village highly risky.

But his family members refused to come for the interview, fearing reprisals from the army.

“They are scared out of their wits. They won’t speak about the incident. They fear that any kind of interfview will put their security at stake.” told one of messengers whom the HWHRF sent to contact the victim’s family for the interview.

A member of the HWHRF told chtnews.com quoting their messengers that the dead body was cremated yesterday (10 July) and that the bones and ashes of the burned body were to be thrown out into the water early in the morning today according to their social customs.

It was not known whether post mortem was conducted before cremation.

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