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UPDF rejects army version of Sajek incident

21 February 2010

The United Peoples Democratic Front has rejected the military version of the Sajek incident, a press release says.
Terming the incident as “a preplanned and cold blooded massacre”, UPDF leader Shanti Dev Chakma demanded that those responsible for the death of innocent men and women must be brought to justice.

Khagrachari Region commander General M. M. Saleheen yesterday said, “The army fired three blank shots in self defense after the terrorists had fired on them. I do not know who fired the rest of the shots.”

UPDF leader termed this statement of General Saleheen as “a travesty of truth and self-contradictory.”
He said the army had not only fired into the crowd of the Jumma people but also entered sJumma villages while firing on the unarmed villagers and set their houses ablaze.
“It is an undisputable truth that the only armed persons present at the place of occurrence are the members of the military and the police.” he said. “Therefore, there is no question of firing by any other person than these armed personnel themselves.”
He also commented as “farce” the news that a wounded soldier was airlifted to Combined Military Hospital in Chittagong.
On General Saleheen’s allegation that the Jumma residents of Sajek are campaigning for their rights under the leadership of the UPDF, Shanti Dev said, “the Sajek people settled in the area after they had been displaced by military repression. They reclaimed lands and created gardens there. However, during the rule of emergency (proclaimed in
January 2007) the army and settlers began to take these lands away from them. When the Jummas tried to protest, they were victimized. Hundreds of their houses were burnt down and Ladu Moni Chakma was killed in the most brutal fashion.
“The Awami League came to power but incidents of repression and land grabbing have not stopped. Thus the people of Sajek were left with no other alternative than to fight back. They organised themselves under two organisations namely “Committee for Protection of Land in Sajek” and “Sajek Women Committee.
“Definitely, we support their just rights and movement. However, they themselves decide their own strategies and programmes and UPDF has nothing to do with it.”
Mr. Chakma accused the army of making an attempt to cover up the incident by spreading falsehood.
He also condemned an attack on two journalists from “Samakal” and “Prothom Alo” who tried to visit the place of occurrence yesterday.
The settlers barred them from entering the area and burnt down the motorbike of Samakal correspondent.
Mr. Chakma demanded an impartial and fair inquiry into the Sajek attack, proper treatment of the wounded people and adequate compensation for the victims.
He also demanded that the government reconstruct the church and the Buddhist temple burnt down during the attack.
He also called for the release of seven innocent villagers still under police custody. The detained villagers have been identified as Debendra Chakma (50) of Langolmara village, Reben Chakma (17) of Gulongmachara village, Liton Chakma (28) of Gangaram Mukh, Nagor Prashad Chakma (50) of Betagichara village, Dhana Sindhu Chakma (28)
of Jhagrabil village, Battya Chakma (19) of Tin Dojor village and Bharat Joti Chakma (22) of Hajachara village.
According to him, seven people are still missing. They are Rupen Chakma (18) son of Bindu Chakma, Rupon Chakma (16) son of Sneha Kumar Chakma and Battya Chakma (18) and four persons from Gangaram Doar.

Source: chtonline

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