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Bangladesh: More Attacks by Army Upon Ethnic Non-Muslims

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October 09, 2005

Bangladesh: More Attacks by Army Upon Ethnic Non-Muslims

The Chittagong Hill Tracts lie in the region of Chittagong, southeast Bangladesh, near the Burma (Myanmar) border. When India became independent in 1947, only 9% of the population was not indigenous. Recently, waves of Bangladeshi Muslim immigration mean that the original inhabitants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) now comprise only 50% of the local population today. There are various indigenous peoples in the region, of which the largest groups are the Chakma, the Marma and Tripura. Collectively they are known as “Jummah”. Most are Buddhist.

In a report from the Daily Star today, the Hill Women’s Federation have demanded an enquiry into attacks upon ethnic peoples by members of the Bangladeshi army, led by one army major. The federation alleged that the soldiers attacked several ethnic families and assaulted the womenfolk, on October 2.

The house of Rupali Vhakma, of the Hill women’s Federation was attacked, and she was beaten, being accused of keeping weapons.

They also beat two other women named Kalika Chakma and Sufiya Chakma and threatened to abduct Kalika’s minor girl Muktamoni, it claimed.The army persons also dug out the floor of their houses in search of arms.

The army has denied the actions. In a written statement at the press conference, federation President Sonali Chakma said the repression on women in CHT is nothing new and “the army always tries to suppress its evil activities”.In 1986, many of the local people were attacked by the Bangladeshi army and Muslim settlers. For a history of the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the indigenous people, read here and here.

Morenews.jpgPosted by Giraldus Cambrensis at October 9, 2005 02:17 PM



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