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DC meeting allows 25 Jan religious gathering

News No. 07/2008, January 23, 2008

The Deputy Commissioner of Khagrachari has decided to allow the organisers to hold the January 25 religious gathering at Sarnath Arannyo Kuthir in Mahalchari of the district.

The decision was made at a meeting between officials of the district administration – both civil and military – and the Jumma organisers. It was also attended, among others, by Rev. Sumaanlankar Mahathero, Ananta Bihari Khisha, Sudha Sindu Khisha, Satyojit Chakma, chairman of Karalyachari Union and Chanchu Moni Chakma.

From administration side, all but the Khagrachari Brigade Commander were present.

Although the decision represents a victory for the Jumma organisers – as they had to wage a long and hard battle even at the meeting to force the administration to concede to their just demands, the permission has come with a caveat.

The organisers had to agree that they would hold the gathering at an open space near Sarnath Arannyo Kuthir, instead of the ground prepared by the villagers by leveling it and that the motor-bike rally planned by them would be cancelled.

The meeting began at 3 p.m. and ended at about 6:30 p.m.

Military operation in Naniachar

One of our sources in Rangamati said the military today raided the village of Gorjontoli in Burighat under Naniachar Thana of the district.

The soldiers beat up at least one innocent Jumma villager and arrested two others. The identity of the victims could not be known.

The condition of the torture victim has been stated to be critical.

The army raid followed alleged disappearance of a settler from Gorhed of Burighat 2/3 days back. The settler has remained untraced since then.

The army is using the incident to mount aggressive attack on the Jummas. They were accompanied by some settlers during today’s raid.

The distance between the village they have raided today and Gorhed, from where the settler was alleged to have disappeared is about 5 kilometers.

Tensions had been brewing in Burighat area for the last few months. The settlers in the area have already grabbed 25 acres of land belonging to the Jumma villagers (see News No. 2). They have been making further attempts to grab more.

The government administration is reluctant to stop such unlawful acts of the settlers, while the army often takes direct part in them.


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