HR violation by Bangladesh military in CHT

On November 8, 2004, Monday, a group of army men numbering about 100 raided Jagapara village under Chengi Union in Panchari Upazial of Khagrachari district. They searched and ransacked houses, and beat up fourteen innocent villagers. The army men also looted away valuables including a number of valuable books and documents from the house of Anil Chandra Chakma.

Assistant zone commander Modasser Ali, Major Ziad, Captain Taslim and Lieutenant Salauddin from Panchari Zone led the attack, which took pace at 5\\'O clock in the morning.

The village is situated about 8 kilometer northeast of Panchari Upazila headquarter, near Indian border.

The names of those who have been tortured are Anil Chandra Chakma (s/o Juronnya Chakma), member of Union Parishad, Shanti Priyo Chakma (20) s/o late Bichchingya Chakma, Durgo Dhan Chakma (18) s/o Jappo Ali Chakma, Morot Chaw Chakma (25) s/o Habi Ranjan Chakma, Jibon Chakma (16) s/o Bombha Chakma, Datara Chakma (45) s/o Mera Chakma, Bandajya Chakma (28) s/o late Rangu Mani Chakma, Satyo Mani Chakma (25) Auri Dev Chakma, Sadhan Chandra Chakma (40) Gyanendra Chakma, Gama Chakma (50) s/o late Tirtho Kumar Chakma, Dhaneshwar Chakma (24) s/o Ramani Kumar Chakma, Apon Dulal Chakma (40) s/o Pari Mohan Chakma, Gulpeda Chakma (25) s/o Seba Brata Chakma and Bindu Kumar Chakma (30) s/o Phul Kamal Chakma.

In a statement issued to the press today, November 9, Convenor of the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF) Prasit Bikash Khisha condemned the torture and harassment of the innocent villagers and said, \\"even after 7 years of the signing of the CHT accord, there is no peace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and military repression still continues unabated\\". He further said the Chittagong Hill Tracts region is still under virtual military rule.

Mr. Khisha demanded legal actions against the army officers involved in the raid and torture of the innocent villagers of Jagapara.

The reason for raiding the border hamlet could well be that the villagers are staunch supporters of the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF), the political party of the Jumma people campaigning for Full Autonomy for the Chittagong Hill Tracts region.

Some public representatives in Panchari, who preferred to be anonymous, said that they suspect the local leaders of Jana Samhati Samiti might have prodded the army to go for the operation to arrest the members of the UPDF.

The suspicion about the JSS involvement is not totally unfounded. On many occasions the armed members of the Jana Samhati Samiti mingled with the army during search operations. They provide information about the UPDF members and bribed the army to get the UPDF members arrested.

The Jana Samhati Samiti (JSS) cut a peace deal with the government of Bangladesh in 1997 ending two decades of armed struggle. Its top leaders are now enjoying perks and privileges of the government.

(Submitted by by Human Rights Monitoring Cell of the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF). November 9, 2004. )