2.5
March 6, 2010

Buddhist Massacre in Bangladesh

Details of Massacre and Human Rights Violations Here

Update ~ Team promises “exemplary punishment” for recent violence: via Daily Star

A parliamentary body on Saturday assured the victims of the recent violence in Rangamati and Khagrachhari that the people having ties to the killings and arson attacks must face exemplary punishment.

The assurance came during the visit of the parliamentary standing committee on Chittagong Hill Tracts to Gangaram Mukh village.  The five-member team had separate meetings with indigenous people and Bangalee settlers in the village where a deadly violence broke out last month.

Mohammad Shah Alam, MP, and chairman of the parliamentary body, led the visit, reports our Rangamati correspondent. Four other members of the team are ABM Fazle Karim Chowdhury, MP, Ethin Rakhain, Gias Uddin Ahmad and Jatindra Lal Tripura.

The committee left Gangaram Mukh for Khagrachhari to visit the district headquarters and adjacent areas where violence prompted the authorities to impose curfew.

The team that earlier in the morning travelled to Chittagong from Dhaka by a helicopter is due to hold a meeting with local civil society leaders including journalists at Khagrachhari circuit house to exchange views in the afternoon, reports our Khagrachhari correspondent.

The rest five members of the committee who were also scheduled to go with the team are Mohammad Abdur Rahman Badi of Cox’s Bazar, KM Khalid of Mymensingh, Dipankar Talukder of Rangamati, Bir Bahadur of Bandarban and BNP lawmaker Barrister Moudud Ahmed.

At least two ethnic people were killed in an open fire by security personnel during February 19 Bagaihat clash in Rangamati while another Bangalee man was killed in clash between Bangalee and ethnic people on February 23. At least 550 houses were burnt to ashes in the two places of CHT during the violence

Thanks to the Angry Asian Buddhist for bringing this to our attention:

I’m not using the term “massacre” glibly. You can get an idea of the situation from a few of the news headlines I was able to pull from Google News:

  • Chittagong Hill Tracts: Massive Communal Attack on Jumma Villages (UNPO)
  • 15 hurt as ethnic violence continues in Bangladesh (Thaindian News)
  • Fresh violence erupts in Bangladesh tribal region (Reuters India)
  • New clashes in Bangladesh tribal area (AFP)
  • Army deployed in tense Bangladesh tribal region (BBC News)
  • Bangladesh Deploys Troops to Stop Ethnic Clashes (VOANews)
  • Bangladesh Reimposes Night-Time Curfew In Southeast Town (RTTNews)
  • Ethnic violence continues in Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill tracts (The Times of India)
  • Human Rights Abuse against Indigenous People in Bangladesh (The Buddhist Channel)

The single post that I could find from the Buddhist blogosphere was on Ajahn Sujato’s blog, Bangladesh Buddhists under attack.

Recent events in the Chittagong Hill Tracts deal with Bangladeshi Buddhists who by and large are not ethnically Bengali—although there are many Bengali Buddhists in Bangladesh too. Collectively called Jumma, these tribes are culturally and linguistically different, the plurality (if not majority) of whom are Buddhist. You can learn more about this situation at the links below.

From The Buddhist Channel:

On February 19-20, 2010, members of the Bangladesh army and illegal Bengali settlers attacked fourteen villages of the indigenous Jumma people in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) in Bangladesh. In these pre-planned attacks, at least 200 houses, seven shops, a UNDP-sponsored village center, Buddhist temples, and a church were burned to the ground.

After the settlers began torching the buildings, the army opened fire, killing at least six Jumma villagers and injuring at least twenty-five. Many others are missing.

To add insult to injury, six injured Jumma villagers who were admitted to Baghaichari hospital were arrested. The army claims that the attacks were actually a clash between ethnic groups, that the soldiers fired only blanks, and that the fires were set by the villagers themselves. All of these claims are patently false. Six villagers were killed, the villagers would not destroy their own homes, and no settlers were injured.

Because of the attacks, about 1,500 Jummas, whose houses were burned, are still taking refuge in the jungle. Since their food supplies were also destroyed, they are close to starvation, but no relief has been provided.

In order to prevent the truth from coming out, curfew has been imposed in the district. The Bangladesh army personnel have prevented journalists and human rights activists from visiting the affected areas. On February 20, two journalists from Bengali newspapers tried to enter the villages, but they were attacked by the illegal settlers, and one reporter’s motorcycle was burned.

These latest attacks are part of a drive by Bengalis, backed by the Bangladesh Army, to take over land owned by the indigenous Jumma people, which has been going on since 2005. The villagers have repeatedly lodged complaints, but nothing has been done to stop the illegal settlers.

For a full report of the attacks, and the background of the struggle, please see the Asian Human Rights Commission report “Bangladesh IPs Massacred for Land Grab” at http://www.achrweb.org/reports/bangla/CHT012010.pdf.

Please send brief, politely-worded letters urging justice and protection for the persecuted Jumma villagers of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.

Please ask that their lives and homes be protected and that their rights ensured.

Send your letters to:

H.E. Mrs. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Office of the Prime Minister
Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh
email: [email protected]
[email protected]
psec[email protected]

Ms. Renata Lok Dessallien
UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh
email: [email protected]

Ms. Navanethem Pillay
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Human Rights Council and Treaties Division
Complaint Procedure
OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
email: [email protected]

High Commission of Bangladesh in Sri Lanka
286 Bauddhaloka Mawatha
Colombo 7, Sri Lanka
email: [email protected]

Embassy of Bangladesh in the United States
3510 International Drive, NW D.C. 20008
Washington DC, United States
email: [email protected]

High Commission of Bangladesh in the United Kingdom
28 Queen’s Gate,
London SW7 5JA, United Kingdom
email: [email protected]

 

Cheers,
John
www.zendirtzendust.com

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