The tribal militias have become unruly again in Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban districts. The tribal militants are unrestrainedly committing all criminal activities including extortion, kidnapping, assaulting woman, extortions and arms and drugs smuggling in the hill tracts. Besides Bengali, the tribal scoundrels victimized the member of all ethnic groups. Locals said members of armed wings of Jana Sanghati Samiti (JSS) and United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) have destabilized the entire hill tracts which has triggered joint resistance by locals.
The Member of Parliament from the CHT reserve seat Firoza Begum Chinu said people have to pay hefty ransom to the armed cadres of JSS and UPDF. “The tribal militants have heavy arms and ammunitions for that police afraid them, they only fear Army personnel”, she said. She also mentioned that she repeatedly urge the government to rescue them from extortionists and terrorists.
It is noted that the three districts compromise one-tenth of the country’s total territory which was once an example of racial harmony among 13 ethnic tribes. The CHT has huge opportunity to flourish tourism but exploration of tourism is facing huge impediments due to armed groups’ mayhem.
Aiming at restoring peace in CHT, on December 2, 1997 a peace accord was signed between the government and separatist group JSS which stipulated that the tribal groups would be recognized as ethnic groups. But the tribal groups demanded themselves indigenous people of the land. Though the successive governments have fulfilled majority articles of accord, the tribal groups have not give up their arms completely. The supposed to suspended arms tottering is still continue.
Local people and members of law enforcing agencies said the tribal terrorists are involved all sorts of criminal activities— extortion, kidnapping, assaulting the woman, extortions and arms and drugs smuggling. Not only Bengali and tribal people are dwelling become terrorized, but also members of law enforcing agencies very often kept mum fearing the trained armed militants. The government employees in the districts count time to get transfer order for the vicious lawlessness. The fear is so high among the policemen. They often avoid terrorists’ influencing areas.
While ruling party men established absolute control across the country except the three districts as they are helpless in CHT. Kiwchi Marma, the convener of Bandarban unit Jubo League, said if anyone goes against the terrorist’s interest he becomes a victim in the hand of the militia. He said the local Awami League leader and former Union Parishad member Babu Mongpu Marma was abducted on June 13 this year allegedly for his anti-terrorist stance. He is still untraced. Kiwchi said he was abducted three times over the recent years by the JSS terrorists but he is lucky enough.
Former Rajbhila Union Parishad chairman Koshi Aung Marma said that we are peace-loving people. We want peace but the terrorists want to destabilize the hills, they often kidnap and threaten people to kidnap for ransom. Convener of Bandarban Sadar Upazila Awami League Sanupru Marma, tribal leader Mesasing Marma, and Ami Pru Marma along with others said they are hostage to the terrorists. They want to live with peace and prosperity.
Thousands of Bengali and tribal victims protested the terror activities of JSS and UPDF militias in front of Bandarban Press Club on June 23. Speakers at the meeting said the tribal quota in different government services are enjoying by Chakma people only, means the other tribes remain deprived. They demand for proportional distribution of the quota jobs. Besides, the people asked for reopening the Golden Temple for tourists and visitors for accelerating tourism. The day before, Bengali youths arranged a rally in front of Rangamati Press Club for protesting the sexual harassment of a Chakma girl where speakers demanded speedy trial of the rapists.
How the prevailing situation is can be better understood all types of crimes committed in the area but people are afraid of filing case with the police stations. A Bengali national residing at Boangchari of Bandarban said a local PCP leader Kajol Tonjonchga attempted to abuse his wife on June 13, being refused the miscreant fled the scene taking away her gold ornaments. The belittled housewife said she is not so courageous to file case against the miscreant as if she does the PCP may kill her.
Taking the attempt to rape cognizance, Sadar union Chairman Chola Mong slapped the criminal in arbitration. Officer-in-charge of Bilaichari Police Station Monjurul Alam said crimes committed but nobody files case. He said in the first six months of the year only three cases were lodged while the number of case was six and two in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
Bilaichari Upazila unit ruling party vice president Aongchakhi Karbary, Upazila AL joint secretary Shakuia Marma, and Science and Technology Affairs Secretary Prohor Kanti Chakma told Parbttanews that the incident of extortions have been manifold now-a-days. Both the activists of JSS and UPDF are involved with the unyielding extortions. But in Bilaichari the UPDF is now waning. In the last UP elections, the JSS backed candidates won three out of the four unions.
The local politicians said the JSS militants possess firearms, so they are the defacto rulers in the area. Aongchakhai said, “We are living in jungle where police can’t give us protection.” It is mentionable that three cow traders were killed on April 15 by tribal terrorists in Lama of Bandarban. In this connection, police detained a terrorist with arm and ammunition. On June 13, Bandarban AL leader Mongpu Marma was kidnapped at gunpoint by allegedly JSS men. The victim family filed a case accusing 36 JSS men.
Earlier, a retired army man was called at by JSS men and he is still missing. Tribal militants torched a military vehicle after forcefully getting down the military personnel at Sajek of Rangamati. Meanwhile, army personnel recovered huge arms and ammunition after five terrorists killed in a gun battle with on August 15, 2015. In the same year, three miscreants were killed in a clash between JSS and UPDF militias. Army personnel time to time launch drives to recover arms and ammunitions.
In demand of full execution of the Peace Accord, JSS leader Santu Larma has recently called arms revolution in the districts that terrified people.