An indigenous adolescent killed allegedly by forest guards in Kaptai

On 7 April 2012 an indigenous adolescent named Ula Mong Marma (14) son of Thui Mra Chai Marma of village- Aga Para of Chitmorom union under Kaptai upazila of Rangamati Hill District was allegedly killed by hitting on the head by forest guards of Karnophuli forest range of forest department.

Dr. Mong Kyaw Ching Marma, acting Residential Medical Officer (RMO) of Rangamati General Hospital said that Ula Mong Marma had died due to hit on his head. Blood was shedding through his nose and mouth (10 April 2012, daily Prothom Alo).

Local sources said that on that day at noon Ula Mong Marma with his three friends went to nearby reserved forest under Karnophuli reserved forest to collect fire wood for domestic use. At about 3.00 pm a group of forest guards of forest department chased Ula Mong and his friends. Though the friends of deceased could narrowly escape, but Ula Mong was caught by the forest guards. As Ula Mong did not return home till evening, his friends informed to chairman of Chitmorom union Mr. Thowai Ching Marma about the matter. After that, though he was searched in the forest at night by the local people, but they failed to trace out the victim. The next day on 8 April 2012 at about 9:00 am the local people recovered dead body of Ula Mong covered with bush and leafs at that reserved forest.

Being informed Chairman Thoai Ching Marma visited the spot and then, he and villagers informed the local police. Later, police recovered the dead body.

Karnophuli range officer Mamunur Rashid declined to involve any forest staff with this incident. However, local villagers confirmed that a group of forest guards led by beat officer Md. Abdul Rahman was patrolling at that area of the reserved forest on that day.

It is learnt that on 10 April 2012 a case was filed with the Chandraghona police station in this connection. But till preparing the report, none was arrested.

It is worth mentioning that several unlawful killings were committed allegedly by the forest department staff at Karnaphuli reserved forest area. For instances-

On 13 September 2005 an innocent villager named Mr. Uching Nue Marma (22) s/o Mong Chinghla Marma was shot dead by the forest guards led by Md. Saidur Rahman, Assistant Forest Conservator and Mr. Habibur Rahman of Karnaphuli forest post. The victim was caught by the forest guards while he entered the jungle for finding out his cows. He was first tortured and then shot death by the forest guards. The forest guards ran away when the villagers rushed in the jungle hearing firing. The dead body of the victim was found on next day in the jungle (14 September). The victim’s father Mr. Mong Chinghla Marma lodged case in connection with the killing against 6 forest staff with Kaptai police station. Though Mr. Mong Chinghla Marma filed case, but he himself is a forest guard of the forest department. That is why, for the sake of his job, he came up in a compromise with his boss and colleagues.

On 30 January 2000 the DFO of the South Forest Division and the Forster of Faruya Forest Office along with armed Forest Guards destroyed dozens of Jumma’s houses in Faruya area under Belaichari upazila in Rangamati district. They fired upon the village Karbari’s (village head) house. As a result, dozens of families have become homeless and uprooted from their ancestral homesteads.

On 7 March 2000 one innocent Jumma named Hriday Tanchangya of Kaptai upazila under Rangamati district while cutting Jum in his lands received bullet injury in his leg from the gun firing of the forest guard led by DFO (South Division) Mr. Tapan Kanti Dey.

On 26 January 2000 the DFO (Divisional Forest Officer) arrested two Jumma villagers from Bengchari area of Kaptai upazila falsely alleging for cutting of forest product. They were severely beaten up by the forest guards and handed over to the Kaptai police station. The allegation was fully baseless. The victims were identified as Mr. Gangjak Marma (40) s/o Yongto Marma and Mr. Thowang Ching Marma (45) s/o Mong Sa Marma.

On 18 January 1999 the two innocent Jummas were shot dead near Chowdhurychara forest post of Karnophuli range under Kaptai upazila in Rangamati district by a group of forest guard led by the Assistant Conservator of Forest Mr. Mamunur Rashid and Divisional Forest Officer Mr. Tapan Kanti Dey and forest guard Mr. Mamunur. The dead bodies were not handed over to their relatives. The victims were identified as Mr. Pening Mong Marma (27) of Bajjya Tali under Kaptai upazila and Mr. Mong Prue Marma of village Bajjya Tali under Kaptai upazila.