Massive arson attacks on indigenous peoples in Longadu

Over 300 houses gutted, 1 woman killed, 3 missing

On 2 June 2017 massive arson attacks of Bengali settlers in the Tintilla and Manikjurchara area of Longadu upazila under Rangamatileft at least 300 houses of indigenous peoples completely gutted. Hundreds of indigenous families turned destitute as a result of these attacks.

Tension spread in Longaduas the previous day (1 June) the body of a motorcycle driver named Nurul Islam Nayan was found near Khagrachari-Dighinala road and his body was taken to his village in Longadu to organise protests alleging that indigenous peoples were responsible for this death.

On 2 June at around 9:00 am, the settler Bengalis of Longadu brought out a rallycarrying the body of Nurul Islam Nayan from Batya Para area of Longadu upazila.As the rally reached Tintilla area at 10:00 am, the Bengali settlers of the rally set the houses and shops of indigenous peoples and Multipurpose Community Centre and the office of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) ablaze without any prior incitement. At the same time, they also looted the valuables of indigenous peoplesand made attacks on them. Although the members of security forces and police were present there, the Bengali settlers made it to burn over 200 houses of indigenous peoples in Tintialla area to ashes. Shortly, the Bengali settlers went ahead to make attacks on nearby Manikjorchara area and torched the houses of indigenous peoples. This attack left at least 40 houses of indigenous peoples completely gutted.

At around 12:00 pm, the local administration declared Section 144 (unlawful assembly). However, by then declaration became of no use as attacks continued until 2:00 pm and 40 houses of indigenous peoples in Batya Para area and 40houses of Boradam too were burnt to ashes.

Table: Affected indigenous houses in Longadu arson attacks

Name of affected village/locality No. of houses burned
Tiltilla (including Kathaltala) 200
Manikjurchara 40
Batya Para 40
Boradam 40

An indigenous woman named Gunamala Chakma, 70, was allegedly burnt to death during the attacks. 3 persons remained missing up to this writing. Hundreds of victim indigenous peoples fled to nearby Jungles and villages for their safety.Now they are passing their days in a very deplorable state under the open sky especially because the rainy season has just started.

Reportedly, the local indigenous peoples of Longadu came to know about the protest rally of the settlers on the night before and informed Longadu Military Zone, Longadu Police Station and local public representatives about their insecurity. The 2IC of Longadu Zone Major Rafique informed the indigenous peoples including Pulin Mitra Chakma, Chairman of Longadu union and headman of mouza, that it is a democratic right of he settlers to stage rally peacefully and assured them that they would not let anything unexpected happen. However, indigenous peoples claimed that the arson attacks made on indigenous peoples were in the presence of Lt. Col. Abdul Halim Chowdhury PSC, 2IC Major Rafique and OC of Longadu police station Maminul Islam.

In the afternoon, a probe body headed by Upazila Project Officer Jahangir Hossain was formed. The probe body composed of senior officials of the local administration and law enforcing agencies would reportedly prepare a list of affected people, intensify patrol and make attempts to arrest the perpetrators.

The Deputy Commissioner (DC) and Superintendent of Police (SP) of Rangamati district visited the affected areas and promised to build houses for the victims. A case was filed with Longadu police station in connection to the incident.

Published on June 3, 2017