Two indigenous people killed, six women and girls subjected to sexual violence and two massive communal attacks on indigenous peoples take place in January 2015

Throughout the month of January 2015, two indigenous people including a woman were stabbed to death. The woman was allegedlykilled after rape or an attempt to rape her.Sixindigenous women and girls were subjected to sexual violence across the country. Among them, five victims including a 7-year old girl were raped and another one was attempted to be rape. In an incident, mother and daughter together were gang raped.

Besides, two massive communal attacks on indigenous peoples was taken place in January 2015. In these attacks, around 28 houses of indigenous peoples were burnt to ashes and at least 70 houses were vandalised and looted. In addition, 20 indigenous people were wounded and 19 indigenous villagers were arrested by the police. In addition, a number of land grabbing incidents were taken place in this month.

Killing of indigenous student and woman:

On 9 January 2015 Bablu Hembrom, 25, an indigenous student of Rajshahi Government College, was brutally hacked to death in Tanore under Rajshahi district.A case was filed by Mohesh Hembrom, father of the deceased. However, police did not arrest any culprit.

On 30 January 2015, an indigenous Khasi girl named Monalisa Nongprot, 18, daughter of late John Potham, from Gandhai Punji under Baralekha upazilla of Moulvibazar district was found dead in the Gandhai Punji areas.It is alleged that she was stabbed to death by miscreant(s). Lean Nongkrot, maternal uncle of the victim, filed a case with Borolekha police station. However, police is yet to trace and take actions against the perpetrators.

Violence against indigenous women:

On 6 January 2014 an indigenous Bagdi women along with her daughter was gang raped beside of their own home at Brittidanga village of Sarisha Union under Pangsha upazilla in Rajbari district. The perpetrators were identified as Safin Sheikh, younger brother of acting Union Parishad (UP) member Sohrab Hossain, Oli Sarder, 28, Saddam, 22, and Ziarul. The victims have filed a case (no 3, date 10/01/2015, under section 7/9(3)/30) against the perpetrators named Safin Sheikh (25) and other 4 person with Pangsha police station. Police arrested the main accused Safin Sheikh and they are trying to arrest the rest of the culprits. After filing the case, the perpetrators are giving death threats to the victims for withdrawing the case.

On 14 January 2015 a 7-year-old Marma girl studying in grade II at Kashkhali Primary School was allegedly raped by a Bengali settler named Ayub Ali, 45, son of Khondoker Sururj Mia of Kashkhali village under Kaukhali upazilla in Rangamati district. Police held alleged perpetrator after identified by the victim herself.The doctors in Rangamati General Hospital further referred the victim to Chittagong Medical College Hospital for her better treatment.On 15 January at around 2:00 pm the victim underwent a successful operation.

On 27 January 2014 a 16-year Jumma girl was attempted to rape by construction labourer named Md. Habib at Sapmara under Matiranga upazila in Khagrachari district. The perpetration was caught red handed while trying to rape the girl. In a local arbitration,negotiation was taken to fine Md. Habib with BDT 10,000 and to quit him from Khagrachari district.

On 28 January 2015, a 20-years-old indigenous Marma girl with disability was allegedly raped at Pankhaya Para under Khagrachari sadar in Khagrachari district by a miscreant named Deba Bikash Barua, from Mahalchari upazila under Khagrachari district. A case (Case no. 09, dated 28/01/2015) has been filed under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act at Khagrachari sadar police station. Locals caught and handed the perpetrator over to the police. Victim was admitted to Khagrachari sadar hospital for her treatment.

On 28 January 2015 at around 12:00 am, an indigenous Bawm girl, 16, was allegedly raped by a Bengali settler named Salahuddin Bappi, 23, at No. 1 Ghat areas under Ruma upazila under Bandarban district. Victim was rescued at around 1:00 am by the locals. Locals also caught and handed over the perpetrator to the police. Victim was admitted to the Bandarban General Hospital for medical examinations. Lianthan Bawm, father of the victim, filed a case with under Women and Child Repression Prevention Act.

Communal attack:

On 10 January 2015, inauguration of Rangamati Medical College ignoring mass disapproval sparked fresh conflicts throughout the Rangamati town. In a stage, the conflicts turned into Jumma-Bengali communal clashes for 10-11 January 2015. In this violence, at least 30 persons including more than 20 Jummas were injured on 10 January and at least 7 Jummas sustained injuries and three houses including two houses belonging to indigenous Jummas were burnt to ashes.

On 24 January 2014 an indigenous Santal village named Chirkuta (Habibpur) under Mostafapur union of Parbotipur upazila in Dinajpur district went under attack allegedly by a group of Bengali land grabbers. The land grabbers looted and vandalized all the houses and belongings of indigenous peoples, leaving all indigenous families literally destitute.

Earlier in December 2014, two communal attacks were taken place. In Bogochari-Naniarchar attack on 16 Deceember, 57 houses were set on fire andin Basanya Adam attack in Longadu upazila on 12 December, 54 Jumma people were physically assaulted.

Land grabbing:

Recently, an influential local leader of ruling party named Liakat Ali allegedly grabbed land belonging to Chhamin Khasia, daughter of of Mokam Punji under Jaintiapur upazila in Sylhet district. Also, there are allegations that Liakat Ali has been continuously intimidating and harassing indigenous villagers of Mokam Punji in this connection.

It is learnt that on 4 January 2015 in the morning, as per direction of Liakat Ali, the General Secretary of Awami League, Jaintiapur upazila unit, a gang of land grabbers composed of nine persons chopped down nearly a hundred betel nut trees of paan jum (betel leaf garden), traditionally the main source of livelihood of indigenous Khasi people, a traditional source of livelihood, of Khasi villagers of Mokam Puni with the intention to grab nearly four acres of the land of Chhamin Khasia. The next day, on 5 January, the same land grabber gang brought around 20-25 trucks of rocks and dumped the paan jum as per Liakat’s direction. While doing so, the miscreants dumped the rocks on the lands of nine indigenous Khasi families living near the vicinity of the paan jum. When indigenous peoples tried to obstruct and remove some rocks from there, they were threatened to be slayed by the gang of Liakat (Please click here for detailed report).

In Joypurhat district, a group of land grabbers namely Md. Solaiman Ali, Montu, Sadek Ali and Md. Azad have been trying to occupy homesteads of 7 families of Munda (Pahan) communities at West Shiyan Para under Akkelpur in Joypurhat district. The land grabbers filed a case against the indigenous families with Akkelpur police station. With an aim to harassindigenous families, the policealso charged Madhab Pahan s/o Ghataru Pahan for steeling cell phone set from him on 19 January.Now, the Munda families are passing days with insecurity.