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Authorities fail to trace Kalpana Chakma in 22 years

  • Published at 10:48 pm June 11th, 2018
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Speakers at a program arranged in remembrance of of Kalplana Chakma, at Dhaka’s National Museum auditorium on Monday; June 11, 2018 Dhaka Tribune

‘22 years after Kalpana’s abduction, all of us are assuming that she may be no more. But at least the government could find her grave or place where she may have been cremated’

The government has failed to find the whereabouts of Kalpana Chakma, even 22 years after her disappearance.

Speakers at a program on Monday have blamed the government for not making any breakthrough in the abduction of Hill Women’s Federation Leader Kalpana Chakma.

Besides, four indigenous youths who were killed at a protest following her abduction, got no justice either.

Human rights activists and indigenous leaders of the country arranged the discussion program in remembrance of Kalplana Chakma, in Dhaka’s National Museum auditorium.

Speakers at the program also pointed out that several cases including the sexual harassment of two Marma girls recently got no traction and these all reflect that government has failed to address issues related to indigenous people.

At the program, former advisor to the Caretaker Government and Co-chair of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Commission Sultana Kamal said: “22 years after Kalpana’s abduction, all of us are assuming that she may be no more. But at least the government could trace her grave or place where she may have been cremated.”

General Secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum (BAF) Sanjeeb Drong said: “The government is playing a dubious role towards indigenous people. Time has come that they should accept their failure and express it to Kalpna’s family, who has been waiting eagerly for justice.”

Sanjeeb further said: “The government has become a patient of dementia and glaucoma, which is why they cannot see the sufferings of indigenous people.”

Joint General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad Rakhi Das Purkayastha said: “When abduction, a murder or any crime gets acceptance, then the level of crime automatically increases. This has what happened in CHT.”

“So, the culture of impunity towards indigenous women has doubled as well. The situation will not improve until or unless the accord gets fully implemented in CHT,” she added.

President of the program and Member Secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Women Network Chanchana Chakma said: “The Kalpana Chakma case has become the reflection of the indigenous people’s current condition in the hill tracts area.”

Chanchana also said: “The situations in CHT areas have become the way it was before the peace accord, again. We always live in a state of fear of getting arrested.”

Dipayon Khisa, member of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and information and publication secretary of BAF said: “There is a significant difference between laws in CHT and in the rest of the country.”

“The peace accord implementation by the government is nothing but making a mockery of the indigenous people. They have broken their promises time and again, which is leading towards complete mistrust.” he further said.

Member of CHT Commission and Human Rights Activist Khushi Kabir said: “The incident of abduction was staged so that no other activists from the indigenous people would remain free of fear.”

“To do justice to Kalpana, to establish rights for all, solving the case is necessary,” she said.

Khushi Kabir demanded proper investigation of the incident, publishing of the investigation reports publicly and booking the criminals under law, regardless of their profession and identity.

The Kalpana Chakma case at a glimpse

Kalpana Chakma was abducted on June 12, 1996. She was the Organizing Secretary of Hill Women’s Federation.

She was abducted from her house at New Lalyaghona of Baghaichari in Rangamati.

Her elder brother Kalindi Kumar Chakma is an eye witness who filed a case a few days after Kalpana’s abduction.

The prime accused in the case were Lieutenant Ferdous (Ferdous Kaysar Khan), VDP Member Nurul Huq and Police Constable Saleh Ahmed. Their current whereabouts are unknown.

The first probe committee of the case was formed under retired justice Abdul Jalil, and consisted of three members. The first final report was submitted in 2010.

So far, the number of total investigation officers (IOs) in the case till now is 39. 

The last final report of the investigation was submitted on September 7, 2016.

A no-confidence petition was filed in November 2016. The first hearing of the petition took place on June 8, 2017 and the next hearing date was set to take place on July 9, 2018.