A dawn-to-dusk road blockade has been called for Khagrachhari on Saturday to protest a local administration move to restrict a last respect-paying ceremony for the assassinated Adivasi human rights defender, Mithun Chakma.
Chittagong Hill Tracts-based United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) and liked-minded indigenous organizations are leading the action, which comes three days after the 38-year-old was gunned down by unidentified assailants in broad daylight on Wednesday.
Khagrachhari Sadar police station OC Tarek Mohammad Abdul Hannan told the Dhaka Tribune on Friday that a case had still not been filed over the killing.
“We have not yet received any complaint over the murder,” he said. “Once that happens, police will investigate and take necessary actions.”
Cremation under tight security
The mortal remains of Mithun Chakma were cremated in Khagrachari on Friday amid a move from the local administration to bar “anything ceremonious” to pay tribute to the slain leader.
UPDF senior leaders have alleged that they took preparations for paying a tribute to Mithun, but local administration barred them from taking Mithun’s coffin anywhere but the cremation ground.
Finally, a few UPDF leaders and close relatives who could reach the cremation ground, paid their last respect by placing wreaths on the coffin.
Shot in the head
Mithun was also formerly president of the Pahari Chhatra Parishad (Hill Students Council), or PCP, and general secretary of the Democratic Youth Forum.
Local sources said he was returning home at Aparna Chowdhury Para after a scheduled court appearance in a case filed against him under the controversial Section 57 of the ICT Act on Wednesday, when a group of armed assailants abducted him at around 12:30pm.
They then took him to the Sluice Gate area, where they shot him in the head and the abdomen.
Locals found him there in a critical condition and rushed him to the nearby hospital, where the doctors on duty pronounced him dead. There were six bullet wounds on his body, the doctors said.
In a statement released on Thursday, Amnesty International called for a full investigation into the murder of Mithun and urged the Bangladesh authorities to ensure that any persons against whom credible evidence exists “are prosecuted in accordance with international standards of due process”.
The UPDF meanwhile, has condemned the killing and blamed a vigilante group apparently backed by the Army.
“An army-backed neo masked terror group murdered UPDF Organizer Mithun Chakma in a cowardly, barbaric and unforgivable act of crime. We deeply condemn this murder,” said UPDF General Secretary Rabi Shankar Chakma in a statement.