Bodies of the victims cremated
A Khagrachhari-wide manhunt operation has been kicked off Sunday afternoon to capture the perpetrators behind the assassinations of seven people on the day before.
Among the victims, six were members of United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF), one of the hill-tracts ethnic groups-based parties that has lost a lot of members to violence in the last nine months., while the other one was a bystander.
At least three others were injured in the attack, which took place at Swanirbhar Bazar around 8:30am, when assailants opened fire on a rally that was gathering at a busy area in the hilly town on Saturday morning.
Confirming the operation, the district’s Superintendent of police (SP) Ali Ahmad Khan said a joint task force comprising of police, border guards and army members has been conducting the mission. The joint force was also tasked with recovering illegal arms and ammunitions, especially from remote hilly areas. ‘
The bodies of the victims have been handed over to their respective families, the SP said.
No case has been filed in this connection as of yet. However, SP Ahmed Khan said police will file a case if family members of the victims do not file a case soon.
A five-member civilian probe committee, led by Khagrachhari’s Additional District Magistrate Abul Yusuf, has been formed to dig into the matter, confirms the district’s Deputy Commissioner (DC) Md Shariful Islam Khan.
The committee has been asked to submit their probe report within seven working days, the DC said.
The deceased have been identified as Pahari Chhatra Parishad (PCP-UPDF faction) Khagrachhari unit Acting President Tapan Chakma, its Organizing Secretary Elton Chakma, passerby and Mohalchari upazila Health Complex Health Assistant Gitayan Chakma, Democratic Youth Forum (DYF) VP Palash Chakma, Bangladesh Open University student Rupon Chakma, Poragacha area resident Shono Kumar Chakma, and Engineer Dhiraj Chakma of Panchari upazila.
Funeral of the deceased completed
Our correspondent in the hilly district says the bodies of Tapan Chakma, Elton Chakma, Palash Chakma, Rupon Chakma and Gitayan Chakma were cremated at South Khabangpuria Cremation Ground in Khagrachhari Sadar.
The funerals of Shono Kumar Chakma and Dhiraj Chakma were completed in their respective areas, says our reporter quoting locals.
District-wide road blockade Monday
The UPDF has called a Khagrachhari-wide half-day road blockade on Monday, condemning the killings of six of their party affiliates and demanding justice for the killing, according to a press notice signed by the group’s publicity spokesperson Nirn Chakma.
The UPDF has blamed its rival, Jana Samhati Samiti (JSS) MN Larma faction, for the attack.
Leaders of JSS MN Larma, which has also lost many members in these nine months, were unreachable for comments.
This conflict has already taken over 31 lives in last nine months.
The Dhaka Tribune's findings, corroborated by SP Ahmad Khan, are that the two parties are locked in a violent turf war in the three hill districts over control of territory, resources and local ethnic communities.
In an immediate reaction right after the incident, UPDF Organizer Michael Chakma blamed JSS MN Larma and breakaway faction UPDF Ganatantrik for the killings.
“JSS activists shot our men dead when they were campaigning for a program at the Swanirbhar Bazar,” he said.