• Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:52 pm

Caught in the middle

  • Published at 01:37 am July 19th, 2018
  • Last updated at 01:47 am July 19th, 2018
Locals bring a victim of an assassination in Rangamati to a hospital after five members of PCJSS (MN Larma) group, loyal to upazila parishad chairman Shaktimaan Chakma, had been gunned down on May 4 this year, a day after Shaktimaan was slained in broad daylight Dhaka Tribune

The Dhaka Tribune’s Ashif Islam Shaon and Nuruchsafa Manik speak to the biggest victims of the ongoing conflict among political parties in the hill tracts, the ordinary people in the ethnic communities, in the last instalment of this three-part series

Locked in violent conflict for years, the ethnic political parties in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have recently adopted a new strategy to suppress their political rivals.

The parties have sought to assert supremacy by targeting the families of activists and supporters of rival parties: at least 184 families have been ousted from their homes thus far. 

This strategy has been carried out by both the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF) and the PCJSS (MN Larma), along with the latter’s ally UPDF Ganatantrik.

All three parties are putting men, women, and children through tremendous suffering in a bid to weaken their political rivals. 

The process of ousting families in the hills of Rangamati and Khagrachhari districts started in March.

Families of UPDF Ganatantrik and MN Larma activists who were thrown out of their homes have taken shelter in Khagrachhari Sadar and Mohalchhari upazila while the UPDF families took shelter in different places of Dighinala upazila.

The displaced families had homes in Khagrachhari’s Lakkhichhari, Guimara, Panchhari, and Dighinala areas and Rangamati’s Baghaichhari and Naniarchar upazilas.

Also Read- The rift in the hills

Of them, UPDF ousted 107 families from the MN Larma and UPDF Ganatantrik side and those two parties ousted 77 families belonging to the other side.

Party insiders said that they threw out these families to create mental pressure on the activists who have switched sides, to maintain supremacy in a particular area, or just to corner opponents.

Requesting to be unnamed, a number of leaders from all three parties said that the activists who are engaged in armed politics do not stay at home. Throwing out their families from their homes thus is a good strategy to put them out of action.

These families caught in the middle of this conflict are now without income, living in squalid conditions. Their children have had to drop out of school and their meals depend on charity.

In the Mubachhari area of Mohalchhari upazila in Khagrachhari, 44 such families have taken shelter at an abandoned school building.

Also Read- The killing squad

Adorshi Talukder, who has been living in the school building for four months, said she along with her two children were thrown out of their home because her husband belongs to a political party which lost dominance in the area recently.

Fearing for their lives, they have been unable to go outside the school compound to even attempt to earn a living. The local administration provides them with relief now and then. 

“In this small compound, we are living with a shortage of water and barely any space to sleep at night,” she said.

Bimol Kanti Chakma, Upazila Parishad chairman of Mohalchhari, said that people were caught amid the fight for supremacy between UPDF and JSS MN Larma.

“Public representatives like me are helpless before the weapons of those parties,” Bimol said. He was backed by the MN Larma group during the Upazila Parishad election.

Aongay Marma, president of Ganotantrik Juba Forum, the youth wing of UPDF, claimed that it was the MN Larma and UPDF Ganotantrik who first started the practice.

“They ousted families and looted their valuables first. Later with the help of general people, we ousted the offenders,” he claimed. 

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail