Bengali Muslim settlers led by Ahad Mian, a member of the local union council, Bahar leader and Mohammad Abu, an ex-UP member attacked two Jumma Buddhist villagers-Nuapara and Joysenpara in Maischari, located at northern the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh on April 3, 2006.
It was reported that at least 50 people were injured in the attacks and four women raped. According to local witnesses, the night before the incident Bengali Muslim settlers tried to occupy the land belonging to the Buddhist Children’s House run by Ven. Sumana Mahathero, but were repulsed.
The Bengali Muslims later returned to the area mobilizing more settlers from elsewhere to attack the Jumma Buddhists. The Jumma Buddhists could not resist the attack as the Bengali Muslim settlers were more organized and equipped with lethal weapons.
As at press time, there were no further information of any actions taken by the Bangladeshi government to curb further attacks.Backdrop of conflict
The Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) in Bangladesh is the traditional homeland of 11 small indigenous groups who are collectively known as Jumma people. The majority of these people are Buddhist while some are either devout Hindus or practise Christianity.
For decades, successive governments of Bangladesh have been engaged in implementing a policy of removing the indigenous Jumma Buddhists from the area. With a view to shift the demographic balance and convert the Chittagong Hill Tracts into a Muslim majority area, the government of Bangladesh has transplanted more 400,000 Bengali people from the plain districts.
Under international law, such population transfers are prohibited under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The migrants were settled on the land belonging to the Jumma Buddhists and the illegal settlement have led to a series of land grabs by the Bengali Muslim settlers.
The area has also been turned into a virtual military cantonment with one-third of the country’s security forces deployed in the name of preserving sovereignty and national integrity.
On 2 December 1997, an accord which known as “Peace Accord” was signed between the government of Bangladesh and the Jana Samhati Samiti (JSS), a political party of the Jumma people. The “Peace Accord” is said to have been signed to resolve the decades old Chittagong Hill Tracts problems.
However after over 8 years the government have yet to implement the “Peace Accord” and the Chittagong Hill Tracts problem remains where it was before. The military is still there in full strength.