Wednesday, April 20, 2011

“I consider this behaviour of the police as purely racist”: Joti Ranjan Chakma
News No. 82/2011, April 19, 2011

Mr Joti Ranjan Chakma, 52, Noapara, Modhupur, Khagrachari town, is an Assistant Divisional Engineer, Public Works Department, Government of Bangladesh. He is one of those injured in the settler attacks on 17
April. He received serious injuries in the head. His right hand and a finger also got fractured.

He is now undergoing medical treatment at a hospital in Chittagong. spoke to him at the hospital. We reproduce his interview below:

On the day of incident, 17 April, I was returning home from Chittagong by bus (Shanti Paribahan). The bus left Chittagong at 2pm. At about 4pm it reached Jaliapara in Guimara. There were six Jumma passengers in the bus. The settlers dragged us off the bus and began beating indiscriminately.

In fact, we got the news of the incident (clash between Jummas and settlers) one mile ahead of Jaliapara. I phoned the OC of Matiranga police station and sought his advice as to whether it was safe for us to come. He assured us that there was no problem.

After that our bus was taken to Jaliapara with police and BGB escorts.

When we reached Jaliapara, some local Bengali people whispered into the ears of police and BGB members. After that the BGB and police personnel kept aside. I thought some thing was going to happen.

After the BGB and policemen had went away, the Bengalis ordered all the passengers of the bus to get down.

As the passengers refused to get down, they got on the bus.

I was sitting in one of the front rows. My seat No. was 3. I was dragged off the bus.

I had two mobile phone sets and Taka 10,000 in my pockets. The attackers took them away.

I pleaded with them not to beat me. But they would not listen. They hit me repeatedly in the head and on my back with sticks. I tried to protect my head with my hands. They beat me till I was unconscious and left me for dead.

There were 30 – 40 police, BGB and army personnel there, but they were silent spectators.

A Bengali bus passenger, who is known to me, (a Bengali peon from Treasury Office in Khagrachari) took me to a safe place and nursed me. I was drenched in blood.

Then police came and took me to Thana (police station).

I was taken to Guimara police station with serious wounds, but I was left there without treatment.

When I screamed for medical help no policeman heeded me. When the Bengali peon tried to help me with medical treatment, the police scolded him. The police wanted me to die without treatment. I consider this behaviour of the police as purely racist.

Later, that Bengali peon informed my family of my situation, and only then was I able to get admitted to Khagrachari Sadar Hospital with the help of Kushum Dewan, a Jumma police officer in Chittagong. It was already 9:30pm when I got to hospital.

When I was being beaten (at Jaliapara), the army and police personnel present there did nothing to save me.

I think the settlers beat me with the intention to kill me. But luckily I have been saved. Why should I be treated like this? I have done no wrong. My only fault is that I am a Chakma.

Though I am a government employee, the government has completely failed to provide protection for me.

When I was being beaten, I repeatedly shouted at the police for help. But they did not come forward.

I am a government employee and my office is in Khagrachari.

I don’t know what happened to the other Jumma passengers. I think they might have faced the same fate.

I don’t think I will recover fully.

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