News No. 113/2012, Wednesday, October 17, 2012
ARMY soldiers have been accused of attempted rape of three Jumma girls in Mahalchari under Khagrachari district.
On 14 October, six Jumma girl students – of grade 6th to 10th – were on their way to Ultachari High School when some army personnel stood in their way and tried to pull three of them away by the hands.
However, they could somehow free themselves and ran away. The other girls also took flight as fast as they could. The victims are from 9th and 10th grade.
The soldiers who attacked the girls were from Ultachari camp in Kiang-ghat Union No. 3 in Mahalchari Upazila, and they were engaged in carrying bricks from the road to the camp.
A sense of shame made the girls keep the incident a secret until they picked up courage and told it to their parents.
After the incident transpired, Mahalchari zone commander Lt. Col. Shahidul Islam (Bir – 8) visited Ultachari camp today at 12 noon, taking Mahalchari Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md. Shahed, Mahalchari Upazila chairman Sona Ratan Chakma and Lady Vice Chairman Kakali Khisha along with him.
The commander heard the statements of the three victims and their teachers at the camp and commented that the allegation against the soldiers was baseless.
The Ultachari camp was first set up near Sarnath Aranyo Kuthir in Karalyachari in 2008 to facilitate land grabbing by illegal Bengali settlers. Hundred of acres of land belonging to the Jumma people were taken away at that time.
On 12 October, the camp was shifted four kilometers to the north to Ultachari, and it is now under construction.
Major Azam and Lt. Moshiur are in charge of the camp.
The Hill Students Council and Democratic Youth Forum staged a demonstration in protest against the incident and demanded that the culprits be awarded exemplary punishment. They also demanded the removal of the camp from there.