News No. 100/2013, Thursday, August 29, 2013
A MOTORBIKE driver and his passenger have been arrested by army in Sajek under Baghaichari Upazila in Rangamati district, triggering a mass protest in the area.
According to sources, the army from Baghaihat zone arrested Shanashri Chakma alias Ripon, 30, a motorbike driver, and his passenger Nipun Chandra Chgakma at a check post (No. 6) in Baghaihat at 12:30pm today for carrying several copies of the Jatio Dak, an irregular news bulletin published in Bangla.
They were heading to Hajacahra village from Gangaram in Sajek when the army arrested them. Later, they have been handed over to the police.
Originally a resident of Dhanpada, Rangamati and now staying with his father-in-law in Langolmara, Ripon Chakma, son of Sabinoy Chakma, makes a living by driving a motorbike, while Nipun Chandra Chakma hails from Sajekchara Bridge Para. His father’s name is Nogendra Sen Chakma.
After the arrest, Binoy Chakma, a member of Sajek Union Council (Ward No. 4), went to Baghaihat army zone to enquire about the arrestees.
On his return, he told chtnews: ‘I met the army who said that the paper (Jatio Dak) is illegal because it has published something against them.’
He also quoted the army as saying: ‘We’ll look into the matter and find out where and how they have got the paper.’
Demanding the release of the two arrested Jummas, the people of Sajek staged a protest march and held a rally in Ujo bazaar. The rally was addressed by Atu Lal Chakma, Chairman of Sajek Union Council, Jotsna Rani Chakma, a member of the Council, Gyanendu Chakma and Jyoti Lal Karbari.
The speakers condemned the arrests and demanded their immediate and unconditional release.
UPDF organizder in Baghaichari Sama Shanti Chakma, in a statement issued to the media, has condemned the arrest and demanded their immediate release.
Terming the arrest of Ripon and Nipun Chandra as a flagrant violation of human and fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution of Bangladesh as well as a glaring example of abuse of power by army personnel deployed in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the UPDF leader said, ‘The arrest is totally unlawful. Although the paper, for the keeping of which they were arrested, is unregistered, but not banned and not a single word has been written in it against the state of Bangladesh.’
It is to be noted that on 23 August Captain Yasir Arafat, Adjutant of Baghaihat zone, called Chitta Ranjan Chakma, the Karbari or Chief of Noapara, to the camp and ordered him to stop chanting religious hymns from a Buddhist temple.
“As of today, chanting of religious hymns from Noapara Buddhist temple through sound systems must be stopped. We feel annoyed by this chanting of religious hymns. If the hymns were to be chanted, then you should do it after azan (Muslim prayers).” Yasir was quoted by Chitta Ranjan Chakma as telling him.
The news of Captain Yasir’s orders spread like wildfire in Sajek and ultimately made its way into the internet as well. The Jatio Dak also published it in its current issue.-----------------