The ethnic minority people whose houses were burnt at Langadu in Rangamati on June 2 in arson attack by Bengalis were prosecuted on Wednesday on charge of setting fire to houses and shops of Bengalis.
Ruling Awami League local leader Mahbub Miah, also former Mainimukh union parishad member, filed the case with Rangamati Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday accusing 44 ethnic minority people of setting fire to houses and shops of Bengalis at Batyapara and Kathaltala of Langadu on June 1, a day before the arson attack on ethnic minorities.
Neither the police nor local administration reported any such incident of attack on houses of Bengalis. The Bengalis also made no such complaint about any attack earlier.
The case was filed at a time when the arson-affected ethnic minorities were yet to return to their homesteads and still living at shelters and deep forests even after 20 days of the arson attack, following recovery of the body of a local Juba League leader, the
ruling Awami League-backed youth organisation.
Langadu police officer-in-charge Mominul Islam said that he heard about filing of the case by Bengalis but no such documents reached to the police station yet.
‘We are investigating the previous cases [filed by police and ethnic minority people] over the arson attack and if any such case is filed by Bengalis, we would investigate it altogether,’ he told New Age on Thursday.
Langadu upazila unit Awami League general secretary Jane Alam, who was made witness of the new case, claimed that the houses of Bengalis were also set on fire by ethnic minorities.
‘There are criminals in ethnic community and they should be brought to book,’ he said.
‘We could not measure the damages of houses earlier,’ he said about the delay in filing the case.
Panic griped the ethnic minority people after they came to know about the case on Thursday. They said that they were stunned by such case filed on ‘false allegation’ of setting fire to Bengalis’ houses and shops.
Kishore Chakma, the plaintiff of a case filed earlier for the arson attack on ethnic minorities, was among the 44 named in Wednesday’s case.
Moni Shankar Chakma, who was also named in the new case, said that the case was filed to divert the investigation into, and people’s attention from the arson attack on ethnic minorities.
‘They [Bengalis] have burnt our houses and now they are accusing us of an imaginary attack on their houses and shops,’ he said.
‘We have yet to settle down at our houses, how can we live if such torture Bengalis continue with such torture on us,’ said Moni, also a village leader of the ethnic minority community.
Atrakchara union parishad chairman Mongal Kanti Chakma, whose two houses were among some 300 houses of the ethnic minorities burnt in June 2 arson, said that the arson victims were still at shelters set up at temples and schools.
He said they were passing days at the shelters in inhuman condition with inadequate foods, clothes, drinking water and other amenities.
‘The administration has not taken any considerable measure yet for the arson victims,’ he alleged.
Mongal said that the sufferings of the ethnic minorities intensified as diarrhoea and viral fever unleashed in the community.
Incessant rainfall also continued for the past couple of weeks, he said.
Newton Chakma, another arson victim, said that they could take food once or twice a day.
They were living on humanitarian aid and support from relatives, he said.
Milan Chakma, another arson victim, said that they were seeing a bleak future as the arson attack not only destroyed their houses only, but shattered their daily activities and livelihood.
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