The Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission is deeply concerned about the killing of Mithun Chakma, a leader of United People’s Democratic Front based in Khagrachari who was shot dead in front of his own house. The commission in a statement said,’ The carrying out of such a brutal killing in the heart of town in broad daylight once against brings into focus the abysmal law and order situation in the hill region. It also illustrates the vulnerable situation in which the indigenous political activists are operating and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of human rights violations. Despite the high level of security and military presence in the area, indigenous people live under constant threats.’
The statement signed by the commission co-chairs Sultana Kamal and Elsa Stamatopoulou read,’ The killing of Mithun Chakma and a number of incidents of attacks and harassment of indigenous political activists including the murder of a former UP chairman in Naniarchar, and an Awami League leader in Jurachari indicates an alarming trend in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Although 20 years have passed since the signing of the Accord, these killings and the continued repression and land grabbing of indigenous people, violence against women and communal attacks demonstrate that the government has failed to bring peace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.’
The statement said Mithun earlier served three months in jail from July to October 2016 where he was held without any charges. A number of criminal cases were later filed against him and some of these cases were brought under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act 2006. The ICT law is a questionable law that violates citizens freedom of expression and promotes human rights violations by government agencies. Mithun wrote about human rights violations of indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and his writing was blamed for provoking violence in the region.
Mithun had to appear before court on a regular basis and this prevented him from carrying out his human rights activism. Filing cases against indigenous rights activists is a very common harassment tool.
The commission demanded the immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of those involved in the murder of Mithun Chakma. At the same time the Commission urges the Awami League-led government to stop the repression and harassment by the law enforcers on the general public and indigenous political activists.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country