KALPANA CHAKMA’S UNRESOLVED ABDUCTION, 22 YEARS ON...

Rani Yan Yan, ‘I was attacked’

Published: 00:05, Jun 12,2018 | Updated: 00:23, Jun 12,2018

 
 

Rani Yan Yan — Shahidul Alam, Drik/Majority World

Rani Yan Yan, spouse of Chakma Circle Chief Raja Devasish Roy, came under attack allegedly by security forces on the evening of February 15, 2018 while she was at the Rangamati General Hospital.
She was providing comfort and solace to the Marma sisters, who allege rape and sexual assault, allegedly by members of the security force, on 22 January. Rani Yan Yan’s volunteers were also assaulted. 
Selected excerpts from an interview with Rani Yan Yan, conducted by the 8th March Collective in early March 2018:
They locked it [ward door] from the inside, also from the outside...There was the survivors bed and an empty one opposite to it, I was sitting on that and charging my phone. The father [of the survivors] entered, he told the mother something, I wasn’t paying any attention... Suddenly the door opened, [I heard] the sound of people rushing in. My volunteer got up and said, ‘‘what is this? ... More than seven-eight women entered, they wore shalwar-kameezes, some of them had ornas [covering their faces], others wore masks [dust masks]. Behind them were five-six men in plain clothes, they too wore dust-masks. They gave orders, dhor dhor, ber kor [grab ‘em, get rid of ‘em]... They swooped down on my volunteer. The women behind her came and attacked me.
...Everything happened in front of the girls [survivors]. We did not say a single thing, we did not scream, we did nothing. We just tried with all our strength to stay in the room [with the survivors] for as long as possible, that’s what we promised to do, to stay with the girls as long as possible and that’s why we got beaten up.
They threw us down on the floor, they swore at us....shuworer baccha, haramjada, m-words, g-words....both men and women. The men, the ones in plain clothes, beat me more. And the women, they beat my volunteer.
They didn’t hit me on my face...they hit me on my head, my back, sides, everywhere else. All over. But they avoided my face. I understood why later. ...the face bleeds easily, gets swollen, it becomes very obvious that you got beaten.
...They dragged us out, into the corridor, we saw that all the lights had been put out.
The policewomen kept beating her [volunteer] as they dragged her away. And that’s when that happened ... [the men] touched her...they groped, breast, vagina... it was mainly the men in plain clothes..., [but] when they [reached the ground floor] [I heard this from her later because we had gotten separated], the policemen joined in. There were many policemen downstairs, uniformed policemen.
And yes, I must mention this, the policemen and policewomen who had been on ward duty...stood and watched from a distance. They looked surprised... When we were dragged downstairs, some of the policemen hit me. There was a bearded gentleman, he wore plain clothes, he was the one who said, this haramjadi [bastard woman] has to be taken out through the back door.
...They dragged me through the corridor at the back which they don’t use any more... I heard a male voice say, we can’t finish [her] here, we need to take [her] out. I thought about it later, I don’t think they wanted to kill me....I think they just said it umm so that I leave. 

Members of the 8th March Collective who conducted the interview were: Nasrin Siraj, Nazneen Shifa, Rahnuma Ahmed and Saydia Gulrukh. Translated by Rahnuma Ahmed.

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