Torture, attacks on rise

Mohiuddin Alamgir and Ahmed Shatil Alam | Updated at 02:20am on March 29, 2018

Incidents of rights violation like torture, attack and intimidation on ethnic minorities and arson of their houses kept rising in the last five years as shown in rights group’s studies.
Annual human rights reports of ethnic minorities’ rights group Kapaeeng Foundation shows that ‘arbitrary arrest’ of ethnic minorities is also increasing since 2013, while the number of killing of the ethnic minorities remains static.
Kapaeeng Foundation is set to unveil its report for 2017 today in the capital.
National Human Rights Commission chairman Reazul Hoque while talking to New Age on Wednesday urged the government to investigate the human rights violation incident on ethnic minorities and take necessary steps.
Kapaeeng Foundation chairperson Rabindranath Soren and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti organising secretary
Shaktpada Tripura blamed vested quarters’ greed for lands of ethnic minorities of both hill and plain
lands for the increasing torture, attack and intimidation of ethnic minorities and arson attack on their houses.
They also said that the number of attack and torture on the ethnic minorities were on the rise as attackers and main perpetrators always went without being punished.
Kapaeeng Foundation’s 2017 report said that 203 ethnic minorities faced torture, attack and intimidation in the year, while same report in 2013 said 123 ethnic minorities faced torture , attack and intimidation in that year. In the intervening years — 2014, 2015 and 2016 — these violations against the minorities kept increasing, as per the report.
At least 237 houses of ethnic minorities were set on fire in 2017 while the figure was 47 in 2013. The report also showed that 141 ethnic minorities were arrested and detained in 2017 while 36 were arrested and detained in 2013.
Rabindranath Soren said that these arrests were ‘arbitrary’ and almost all of them were innocent.
The reports stated that 11 ethnic minorities were killed in 2013 and 10 in 2017. It also said that 10 communal attacks were reported in 2013 while 5 such attacks were reported in 2017.
Shaktpada Tripura said that communal attack on a large scale decreased but attack at individual level on ethnic minorities was still high and many cases remain under reported.
The 2017 report said that at least 16 ethnic minorities women were raped in the year and of them nine were killed after rape.
NHRC chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque said that like all other citizens, the ethnic minority people also had the same right to live in the country and the government must maintain their human rights.
Chittagong hill tracts affairs ministry acting secretary Nurul Amin refused to make any comments as he was new in the position.
He, however, said he would visit CHT area next month and discuss the issues with the locales.
According to the 2011 census, ethnic minority population in Bangladesh was 1.5 million though ethnic minorities in the plains claim that their population was about 2.0 million.