ACHR PRESS RELEASE

ACHR INDEX: PR/BD/01/2013
Date: 03 August 2013

Hundreds of Bangladeshi tribals seeking refuge in India

-over 500 tribal houses burnt in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh-

New Delhi:  Communal tensions have flared up in the Tabalchari Thana area under Matiranga Sub-District in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh after plain settlers belonging to majority Muslim religious group attacked the indigenous/tribal villages belonging to the Chakma (Buddhist) and Tripura (Hindu)communities with the aim to grab their lands. Today i.e. 3 August 2013, at least five villages namely Sarveshawar Para, Boga Para, Manudas Para, Bhagawan Tilla and Bandar Singh Para under Tabalchari Thana have been burnt to ashes. One indigenous person was killed, four other indigenous people were seriously injured and about 500 indigenous peoples houses were destroyed in the attacks as per the latest report received by Asian Centre for Human Rights.

"The Bangladesh Border Guards instead of arresting the arsonists arrested many innocent indigenous tribal people including Mr Bakul Chakma, Mr Supayan Chakma and Mr Phani Bhusan Chakma, a member of the local Union Council and subjected them to severe torture in their custody." – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

About 1,500 Chakmas and Tripuris are currently camping at the gates along the Indo-Bangladesh border fencing in Silachari area under Tripura, trying to find refuge in India. The Border Security Forces who man the gates have so far prevented the fleeing refugees from entering into India.

Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the Government of India to direct the Border Security Forces to provide shelter to the fleeing tribal refugees from Bangladesh until the situation improves for their return; and further urged the Government of Bangladesh to take immediate measures to ensure safety and security of the affected indigenous peoples. [End]