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Saturday, August 20, 2022

Buddhist Chakma woman gang-raped by Muslim settlers in CHT, Bangladesh

Another incident of sexual assault on an indigenous native woman in the troubled Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) border region of South-East Bangladesh has come to light. A Buddhist Chakma woman was gang-raped by 9 men, alleged to be ‘settlers’, who broke into her house and tied up her parents before assaulting her.

As per local media reports

“A Chakma woman was gang-raped in Khagrachhari early yesterday. Quoting the 32-year-old victim’s mother, Khagrachhari police said at least nine perpetrators with sharp weapons broke into the house around 2:00am.

They then tied up her mother and stepfather and raped her. The perpetrators then beat up her mother when she tried to save her daughter. They also looted cash and gold ornaments from the house, said police. The mother said her daughter had been suffering from mental ailments after losing her brother and father in 2005 and 2006.

The victim’s relatives said all the criminals were settlers. A case was filed with Khagrachhari Sadar Police Station. The victim is undergoing treatment at Khagrachhari General Hospital. Her mother demanded exemplary punishment for the offenders.”

CHT region of Bangladesh borders the Bharatiya states of Mizoram and Tripura. The indigenous tribal people here are mostly Buddhist, Hindu or followers of tribal faiths. Ever since Independence, they have been facing persecution at hands of the majority Muslim population of East Pakistan, and later Bangladesh.

From late 1970s onwards, the Bangladesh government started settling Muslims in the region to alter the demography. The Bengali Muslim settlers and Bangladesh military are reported to have carried out a systematic campaign of persecution and land grab against the non-Muslim indigenous peoples, also known as Jumma people. The Jumma people numbered around 98.5% of CHT’s total population at the time of partition, but today are just 50%.

Many have come out on streets of Chittagong city to protest this latest sexual assault.

Just a few weeks back, a Tripuri Hindu woman was gang-raped in Bandarban district of CHT.

Meanwhile, two teenagers were gang-raped on Wednesday night by human traffickers in Putkhali border area, Jashore district near Bangladesh’s western border with Bharat. Three men arrested – Rafiqul Islam, Shahin Ali, Biplob Ghosh – were trying to traffic the girls to Bharat, according to police.

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