ILLEGAL Bengali settlers backed by a strong contingent of army personnel have burnt down at least 60 Jumma houses in four villages under Sajek Union of Rangamati district. Many Jummas are reported to have been wounded and women raped during the attack that began at 9:45 p.m. on 20 April. Details of the incident are yet to come.
Sources said tension had been mounting in the area since the settlers began constructing houses in March after grabbing Jumma people's lands.
Sensing an impending attack, the Jummas, 50 - 60 of them, gathered at a point of the village to defend themselves. This somehow leaked to the army who went up to them and asked them not to worry. 'Since we are here, nothing will happen and settlers will not attack you' an RP Habilder, Harun, was reported to have told the Jummas.
The CO (Commanding Officer) of Baghaihat zone was also present there. However, he did not speak to the Jummas.
While the army engaged the Jummas in talks, a group of Bengali settlers mounted an attack on four Jumma villages namely Gangaram Mukh, Simana Chara, Purbo Para and Baibachara.
They torched the houses, beat up whomever they caught hold of and raped the Jumma girls and women. However, details as to how any have been raped and wounded could not be known immediately.
The Hill Students Council, a front organisation of the United People's Democratic Front, will hold a demonstration in Dhaka later in the day, today, in protest against the barbarous Sajek settler attack.