Home Muslim World News Four dead in Bangladesh ethnic violence

Four dead in Bangladesh ethnic violence


Dhaka : At least four people were killed and six villages of ethnic Buddhist minority tribals were burnt over a land dispute in south-eastern Bangladesh, officials said.

The incident took place in the Khagrachari region of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the Daily Star reported Monday.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts is home to a minority Buddhist population. Incidents of violence have occurred earlier in the wake of efforts by successive governments to settle Bengali Muslims on tribal land. An accord reached in 1997 has not been fully implemented.

Violence erupted Sunday afternoon when Bengali settlers reportedly began clearing 50 acres of forest on a hillock that belongs to the Marma tribe.

Witnesses said a group of settlers went to the hillock and began planting banana saplings after clearing the forest around midday. Local tribals who belong to the ethnic minority protested, but the labourers did not pay any heed to them.

The tribals allegedly attacked the labourers when they were resting after lunch.

An injured labourer died on his way to hospital and two others died after being admitted.

As the news spread, Bengali labourers allegedly attacked the villages of Shankhola, Taikarma, Sica, Riyamrang and Padachhara, home to the ethnic minorities and burnt at least 60 houses there.

A man from the Marma tribe, Remong Marma, was reportedly hacked to death at Shankhola, the New Age reported quoting villagers.

The Hafchari Union Council said Bengali settlers burnt down at least 100 houses in the council area.

The Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti also condemned the attack. Other Buddhist tribal bodies demanded the arrest and trial of the people responsible for the attacks.

The government Sunday night formed a committee to investigate the violence and submit its report within two working days.

It has also banned public gatherings, rallies and carrying of firearms.