Chittagong Hills Buddhists under duress from army

The Buddhist Channel, Sept 17, 2007

Chittagong, Bangladesh -- The Sadhana Tila area under Dighinala, which comprises of about 300 acres of land and houses a Buddhist Meditation centre and a sizeable indegenous jumma population has become the flashpoint of the conflict.

Since 13 August 2007 plain settlers supported by army personnel led by Dighinala zone commander have been creating panic and ordered the Buddhist monk to leave Sadhana Tila to arrange settlement of 800 plain settlers families.

As the monks and indigenous jumma peoples refused to comply with their illegal appeal, the army personnel have taken away two novices who were later released when Santu Larma, Chairman, Parbattya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) intervene in the matter alongwith other Human right activists.

Santhu Larma have made an appeal to Chief Adviser, Interim Care taker Government to look into the matter and to take stern action against the army personnel responsible.

The Chief adviser assured leaders of PCJSS to conduct investigation and the situation now stands calm and quite. The Buddhist Temple is unhurt.

It is to be noted here that

Due to their pattern of jhum cultivation, the Jumma population of Chittagong Hill Tracts never bothered to secure formal ownership of land. This has subsequently proved detrimental to their natural property rights and the settlers from the plain lands took advantage thereby grabbing the land traditionally processed by the tribals. In the absence of any formal documentation, the tribal people were unable to contest claims for their own land.

The Buddhist Brotherhood Assembly as well as other Buddhist organisations in the area - out of fear of being molested by the law enforcing authority - do not dare to publicly protest the occurance of such an incident.

They have instead looking for ways to we seek support from neutral local and international organisation to come forward thereby to protect their rights.

The Buddhist Brotherhood Assembly have appealed to anyone concern to write an article for circulation so that they could get support to pressure their government to take measure to implement Peace accord signed with "Parbatty Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity".