Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor, Shottobani
London: Caroline Lucas MP who met a delegation of Jumma women comprising of Jumma Peoples Network International campaigner Joyoti Grech Cato, Amy Hall, and founding member CHT Commission Jenneke Arens on Thursday 12th April pledged her support to seek justice for the young Marma sisters, raped & assaulted by military on 22 January, Rani Yan Yan, Queen of Chakma Circle who was attacked on 15 February by masked plain clothes police while supporting the sisters in Rangamati Hospital and the safe return of Hill Women’s Federation activists Monti Chakma and Dayasona Chakma, abducted from Rangamati on 18 March. Caroline Lucas went on to raise human rights violations in Chittagong Hill Tracts on BBC R4 Any Questions on Friday 13th, tweeted her support and signed the petition (see link below).
On 22 January 2018 a patrol party from Farua Army Camp carried out house to house searches in Orasori village, Bilaichari district in Rangamati, Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh They entered the house of an indigenous Marma family. Two men raped the 18-year-old sister and seriously sexually assaulted the younger 14-year-old sister. Their seven-year-old brother was present in the room. The following day the sisters were taken to hospital for treatment. Whilst at the hospital they were placed under tight surveillance, unlawfully detained and subjected to degrading treatment.
Rani Yan-Yan and other Women’s Human Rights Defenders attended the sisters for 20 consecutive days to provide support. One of the reasons Rani Yan Yan visited the sisters, is because she is also from the Marma indigenous group and could communicate with the sisters in their mother tongue. The sisters said they were scared to return to their village for fear of retaliation for speaking out. A writ was filed to release the sisters into the protective custody of Raja Devasish Roy and Rani Yan Yan.
The parents of the two girls having allegedly been placed under extreme pressure from the Bangladeshi security forces, filed a counter-writ for their daughters’ release, which was upheld on the 13 February. This led to a raid on the hospital by security forces and plain-clothes personnel when the sisters were forcibly taken from the hospital on 15 March. Rani Yan-Yan and a Woman Human Rights Defender were assaulted, kicked and beaten trying to protect the sisters who were refusing to leave. A physical assault on Rani Yan Yan is tantamount to an attack on all the indigenous people of the Chakma Circle. The Chakma Raj is held in high esteem and is considered to be the custodians of centuries-old traditions and way of life.
A petition calling for justice for the Marma sisters, Rani Yan Yan and all Jumma women has been signed by hundreds of supporters including Caroline Lucashttps://www.change.org/p/bangladesh-justice-for-raped-marma-sisters-rani-yan-yan-and-indigenous-women-human-rights-defenders?recruiter=376100064&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition
Jumma Peoples Network International are showing a solidarity screening of the first Chakma-language feature film, My Bicycle (Maw Theng Gaari) by Aung Rakhine, at Lewes Depot, Brighton on 5th May https://lewesdepot.org/film/my-bicycle