A team from the 14-party alliance, led by Health Minister Mohammed Nasim, visited Rangamati's Longadu yesterday and assured that the government would repair and reconstruct the homes that were attacked on Friday.
“Relief is being given. Please take them and tell all to stay calm… the police and the army would ensure everyone's security,” he said, calling upon the indigenous people, who fled to jungles and nearby villages after the incident, to return to their homes.
A few days after the attack, the district administration took relief materials to the villages but the indigenous people refused to take them, saying they need justice not help.
Nasim said those who killed Nurul Islam Nayan, a local Jubo League leader, would be brought to book. He promised the authorities would ensure that his family was compensated and rehabilitated.
He threatened to take action even if anyone in the administration was at fault.
On Friday morning, Bangalee settlers unleashed a series of arson attacks on the indigenous community in three villages -- Tintila, Manikjorchora and Baittapara -- of Longadu over the death of Nayan. Over 200 homes and shops were vandalised and burned after they were looted. Later, almost all the indigenous families fled to nearby jungles and villages.
That night, police filed a case against 15 named and 300-400 unnamed accused with Longadu Police Station. At this, all the men from the Bangalee families fled the villages fearing arrest.
Yesterday morning, the minister and his team, including Workers' Party leader Fazle Hossain Badsha, visited the affected homes. They also went to Nayan's family and provided it with some financial assistance.
After the leaders arrived in Baittapara, which has the most number of Bangalee families, the Bangalee men, all of a sudden, returned to the village and met the minister.
However, only a handful of the men from the indigenous families appeared there. Talking to Nasim, they demanded that the culprits be arrested immediately.
Later in a meeting with the members of both the Bangalee and indigenous communities at the Upazila Council auditorium, Nasim said,
“Those who murdered Nayan and those who carried out the arson attack would be punished.”
Visiting the three villages yesterday, these correspondents found that tension was still prevailing there.
Fourteen-year-old Sudarshan Chakma, a student of Rabeta High School in Tintila village, looked pale at a shelter in Tintila Ban Bihar, a Buddhist monastery in the area. He said all his books were burnt in Friday's attack.
Meanwhile, the local administration yesterday began work to prepare a new list of losses incurred by the victims. “The previous list was prepared hurriedly without talking to the affected families. The new list would be ready soon,” said Abu Tyeb, project implementation officer of Longadu upazila administration.
The list would be submitted to the disaster management department for providing the victims with compensation.