Indigenous family at a loss in Longadu arson attack
Seventy-year-old Nandi Bala Chakma and her husband Budda Kumar Chakma were visiting their house on Sunday to see what remained after the arson attack at Tintila village of Longadu Sadar union in the district.
Their house turned to charcoal while paddy, rice, goats, clothes, Tk 15,000 in cash, utensils, sewing machine, ornaments and furniture kept there were either looted or burnt during the mayhem unleashed by the Bangalee settlers on Friday.
Following the death of local Jubo League leader Nurul Islam Nayon on Thursday, a tense situation prevailed in the area as Bangalee settlers blamed indigenous people for the 'murder'.
Sensing an impending danger, Nandi sent her 17-year-old daughter to the jungle on Friday morning.
Around 10:00am that day, two groups of youths went to Budda's house with sharp weapons, sticks, and bottles full of petrol and the couple too rushed to the jungle behind their house and took shelter beside a chhara (spring) there.
“My husband and I were trembling in fear, thinking what would happen if they find us. Peeping between the trees, we saw them taking the valuables from our house in a Mahendra (locally devised tractor). Then they set fire to our house,” said Nandi.
Rescued by police and other Chakma people around 4:00pm, the couple went to a shelter at nearby Tintilla Banbihar at night.
“They have ravaged our life by looting and destroying everything we had. It would be better if they had killed us with a gun,” said Nandi.
Over 200 homes and shops were vandalised, looted and burned while one indigenous woman was reportedly burnt to death as Bangalee settlers unleashed a series of arson attacks on the houses of indigenous Chakma community at Tintila, Manikjhor and Baittapara villages in Longadu on Friday morning, according to local indigenous leaders.