India moves to turn back tribals fleeing Bangladesh
Ethnic violence across the border sparks exodus
Chittagong Hill Tracts (file picture: Wikimedia Commons)
Indian officials were trying to repatriate Bangladeshi tribals who have entered Tripura seeking refuge after ethnic violence erupted in their country, officials said here Wednesday. Over 350 men, women and children of 70 families of Chakma and Tripuri tribes have taken shelter in four villages of Tripura’s Gandachara area along the international border since Monday.
The tribals, mostly Buddhists and Hindus, fled their villages after non-tribals attacked their homes in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), a tribal dominated area in Bangladesh that borders India and Myanmar.
“Dhalai district magistrate Milind Ramteke and Gandachara sub-divisional magistrate Bhaskar Dasgupta went to border areas to pursue the infiltrators to return to Bangladesh,” an official with the Tripura home department told IANS.
The official, wishing anonymity, said Tripura has already informed the central home ministry about the development. Meanwhile, sub-divisional magistrate Dasgupta told IANS over phone that officers of the Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) would soon hold a meeting on the issue.
The BSF also informed its headquarters in New Delhi and is coordinating with the BGB on the issue.
The home department official said: “The UPDF (United People’s Democratic Front) activists supported by the local anti-peace groups attacked the houses of Chakma and Tripuri tribals and also burnt their homes forcing them to take shelter in Tripura.”
The UPDF has been opposing a peace accord signed in 1997 between the Bangladesh government headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samity (PCJSS) led by Santu Larma.
The PCJSS’s armed wing, Shanti Bahini, is demanding sovereign status for tribals in Chittagong.
In 1986, over 74,000 tribals took shelter in Tripura following violent attacks. The refugees had returned to their homes after the peace accord was signed.
Tripura shares a 856 km border with Bangladesh that is porous because it extends over mountains that are densely forested.
Full Story: Efforts on to repatriate Bangladeshi tribals
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