A new insurgent group blamed PCJSS for a triple killing in June. PCJSS, in response, blames the new group

Jumma nationalist MN Larma’s Parbatya Chattogram Jana Samhati Samiti, or PCJSS, has accused a newly-formed insurgent group called the Kuki-Chin National Front, or KNF, of a recent armed assault on a settlement populated by people from the Tripura community in Rangamati's Bilaichhari Upazila that resulted into the death of three men.

Special Assignment Editorbdnews24.com
Published : 3 July 2022, 04:08 PM
Updated : 3 July 2022, 04:23 PM

Witnesses said a group of around 20 to 25 armed assailants arrived in the remote locality, known as Saijan Natun Para, on Jun 21 and began shooting indiscriminately.

Two men from the same family and a teenager -- identified as Subhash Chandra Tripura, 30, his father Brishochandra Tripura, 50, and Dhanrang Tripura, 15 -- were killed in the attack.

Home to around a dozen ethnic groups collectively known as the Jumma people, the Chattogram Hill Tracts is one of the most diverse regions in the country.

But historically, it has also been one of the most restive regions, spawning a separatist movement led by the PCJSS, which has since splintered into several factions.

The new group, locally known as ‘the Bawm Party’, has emerged with the goal of building an autonomous state. The name ‘Bawm’ came from the group’s leader, who has been identified as Nathan Loncheu Bawm.

Murmurs about the group's emergence began in April following the killing of a man in Bilaichhari's Bilpara village.

The group, however, gained instant notoriety when it claimed responsibility for the Jun 21 killings in a post on its Facebook page, which said the group’s 'special commando force' had successfully carried out an attack on the "the basement camp of the terrorist JSS' armed wing JLA", adding, "three members of the JLA force were killed on the spot".

Sushil Jiban Tripura, president of the Bangladesh Tripura Welfare Organisation, at the time said the casualties of the attack were "three innocent Tripuras".

Retracting the earlier statement, the KNF then said the trio were killed by fleeing “JSS terrorists.”

The PCJSS, until Sunday for an unknown reason, kept mum about the KNF’s allegation.

On Sunday, in a statement issued by Assistant Information and Publicity Secretary Sajib Chakma of the PCJSS, the group claimed that the KNF was forcing people from Tripura and Tanchangya communities to relocate from their villages by using scare tactics like arson and killing.

“Not only that, KNF terrorists have been plundering essentials including food items from the villagers for the last few months,” reads the statement.

As of yet, the armed insurgent group is responsible for evicting more than 100 Jhoom-
farming families from at least a dozen villages under Bandarban’s Rowangchhari Upazila, the PCJSS claimed in its statement.

bdnews24.com could not independently verify any of these claims.

The PCJSS also expressed frustration over the Bangladesh government’s indifference to counter the “violent” group.

“We find it mysterious that the government remained silent when an armed terrorist group claims responsibility for killings in Saijan Natun Para and evicting people in broad daylight.”

It also demanded the authorities come up with support for evicted families to resettle in their communities by ensuring security for the villagers.

The PCJSS also asked for compensation for the families of the Jun 21 victims and pressed for legal action against the KNF.

The KNF is yet to issue a statement in this regard.

bdnews24.com reached out to the group and their leader Loncheu Bawm, via their Facebook pages, but both KNF and Bawm are yet to respond to the messages until the filing of this report at 09:02pm BdST.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher