Vol. 5 Num 286 Thu. March 17, 2005  

37 UPDF men held in Ctg on suspicion

Police detained on suspicion 37 indigenous people, mostly leaders and activists of Pahari Chhatra Parishad (PCP) and Pahari Jubo Forum (PJF), the student and youth wings of the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF) from a city community centre at Panchlaish early yesterday.

According to sources, police raided the Biye Bari community centre upon complaints from local people, nabbing the tribesmen and the owner of the community centre, Md. Shafi, at around 1am.

The arrested include PCP Secretary General and Dhaka Leather Technology College student Dipankar Tripura, PCP President and Dhaka Univeristy MBA student Rupan Chakma, Rajshahi University student Riko Chakma, PJF President Apu Chakma, and former PCP President Mithun Chakma.

The indigenous people reportedly gathered in the community centre to discuss organisational activities and matters relating to their 'Baisabi' festival.

A committee comprising Assistant Commissioner of Panchlaish circle Ziaul Kabir, two inspectors from the Detective Branch and the Special Branch of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) was interrogating the detainees at Panchlaish police station in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, the UPDF in a press statement in the afternoon strongly condemned and protested the detention and demanded immediate unconditional release of the 37 leaders and activists. It said the gathering was a coordination meeting jointly organised by the PCP, PJF and Hill Women's Federation (HWF).

Police told the press that some films and documentaries were found with the tribal men.