Two Int'l organisations demand justice for Lakingme

Indigenous Chakma girl Lakingme Chakma

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) have demanded the justice for reported murder of a 14-year-old Indigenous Chakma girl Lakingme Chakma.

In a press release on Monday, they (AIPP and IWGIA) pressed home for a nine-point demand to the govt. including taking immediate action against those involved in Lakingme’s ‘abduction, forced conversion, child marriage, rape, and instigation to death’.

Lakingme was in the seventh grade and had just turned 14 years and 10 months old on 5 January 2020 when she was abducted from her village home (Shilkhali Chakma Para) in Cox’s Bazar.

After 11 months and six days of abduction, on 9 December 2020, the police called Lakingme’s father to identify his daughter's body in the Cox's Bazar hospital morgue, the press release added.

Following his daughter’s abduction, Lakingme’s father filed a general diary (GD) with the Teknaf police station, but no action was taken.

He therefore filed a case with the Cox's Bazar Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal on 27 January 2020.

On 15 December that year, this tribunal ordered RAB-15 (Rapid Action Battalion) to reopen the investigation. RAB-15 is now handling this case.

Lakingme’s family sources said, five abductors aged between 22 and 28 led by a Bengali Muslim man, Ataullah (23) of Cox’s Bazar, allegedly abducted her from her house. Later on 21 January 2020, she was forcibly converted to Islam and married to Ataullah at a registrar's office, a false birth certificate being produced to show her age as 18.

Ataullah’s mother claimed that Lakingme had committed suicide by drinking poison. However, a civil society-led fact-finding team investigated the case from 27-29 December 2020 and stated that “the law enforcers must investigate whether she killed herself or was murdered, because we have found many examples that she was instigated to commit suicide.”