Progressive woman journalist received rape threats by tribals for her novel

A Bangladeshi woman journalist-cum-writer, Rokeya Lita, was threatened to be raped by tribal users on social media after she wrote a book regarding Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

A Bangladeshi progressive woman journalist-cum-writer was threatened to be raped on social media after it had emerged that her upcoming novel would shed light on rapes committed by tribal men in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). In addition, she also experienced hack attempts of her Facebook ID.

Rokeya Lita, a journalist for Independent Television, wrote a novel titled ‘Dumurer Ful’ or ‘Unseen objects’, for which she stayed eight months in the CHT. After her research work, she described in her book that tribal men accused of rapes 'are fined a pig' for their crimes in accordance with tribal rules! She claimed that sometimes rape victim is forced to marry her rapist.

“We, living in Dhaka, always hear news regarding rapes in the CHT. These news stories always suggest that all rapes are committed by Bengali culprits only, but it is not true at all. Only accusations of rapes suspected to be committed by Bengali culprits get attentions. The real fact is: Many tribal men, too, committed rapes, which never was reported on newspapers. Because, tribal leaders want to hide or suppress these events. Therefore, you cannot understand real scenario of the hill by visiting the region only for two or three days, or by speculating from Dhaka”, said Lita.

After a review of her book was published by a national daily Kalerkantho, a disturbing number of sexual attacks by tribal Facebook users, mostly from Chakma community, took place targeting her profile on the social media. Screenshots published on her profile showed that some tribal Facebook users threatening to rape her for her book.

One of her screenshots even showed Facebook authority notifying her that her account was tried to be accessed by correctly answering her security questions!

In a series of posts, she published a number of screenshots of conversations from her Facebook inbox.
Several screenshots display propagation of her photoshopped pornographic images by tribal Facebook users, with abusive remarks, urging other tribal users to rape or dishonor her.

Before these incidents took place, the writer had not hesitated to write certain inconsistencies in regard of pattern of news-reporting about the CHT.

She claimed, “Every year, on the eve of anniversary of the Peace Accord, journalists from Dhaka go to the CHT to report about the situation of implementation process of the accord. Most of the reports are, in fact, repetitions of the previous year’s reports. Throughout the year, local correspondences send reports to their concerned media organizations and most of them are from tribal communities. Their favorite headline is: ‘Indigenous woman raped by Bengali settler’. Besides rape and Peace Accord, there are thousands of controversial issues in the region – which I could not know unless I started field and research work for my second fiction novel. I would rather say our media organizations and several NGOs are to blame for the current situation in the CHT. In some cases, these newspapers and NGOs worked as ‘fuel’ of hill politics.”

Rokeya Lita interviewing Chakma Circle Chief, also an Tribal leader, Raja Debashis Roy, while researching in the CHT.

“If you need more information, I think, you would not need labor. If you go to local police stations, you can get more information. Tribal girls don’t seem to blame Bengali men. In most cases, tribal men utilized the issue to gain politically”, she stated.

“Recently, I have read an article titled ‘Tribal girls are like consumer goods to Bengali settlers’. The headline sounds like the only job Bengali settlers have is to rape tribal women! They have nothing else to do except raping girls”, she added.

“However,” she continued. “It does not mean that there are no cases of rapes in the CHT. Perhaps, local Bengali culprits are also involved in some cases. But my experience in the CHT is totally the opposite. I stayed almost eight months in the CHT and heard of two events, in which tribal girls were raped. Most astonishing matter is that, both the girls were raped by suspected tribal men, and both the events were suppressed! No agitation or campaign was run by local tribal political parties. No news even surfaced. Nevertheless, we always hear from Dhaka that Bengali settlers execute a rape spree on a frequent basis! Needless to say, it is the main politics of the hill. And it covers my novel ‘Dumurer Ful’,” asserted Lita.

‘Dumurer Ful’ or ‘Unseen Objects’ is her second novel, whereas her first one was ‘Somokamita’ or ‘Homosexuality’. ‘Dumurer Ful’ or ‘Unseen Objects’ can be bought from ongoing Omor Ekushay Boi Mela. It was published by Somoy Prokashon.



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Terrorism in the CHT: Progressive woman journalist received rape threats by tribals for her novel
Progressive woman journalist received rape threats by tribals for her novel
A Bangladeshi woman journalist-cum-writer, Rokeya Lita, was threatened to be raped by tribal users on social media after she wrote a book regarding Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
Terrorism in the CHT
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