ALRD and partners raise voices to protect Adivasi community from land grab
ALRD’s network partner, Kapeeng Foundation, held a Press Conference on 19 June, 2013 in cooperation with ALRD in Dhaka Bangladesh to share a fact finding report with media personnel prepared by 14-member Citizens’ Committee who had visited the area following incidences of land grabbing including violation of human rights at Adivashi Chak and Mro community of Naikkhanchhari and Lama Upazilla under Bandjarban district in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). About 21 Chak family Community are reported to have been evicted with repeated death threat from their ancestral lands as the influential grabbers had taken hold of their property. The report also says that another 210 Mro Jhum family are on the process of eviction. However, the grabbing process is known to have been creeping for the last four years following an illegal lease of land handed over to the vested interest quarters.
The civic delegation comprising country’s senior politician Mr. Pankaj Bhattacharya, president of United National Awami Party, Columnist Syed Abul Maksud, Professor Dr. Nur Mohammad Talukder, President of College-University Teachers’ Association, NGO Director Mr. Noman Ahmmed Khan, Professor Rajib Mir of Jagannath University, Mr. Dipayon Khisha of Capeeng Foundation, Mr. Mongol Chakma of Jana Sanghati Samity , and Journalist Mr. Arun Bikash were, among other, the fact finding team members spoke in the press conference. They placed 6-point demands urging the government to ensure security of the victims and safe return to their lands and that the perpetrators be arrested immediately. The demand also includes: arrest the land grabbers and miscreants; re-settle/rehabilitate the victim families (Adivasi Chak and Mro) on the evicted land through cancelation of leased agreement; in any leasing of land in CHT must be done with the informed consent of the adivasi; and to provide 5 acres of land each of the victim families.
The speakers viewed the incidence as a clear violation of human rights. They emphasized reformation of government policy in dealing with indigenous issues. It was also alleged that influential politician used to take possession of lands in Bandarban hill district and the local administration does not step to stop the land grabbing. They cautioned that the situation in CHT might again become volatile because of a sense of insecurity of its people who are continuously losing their land due to non-implementation of the CHT peace accord signed between Bangladesh Government and Jana Samhati Samity (JSS) in 1997.
Later on, ALRD’s Executive Committee member Raja Devasish Roy, while drawing attention to this issues to the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Public Affairs Mr. H T Imam, he (Mr. Imam) expressed his deep concern over the issue and assured to look into this matter.