Roundtable Discussion on ‘Evicting Indigenous People from their Land and Guarantee of Land Governance’
We are sharing this update submitted by the Association For Land Reform And Development (ALRD).
Eviction of Indigenous People (IP) from their ancestral lands and set out their house on fire increased in recent times. Such clashes have often erupted between IPs and Bengali settlers in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and sometime happened with plain lands IPs. Grabbing of IPs land is alleged to be main cause of conflict in such areas. Latest, such clash over land happened in Habibpur village under Parbatipur upazila in Dinajpur district on 24 January. There was a longstanding dispute between Bengali’s and indigenous Santal communities over possessing land properties. Such clashes resulted bloody and troublesome incidences.
With a view to place the issue on discussion table, ALRD and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum jointly organized a roundtable discussion on “Evicting Indigenous People from their Land and Guarantee of Land Governance” at the Lounge of Dhaka Reporter’s Unity held on 16 February. One hundred and forty-five participants from CSOs, NGOs, community-based organizations (CBOs), and electronics and prints media participated in the roundtable discussion.
ALRD Executive Director, Shamsul Huda, chaired the program. A paper was presented by Associate Professor of Dhaka University, Robayet Ferdous, depicting the recent land grabbing incidents and different communal attacks on the indigenous people.
Speakers stated that the indigenous communities are a major victim of the land grabbers who take hold of their lands defying prescribed government rules. Referring to the earlier records, they alleged that the indigenous communities were being wiped out from their lands following forced evacuation by the land grabbers with the backing of the local administration. Participants and speakers at the discussion demanded the fulfillment of the peace accord to ensure transparency and accountability and avoid the culture of impunity both in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and plains.