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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Indigenous peoples demand to stop land acquisition for setting up military garrison

Indigenous peoples demand to stop land acquisition for setting up military garrison

The indigenous peoples of Ruma upaziila (sub-district) of Bandarban hill district led by Land Rights Protection Committee demanded to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to bring to a halt the land grabbing in the name of military formations. The demand took place in a public gathering held in front of Bandarban Press Club on  after a long march of 37 km from Ruma to Bandarban town. More than 700 demonstrators took part in the long march and the public gathering.
Mr. Luprue Marma, the convenor of Land Rights Protection Committee and also a local leader of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS); Mr. Mong Saching Marma, member secretary of Land Rights Protection Committee; headman Nunglai Mro, Mr. Jumlian Amlai, indigenous activist; Mr. Uchasing Marma, indigenous activist and also a leader of PCJSS; Mr. Swehla Prue Marma, indigenous activist; Mr. Ongsaching Marma, indigenous activist spoke at the protest gathering. 
The speakers of the meeting urged the prime minister to stop acquisition process of 9,560 acres of land for expansion of the Ruma garrison and 25 acres of land for setting up Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) camp.
The speakers of the protest meeting said, the indigenous peoples have been living there for hundreds years. They have been living for ages with our distinct culture, language and religion including humanistic values.
They said, it is a matter of great regret that, in order to enlarge the Ruma garrison, an initiative was taken during previous government, to confiscate 9,560 acres of land from Shengum Mouza, Pantola Mouza and Galengya Mouza under Ruma upazila. Consequently, the suspicion and anxiety were emerged among the inhabitants of the area. They said that, total amount of land of the Ruma garrison is more than 380 acres. The indigenous peoples, who have been living for ages, will be forced to leave their homesteads if there is the encroachment of 9,560 acres of lands of 3 Mouzas in the name of construction of Para-Commando Training Centre. There will be political, social and economical catastrophes including humanistic adversities. It is not rational to increase the military garrison by means of destroying public interest and existence.
They said, although apparently it seems that, there is huge capacity of lands in the region. But actually, there are hardly useful lands due to the geographically soaring character. So, there is barely land compared to the requirement of the local people. In this condition, tense of thousands of local indigenous people will be compelled to leave their habitations. Consequently, there is a mistrust and dread to be twisted an inhumane stipulation.
They urged direct intervention of Prime Minister to resolve the problem. They demanded to hold dialogue to resolve the crisis between indigenous leaders and government.
The demonstration was followed by submission of memorandum to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through the Deputy Commissioner of Bandarban district.
Kapaeeng Foundation
(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)
Shalma Garden, House # 23/25, Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone: +880-2-8190801
E-mail: kapaeeng.foundation@gmail.com, kapaeeng.watch@gmail.com

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