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Thursday, March 22, 2012

News from plain land indigenous: JAP demands security of lives and properties of indigenous peoples in north Bengal

News from plain land indigenous: JAP demands security of lives and properties of indigenous peoples in north Bengal amid recent communal attack on them



Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) demanded security of lives and properties of indigenous peoples living in north Bengal of Bangladesh and urged government to take urgent action against those land grabbers and miscreants who are involved with recent communal and arson attack, kidnapping and robbery on localities of indigenous peoples.

JAP, an indigenous peoples’ organistion working in north Bengali, raised this demand in a press conference organised on 17 March 2012 at Public Library hall in Rajshahi district. President of Rajshahi district committee of JAP Bimal Chandra Rajoar read out a press statement while central president of JAP Rabindranath Soren and presidium member of JAP Anil Marandi, among others, were present in the conference.

JAP, in its press statement, said that there are 38 ethnic indigenous communities including Santal, Oraon, Munda, Rajoar, Teli, Turi, Bhuiyan with around 200,000 population living in Rajshahi district for centuries. Though one day indigenous peoples of this region had huge land property, but at present they became vain and landless due to continuous dispossession of their land. A vested group of land grabbers of mainstream population with the help of corrupted government employees have been occupying indigenous peoples’ land by making fake land document or by conducting heinous attack on them. In most cases, the local administration including police took side with the land grabbers who belong to mainstream population and who are influential in all respects.

JAP alleged that very recently land grabbers and miscreants intensified their attack, kidnapping and arson on indigenous peoples with the intention to occupy land of indigenous villagers. For instances-
(a) On 13 February 2012 and 26 February 2012 land grabber Kamal Rabbi and his gang made attack on the house of Rameshwar Baske at Saguna Jiban Para of Pakri union under Godagari upazila in Rajshahi district. In this attack, the wall of the house was destroyed. Again, on 28 February 2012 Kamal Rabbi and his gang set fire on Jamin Hasda’s house of same village. On 1 March 2012 Rameshwar Baske lodged a case (no. 1/53) against Kamal Rabbi with Godagari model police station. Simultaneously, indigenous villagers organised human chain and submitted memorandum to Upazila Executive Officer of Godagari upazila (sub-district) demanding to arrest Kamal Rabbi and his gang and to bring them under justice. But the police did not take any action against the culprits. The perpetrators is moving around openly and threatening the indigenous villagers to death.
(b) On 7 January 2012 an indigenous girl named Rina Soren from Fulbari villager of Rishikul union under Godagari upazila was abducted and raped by Md. Alauddin. A case (no. 15) was filed against Md. Alauddin of Alokchhatra village of same union on 13 January 2012 with Godagari model police station. But the police did not take any action against Md. Alauddin. Besides, local influential of mainstream population put pressure on indigenous villagers to come up with a compromise on this incident.
(c) On 16 March 2012 a land grabber named Md. Rabiul with the help of police led by SI Mahbubur Rahman from Premtali police outpost under Godagari police station tried to occupy 13 bighas of homestead of Jadu Roy Bhuiyan of Shiyala village of Matikata union under Godagari upazila. On that day, Md. Rabiul was present there with a tractor to cultivate the land. SI Mahbubur Rahman ordered Jadu Roy Bhuiyan to leave the land arguing that the land was given settlement to Md. Rabiul. Learning this, villagers including indigenous women became agitated and run after SI Mahbubur Rahman and Md. Rabiual. Though indigenous villagers prevented land grabbers from occupying land, but Jadu Roy Bhuiyan is passing days with insecurity as the land grabbers are threatening him to death. Jadu Roy Bhuiyan lodged a case with local court against the land grabbers, but the court is yet to pass any order in this regard.
(d) On 16 January 2012 a group of miscreants belong to mainstream population beat an indigenous woman at Kaktiya village of Mohanpur union under Godagari upazila while the victim went to bring water from a pond. The neighbours of mainstream population are forbidding indigenous villagers from using the pond. The police did not accept any case while indigenous villagers tried to file case with Godagari model police station.
(e) On 16 March 2012 Md. Kajim s/o late Abdul Majid of Sundarpur Daldala village of Kakanhat municipality under Godagari upazila tried to rape an indigenous woman named Basana Bala w/o Bhuttu Sardar of same village. It is learnt that on that day around 7.30 pm the victim went out to bring water from nearby tube-well and at that time seeing her alone Md. Kajim grabbed her from back side and tried to rape. However, the local villagers rushed there while the victim was shouting. On 17 March 2012 Basana Bala filed a case (no. 16) in connection with this incident against Md. Kajim with Godagari police station. Police arrested the culprit and sent to jail him.
Protesting against these recent atrocities committed by land grabbers and miscreants of mainstream population on indigenous peoples, JAP observed road blockade programme from Godagari-Amnura road under Godagari upazila in Rajshahi district on 20 March 2012 for 2 hours from 10 am to 12 noon. However, local administration is yet to take any action against the miscreants and to provide security of lives and properties of indigenous villagers.

The picketers and leaders of JAP put following demands-
1.      To arrest and provide examplary punishment to land grabbers, miscreants and rapists immediately;
2.      To provide settlement of land traditionally occupied and owned by indigenous peoples to them and to cancel lease of khas land and pond to the land grabbers, and to stop corruption of land office;
3.      To give back land of indigenous peoples occupied by land grabbers by making fake document or forcefully;
4.      To form a land commission as per election manifesto of grand alliance government to return back the dispossessed land of indigenous peoples;
5.      To ensure security of indigenous peoples including protection of their human rights; and
6.      To stop all kinds of oppression, suppression and harassment on indigenous peoples.

Indigenous leaders declared to surround/besiege the office of Upazila Executive Officer of Godagari upazila (sub-district) to be executed on 28 March 2012 if the administration did not arrest the perpetrators of aforesaid incidents by 27 March 2012.

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