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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Indigenous peoples’ land grabbing by influential land grabbers intensified

18 hurt in a clash between BGB and indigenous villagers regarding land disputes in Dighinala

On 10 June 2014, at least 18 people including several women were injured in a clash between indigenous peoples and members of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) over setting up of a battalion headquarters in Dighinala upazila of Khagrachari district.

It is reported that on that day when BGB personnel tried to plant a flag at the proposed site of the camp at Babuchara under Dighinala upazila, dozens of indigenous women protested, and got into an altercation with the BGB men saying the land belonged to them. The argument led to clashes that left several indigenous people and BGB members wounded. Police later went to the spot, and fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells to bring the situation under control. 

Indigenous villagers claimed that BGB has taken an initiative to acquire 31.63 acres of land belonging to the people of three indigenous villages namely Santosh Kumar Karbari Para, Gobinda Karbari Para and Notun Chandra Karbari Para in Dighinala upazila in Khagrachari district in order to establish battalion Headquarters. There is not only land of indigenous families, there is land of a primary school and Buddhist temple. As a result of this initiative, at least 21 indigenous families were evicted and lose their ancestral lands. The primary school where 200 students are studying was already closed down. There is a helipad, an Ansar camp and an army camp on 5.20 acres of land in the identified area. The helipad was established on 2.00 acres of recorded land of one Bajaram Chakma, the army camp was constructed on the 2.20 acres recorded of land of late Lalit Mohan Chakma and the Ansar camp was set up on 1.00 acre of recorded land of Mano Ranjan Chakma. BGB claimed that as per government rules, they acquired the land for the BGB at Babuchhara in 1991. Fearing eviction, local indigenous people filed a writ petition with higher court against the move.

On 12 June 2014, BGB filed a false case against 100 unknown local indigenous Jumma people due to camp vandalism. In this case, BGB included two dead persons and one lawyer as defendant in order to harass them. On that day local indigenous people brought out a procession against setting up BGB camp in Dighinal upazila. On 13 June 2014, police arrested Pradip Chakma and another unknown Jumma person of Jotno Kumar Karbari Para on their way work. Police also raided their village and closed their village road down.

Kapaeeng Foundation

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