An indigenous women activist raped and three indigenous persons including a woman killed in a week in Bangladesh

An indigenous women activist from Chapainawabganj district was raped and three indigenous persons including a woman in Dinajpur, Sherpur and Khagrachari districts were killed in a week in Bangladesh. Two incidents were committed by the miscreants with the aim to occupy victims’ lands and other two were basically incidents of violence against women. Police arrested alleged perpetrators of two incidents committed in Chapainawabganj and Dinajpur districts; however, main culprits of these atrocities are yet to be arrested. No perpetrator of the rest two incidents took place in Sherpur and Khagrachari districts was arrested.

Indigenous women leader gang raped in Chapainawabganj

On 4 August 2014 a central member of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, president of Chapainawabganj district unit, member of Parbotipur Union Council and also indigenous woman leader was raped and physically assaulted by a group of land grabbers in Gomostapur upazila under Chapainawabganj district. A case was filed with Gomostapur police station in this connection. Police arrested two alleged perpetrators. However, mastermind of the attack and alleged rapists are yet to be arrested.

On the day of the incident (4 August 2014), the victim along with workers went to work in the paddy fields near her village. At around 12:00 am, a group of miscreants composed of 30/35 people led by Afzal Hossain and Manirul Islam went to the paddy fields with sharp weapons and sticks. Then they obstructed the victim and her workers while they were working. When the victim protested, one of the land grabbers tried to stab her with a knife and another land grabber hurled a farsa (a type of long and sharp knife used for farming) towards the victim but the victim survived the attack. At that time Rezaul Karim,  (30) Akbar Ali, 25, and Akhter Hossain, 35, forcefully dragged her to an open place and raped her. The miscreants threatened the victim to kill if she files any case against them.

Shortly after the incident, the miscreants left the spot. While the miscreants were leaving, they looted all the valuables and agricultural equipment from the house of the victim including a power tiller, a shallow machine and a pair of buffalos, which would amount to around BDT 300,000. After the incident, villagers rescued the victim from the spot and admitted her to local Gomastapur health complex. When her health condition was deteriorated, she was transferred to Chapainawabganj General Hospital for better treatment.

A case was filed (case no. 4 dated 04/08/2014) with Gomostapur police station by the victim on the same day. So far, police arrested two alleged perpetrators namely Azizur Rahman, 50, and Anisur Rahman, 48. However, the masterminds of the incident namely Afzal Hossain and Manirul Islam and alleged three rapists remain scot-free up to this writing.

It is noteworthy that the victim has always been a very good organizer and remained active for the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples of her area. She has many success stories of protecting the rights of local indigenous people. Over last couple of years, the victim organized different successful movements against local land grabbers in her area and was able to restore ten acres of lands belonging to her husband from the land grabbers. Hence, land grabbers including Afzal Hossain has been threatening the victim and trying to extort BDT 300,000 from her for around a week before the incident was occurred.


An indigenous Santal man killed by land grabbers in Dinajpur

On 2 August 2014 an indigenous Santal villager named Dhudu Soren, 50, was killed by a family of land grabbers led by Abdul Goffar, 40, and Azgor Ali, 47, in Kachuya village under Kushdoho union of Nawabgonjupojela in Dinajpur district. Deceased’s family said that land-related disputes are the reasons behind the killing.

The witnessed said that on the day of incident, Dhudu Soren went to Kushdoho bazaar to repair his bicycle early in the morning. On his way back home at about 8:00 am, a resident of the Kachuya village named Ajgor Ali intentionally pushed him and threw him from the bicycle. Then Ali dragged him to his brother Abdul Goffar’s house beside of the road.

Incidentally, one Altaf Ali was present on the spot, who instantly went to inform Dhudu’s family. Rabi Soren and Milon Soren, 25, son of Dhudu Soren rushed to the place where the incident was happened after hearing the news. They were also attacked and charged stick by Ajgor Ali. As a result, they were forced to leave the place.

After a while, Rabi and Milon returned with more people and they found their father senseless near Abdul Goffar’s house. Instantly family members took him to the Phulbari Upazila Health Complex. But the doctor referred him to Rangpur Medical College Hospital, when Dhudu’s condition deteriorated. As soon as possible they took him to the medical college but could not save his life; in the afternoon, he died.

Aminul Islam, sub-inspector of Nawabganj police station confirmed the incident and said, police arrested Abdul Goffar’s wife Hawa Begum and the other family members were still on run. A case was filed by Dhudu’s elder son Rabi Soren with the Nawabgonj police station.

It is mentionable that a case was running for a long time in relation to a disputed land between Dhudu Soren and Abdul Goffar’s family. The same accused killed Dhudu’s father named Fagu Soren in 1973.


Indigenous Hajong villager killed in Sherpur

On 27 July 2014 an indigenous Hajong villager named Subal Hajong was killed in an attack by a miscreant named Abu Sayed, 41, at Deflai village under Jhinaigadi upazila in Sherpur district.

It is learnt that on that day was the Eid. The victim’s husband named Jobodhon Hajong was busy outside the house in driving rickshaw for earnings during the Eid. On 11:00 pm on that day, when the wife of Jobodhor Hajong went out of their house for toilet, Abu Syed caught her and attempted to rape forcefully. At that time victim shouted out. Hearing the scream of the victim, Subal Hajong, 60, elder brother of Jabodhor Hajong, who was sleeping at the house next to Subal’s, woke up and went to his brother’s house to rescue his sister-in-law.

In saving his younger brother’s wife, Subal Hajong had to scuffle with that miscreant and at a certain stage Subal Hajong fell down on the ground as a result of the perpetrator’s assault. After sometime Subal Hajong left his last breath on the spot. Shortly after, the perpetrator Abu Syed fled away. Based on this incident arbitration was held in Deflai village where the UP Chairman was also present. It was also learnt that a local influential group is trying to divert the matter to a different direction by threatening local indigenous people, and pretending to solve the matter in the name of arbitration. Till now, no case has been filed against the perpetrator.


Indigenous Tripura woman killed in Khagrachari

On 3 August 2014, an indigenous Tripura widow was brutally killed at Amritapara of Bhoibonchara union under Khagrachari sadar upazila in Khagrachari district. The dead body of the victim was rescued by the villagers from her house. Her body was taken to Khagrachari General Hospital for autopsy. Locals believe that the victim was killed after rape and torture. No case has been filed in this connection. Police has not been able to trace and take action against the perpetrators up to this writing.