Communal attack on indigenous Santalvillage by Bengali land grabbersin Dinajpur, 25 houses gutted and 65 houses vandalised& looted

On 24 January 2014 an indigenous Santal village named Chirkuta (Habibpur) under Mostafapurunion of Parbotipurupazilain Dinajpur district went under attack allegedly by a group of Bengali land grabbers. The land grabbers looted and vandalized all the houses and belongings of indigenous peoples, leaving all indigenous families literally destitute.

It is learnt that on the day of incident at around 7.30 am, ZahurulIslam(50) and his brother ZiarulMandal,both sons of late Mohammad Ali, from Habibpur under Parbotipurupazila in Dinjapur district went to work on 19 acres land of Joseph Tudu and his family. When Joseph Tudu and his family members came to know about the incident, they tried to stop alleged land grabbers and some altercation took place between two groups. At some point around a dozen of Bengalisjoined in favor of Jahurul’s family and the feud turned violent. As a result,someSantals villagers were forced to shot arrows in order to defend themselves. Later,Zahurul’s son SafiulIslam Sohag (22)was found dead. Besides, some Santal villagers namelyRakibTudu, Ruben Tudu and KabluTuduwere injured in the clash.

After learning about the incident, hundreds ofBengalis encircled wholeChirakuta village with locally made weapons includingramda, machete, sharp knife, and dagger. However, they did not attack until police held 19 Santalmen.After police took those people, the assailants broke over the Santal houses — they set fire on at least 25 houses and vandalized 65 houses of Santal villagers and looted all the belongings of indigenous villagers including food, kitchen utensils, furniture, cattle and tube wells, leaving each and every indigenous family literally destitute.The attackers also set fire on a primary school run by Caritas-Bangladesh.Beside, in the attack, oneMikhalinaMurmu (28), a pregnant indigenous woman, and one MikhaelTudu were tortured and survived serious injury. Both of them werelater admitted to Dinajpursadar hospital.

MahmudulHoque (29), the uncle of Saiful Islam Sohag, filed a case (case No. 22, dated 24/01/14) with Parbotipur police station against indigenous Santals accusing named 28 and 14 unanimous indigenous persons.On the other hand, aSantal woman victim named NilimaHembrom filed a case (case No. 29, dated 28/01/2014) against 76 identified Bengali persons and many unknown persons with Parbotipurpolice stationin connection with this incident.

Police has not arrested any of the attackers as of yet, although all the 19 indigenous persons who were held by the police earlier have remained under the custody of the police except for AntineusTudu, acandidate of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination, whose exam is scheduled to be held from 2nd February 2015. On 29 January, the court granted bail to until the SSC examination period.

It is mentionable that Zahurul Islam has been claiming his ownership over the land of Joseph for last few years. In this situation several talks and arbitrations took place between JoshepTudu and Zahurul Islam. The local UP chairman, police and other villagers also joined the talks. Every time Joseph Tudu showed land documents whereas Zahurul Islam failed to show any.

On 27 January, a three-member probe committee was formed byShamim Al Razi, the Deputy Commissioner of Dinajpur district to investigate the incident. The probe committee is supposed to submit their probe report within 15 days since the formation of the committee. The members of this team are Touhidul Islam, Additional District Magistrate,Dinajpur; Sushanta Sarkar, Assistant Superintendent of Police (Sadar circle), Dinajpur; and Jahangir Alam, Assistant Commissioner of Land, Parbotipurupazilla.

On 25 January, an onsite enquiry team of JatiyaAdivasiParisad (JAP) visited Chirakuta village. The team found obvious signs of demolition of indigenous houses including remnants of clay-made walls, ashes, charcoal and other debris from burning. They also found that all the indigenous men fled the village and all the young girls were sent to their relatives’ elsewhere allegedly due to the fear of police arrest and further attack by the Bengalis.

The investigation team of JAP found the evidence that the case of land grabbing was turned into a communal attack. They also claimed that although the clash was between two families, other Bengali people who were incited to make this brutal attack on indigenous Santals.

Different citizen groups and indigenous peoples’ organizations condemned the brutal attack on indigenous Santals of Chirakuta and demanded to bring all the perpetrators to justice. Indigenous peoples organizations including Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, JAP, Kapaeeng Foundation, and Bangladesh Indigenous Students Action Forum staged demonstrations to protest against the attack.

Police held following 19 indigenous Santal villagers:

  1. Barnabas Tudu, 40,
  2. HabilTudu, 55, both son of Late ManirTudu
  3. AntinuesTudu, 22,
  4. EmeliusTudu, 20, both son of Josef Tudu
  5. JibonHembrom, 22, son of VaduHembrom
  6. Khalil Tudu (Ripan), 25, son of unknown
  7. Lazarus Tudu, 20, both son of HabilTudu
  8. JuwelTudu, 22,
  9. Bifol Mardi,20, son of Noren Mardi
  10. Noren Mardi, 51,
  11. MosoiTudu, 58, son of late MohonTudu
  12. ChelsuHembrom (Rengta), 45,
  13. RenatusHembrom, 40, both son of late Regna Hembrom
  14. RakibMurmu, 32, son of SurenMurmu
  15. Romesh Soren, 50, son late Dhanai Soren
  16. AlfaskiusTudu, 43,
  17. KarlusTudu, 30, both son of GoneshTudu
  18. Bachu Barman, 38, son of late Ghutu Barman
  19. HayusTudu (Thosa), 42, son of Churkaitudu
  20. Josef Tudu, 55,
  21. MikhaelTudu, 45, both son of late RaghunathTudu
  22. AihasTudu, 45, son of ChurkaiTudu
  23. KistuTudu, 35, son of late Sam Tudu
  24. GudaiTudu, 58, son of late ManirTudu
  25. SrimonTudu, 35,
  26. NorenMastar, 42,
  27. VaduHembrom, 50, son of late ChotuHembrom
  28. BenedicTudu, 25

List of loses of indigenous Santal villagers ofChirakutavillage under Parbotipurupazilla in Dinajpur

Sl. No Name Father’s name/ Husband’s Name Age Particulars
1 Maria Hambrom Husband.  Josef Tudu 35 1 lacBDT, 10 cows,8 goats, 5 sheeps,1 pig, 40 mounds ofrice, 100 mound paddy, 1 shallowmachine,  1 Tiller, solar panel, TV, 2 big drums, 2 trunks, 1showcase,  1 dressing table, 1 tube well, land Document (20 Bighas), books, 20 Chickens,
2 PutulMurmu Husband:MarcheliusThudu 24 All domestic necessities were Arson and looted: 20 mounds of rice, 4 cows, 5 goat, 4 sheep, 10 swain, 20 chickens, 1tube well, gold made ornaments, water pot, 15 thousands BDT women were tortured.
3 Silvanus Hasda Father: Late MandalHasda, Wife : Nayami Mardi 44 1 cow, 2 bullocks, 3 goats, 5 sheep, 3 bicycles, 1 tube well, 2voriornaments,chicken and duck 10, 10 mounds of rice, 25 mounds of paddy, 5 thousand taka, 2 drums
4 KarlusThudu Father: Late Ganesh Thudu, Wife: PramilaMurmu 28 4 Cows, 4 Sheeps, 1 Cycle, 1 Tube well, Cloths, Gold, 20 mound  Rice,10 mound Paddy,  1big Dram,  5 Chair’s and tortured  women.
5 AlokThudu Father: late Johan Thudu 44 4 Cows, 1 Cycle, 1 Tube well, 1 vori Gold, 20 Swain and Chickens, Shalo Machine, 7 mound  Rice,15 mound Paddy, 20 thousand BDT. And arson houses
6 Barnabas  Thudu Father’s: Late BarkaThudu 45 3 Cows, 4 Sheeps, 6 Goats, 3 Pig, Plats, Cooking pats, Shalo Machine,   Da – boti and arson house.
7 SerkanusHasda Father’s: MandalHasda 39 Rice, Paddy, Shalo Machine, 1 Gavi, 2 Bi–Cycle, Spray Machine, 2 Dram Rice and arson houses
8 FulmuniHasda Husband: SarenMurmu 30 5 Cows, 60 Swains, 10 mounds of Rice and arson houses.
9 RenatushHembram Father’s: late RengaHembram 40 All the house burned, 70 thousands BDT. 2 cows, 1 tube well and arson houses
10 AlisabedMurmu Father’s: HairusThudu 35 1 Cow, 5 Sheep,1 Shallow Machine, By-cycle, suitcase, 5 Sarees, 12 thousand BDT. 50 plats, 3 cauldrons, 1 showcase, Tube well, 20 Biga land Document, books, , 15 Mound Rice, 5 Mounds of Paddy, 2 axes and tortured  women.
11. Bishu Mardi Father: Late Budhu Mardi 30  8 cows, 3 sack of rice, 70 thousand taka of Samittee, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
12. Ishak Mardi Father: Late Andrius Mardi 35 50 thousand taka, TV, solar panel, tube well, 2 cows, 1 cycle, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
13. Monica Hasda Husband: GudhuTudu 30 2 cows, 6 goats, tin, tube well, 2 sack of rice, 3 sack of paddy, 25 thousand taka, documents, jewelry, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
14. Sukhiya Mardi Husband: HabilTudu 25 Swiping machine, tube well, 2 cows, 4 thousand taka, 3 sack of rice, 5 sacks of paddy, 10 chickens, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
15. Robert Hembrom 40 Solar panel, tin, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
16. BimalaMurmu Husband:  Alexander Tudu 31 Swiping machine, Shallow machine,2 vans, Cycle 1, 1 lakh cash BDT, 3 mounds of rice, 3 cows, 4 goat, 4 sheep, Duck 8, Chicken 10, Metal Plate 8, Pot 10, Cooking pot 30, Drum 2, Window &door 2, ransacked and vandalized  and arson .
17. Elizabeth Hasda Husband:  Moses Tudu 35 Cow 2, Goat 3, Pork 1,, Rice 13 mound, Paddy 10 mound, 10 thousand cash BDT, blanket, tin 3 bundle, Saree-cloths, gold jewelry, ransacked and vandalized  and arson .
18. Sakhi Mardi Husband:  Laxmankisku 40 Cow 2, Goat 4, Rice 20 mound, Paddy 10 mound, 10 thousand cash BDT, blanket, tin 3 bundle, Saree-cloths, gold jewelry, ransacked and vandalized and arson.
19. MaidiTudu Husband:  Mohan Tudu 38 Cow 1, Goat 2, Rice 20 mound, cooking pot 50, Paddy 20 mound, 15 thousand cash BDT, blanket, tin 3 bundle, Saree-cloths, gold chain 1, jewelry 2 set, Drum 1, Trunk 2, tubewell 1, ransacked and vandalized  and arson .
20. Anjali Hasda Husband:  AlfanusTudu 30 Cow 4, Goat 3,Duck 10, Chicken 5,Cooking pot 10, Plate 10, Pot 20, Rice 15 mound, Paddy 20 mound, ransacked , vandalized  and arson the house.
21. MirinaHasda Husband:  KarneTudu 35 Cow 3, Goat 2, Rice 10 mound, Paddy 15 mound, ransacked, vandalized and arson the house, torture to women.
22. Pawlina Soren Husband:  HaijusTudu 35 Cow 4, Goat 5,Sheep 4, Rice 20 mound, Paddy 25 mound, Shallow machine 1, tube well 1, 15 thousand cash BDT., ransacked, vandalized and arson the house, torture to women.
23. Elizabeth Hembram Husband:  PaltanTudu 37 Cow 4, Goat 4, Rice 50 mound, Paddy 30 mound, Window & door 2 , 40 thousand cash BDT, tube well 1, ransacked, vandalized and arson the house, torture to women.
24. Rafael Mardi 45 1 cow, 4 sheep’s, 10 mound rice, paddy 10 mound, 10 thousand taka, torture women, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
25. AlfanTudhu Father: Late Ganesh Tudhu 40 4 cows, 2 goats, 4 sheep’s, 3 cycle, 1 tube well, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
26. RojinaSaren Father: Robin Hembrom 35 2 cows, 2 goats, rice 10 Mound, 1 van, 1 tube well, plates, cloths, 5 saree, torture the women and Ransacked and vandalized houses.
27. ChichiliaSaren Husband: BaburamHembrom 45 2 cows, 4 goats, rice 10 Mound, 10 thousand taka,1 tube well, saree, cloths, plates, table, chair,torture the women and Ransacked and vandalized houses.
28. BaburamHembrom Father: Late JethaHembrom 40 2 cows, plates and Ransacked and vandalized houses.
29. ChurkaiTudhu Ftaher: Late DhanuTudhu 75 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
30. HaijhusTudhu Father: JoyakimTudhu 43 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
31. AinesSaren Wife: Ana Tudhu 45 6 cows, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
32. NilimaHembrom 30 2 cows, beds, laps, plates, 15 saree, rice, dal, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
33. SagorHasda Father: Late SufolHasda 40 6 cows, 2 goats, 3 sheeps’, 3 sacks of rice, potato’s, 70 thousand taka, tube well, torture the women, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
34. Shyamal Mardi Father: Budhu Mardi 35 2 cows, 2 goats, rice, plates, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
35. Bimal Mardi Father: Budhu Mardi 40 8 cows, 3 sacks of paddy, 7 thousand taka, tube well, torture the women, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
36. Juliana Hasda(Widow) Husband: Late JuliasHembrom 42 Chickens, clothes, Ransacked and vandalized houses.
37. SariyokusHembrom Father: Ganesh Hembrom 30 Tin, Tube Well, 2 Cows, Plates and Cooking Pots, Rice-Dal etc.
38. Moshe Hembrom Father: Late HopnaHembrom 40 2 Cows, 50 Thousand Taka, Doors, Trunk, Tube Well, Box, Tin, ransacked and vandalized houses.
39. Bimal Mardi Father: Late Kanai Mardi 60 3 Cows, 5 sack of paddy, 2 sack of rice, ransacked and vandalized houses.
40. Jasim Mardi Father: Madal Mardi 40 5 cows, 3 sack of rice, ransacked and vandalized houses.
41. Bujru Mardi Father: Majhi Mardi 30 Paddy 12 Mound, 8 thousand taka, 12-bundle tin, ransacked and vandalized houses.
42. Maria Murmu (widow) Father: Mohan Tudu 45 1 Cow, Tin, Tube Well, Plates and Cooking Pots, Rice-Dal etc.
43. CarotineMurmu Father: Mohan Tudu 32 Burn the house, ransacked and vandalized houses.
44. Ramesh Saren Father: DhamaiSaren 50 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
45. ChalchusHembrom Father: KarlusHembrom 48 Burn, ransacked and vandalized houses.
46. SagorHasda Father: SufolHasda 30 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
47. Kenaram Mardi Father: Bijen Mardi 32 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
48. Bimal Mardi Father: Budhu Mardi 30 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
49. PaskalTudu Father: ManirTudu 50 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
50. HabilTudu Father: ManirTudu 48 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
51. RobenHembrom Father: BudhuHembrom 40 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
52. Simon Mardi Father: Budhu Mardi 32 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
53. AlsenHembrom Father: ChutuMurmu 35 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
54 . AlexchisHembrom Father: Nicolas Hembrom 30 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
55. MariumHasda Dulu Mardi 48 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
56. MondolHembrom HoknaHembrom 42 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
57. BishwanathHembrom Father: HoknaHembrom 60 Ransacked and vandalized houses.
58. Mekanur Hembr0m Father: JuliamHembrom 40 Ransacked and vandalized houses.