Huge land grabbing by outsiders in Bandarban evicting indigenous villagers and permanent Bengali residents

Hundreds acres of lands have been occupied by outsiders in several upazilas under Bandarban district. The land grabbers occupied these lands by threatening to local Jumma and Bengali residents. The land occupiers uprooted hundreds of families of indigenous villagers and permanent Bengali residents.

Public representatives raised this allegation at law and order meeting held on 10 June 2012 at conference hall of deputy commissioner’s office in Bandarban district. Presided over by deputy commissioner of Bandarban district Tarikul Islam, the meeting was attended by chairman of CHT Development Board Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing MP as chief guest. Among others, Superintendent of Police of Bandarban district Kamrul Ahsan, additional district magistrate Ishrat Jaman, member of Bandarban Hill District Council Kazi Majibur Rahman, chairmen and upazila nirbahi officers (UNOs) of different upazilas in Bandarban district and representatives of army and Boarder Guard Bangladesh (BGB) were present in this meeting.

Some public representatives attended in the meeting expressed their grievances alleging that a retired army major named Mostofa Zaman occupied hundreds acres of land at Faitong mouza under Lama upazila in Bandarban district. The major created panic among local people by lodging one after another cases against them.

Member of Bandarban Hill District Council Kazi Majibur Rahman said that ‘We do not want to see any outsider occupied our land. The land grabbers freely occupied hundreds acres of lands owned by individuals and government. The mass protests will be sparked at any time if such land grabbing is not prevented.

Chairman of Lama upazila Mohammad Ismail alleged that retired army major Mostafa Zaman collected permanent residents certificate by forgery though he is not a permanent resident in the hill district of CHT. He occupied hundreds acres of lands at Faitong union under Lama upazila. He threatened to file case against and made physical assault on local people while they tried to oppose forcible occupation of their land. He already filed false case to harass local people, chairman said. Mohammad Ismail also informed that local people put written objection before the chairman of CHT Development Board urging to take necessary action against this army major.

Headman of Faitong mouza Umra Mong Marma also alleged that army major Mostafa Zaman is not permanent resident of his mouza. He collected permanent resident certificate by forgery (Ptothom Alo, 11 June 2012).

It is also learnt that more than 11 business companies including Destiny Group occupied thousands acres of lands recorded and owned by permanent residents of CHT including indigenous Jumma people. The business companies include Mostafa Group, Laden Group, Shahamin Group, A Alam Group, PHP Group, Meridian Group, Exim Group, Babul Group, Egme Group etc. These business companies continue to occupy lands in order to extend its business and area (Samakal, 7 June 2012).

It is also learnt that Laden group is conducting militant activities at deep forest by purchasing land illegally and planting on this land at Banapur area under Sanghu mouza of Faisiyakhali union in Lama upazila of Bandarban district. Laden group purchased around 7 thousand acres of land at Eyangcha mouza, Sanghu mouza, Banapur, Trishdeba, Gayalmara, Choumur Khal, Faitong, Faisiyakhali and Alikhyong Murung Jiri area under Lama upazila and Baishari mouza and Gumdhum mouza under Naikhyongchari upazila for this purpose (Natun Katha, 27 May 2012). Laden group is continuing its activities in the name of Muhammadiya Jamia Sharif. Headman of Faisiyakhali mouza Mong Thui Prue Marma alleged that Jamia Sharif occupied more lands of Mro, Tripura and Marma communities including his 25 acres of land (Prothom Alo, 8 June 2012).

It is alleged that Laden group is also converting indigenous children into Islam from Buddhism and Christianity by alluring facilities and financial help. They first take indigenous children in Dhaka and then convert into Islam (Natun Katha, 27 May 2012).

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