Indigenous peoples’ land grabbing by influential land grabbers intensified in first six months of 2014, 74 families evicted, 11 families attacked& 42 injured

Indigenous peoples’ land grabbing in Bangladesh by influential land grabbers with the support of local administration has significantlybeen intensified in January-June 2014.During this time, over 242.03 acres of lands in the CHT were grabbed or wentunder process ofoccupation and acquisition.Besides, 95families were evicted from their homesteads and 400families including 79 families in the plains were under threat to eviction. A total of 11families were attacked in the plains with an aim to occupy land of indigenous peoples. 42indigenous persons including womenwere either assaulted or injured during these attacks.

It is worth mentioning that Bangladesh government has failed to address land rights of indigenous peoples, which left thousands of indigenous peoples homeless both in CHT and the plains. The major threat ofdisplacement from their homesteads and farmlands is land grabbing. Due to lack of government initiatives, they continue to be dispossessed of their lands by Bengali settlers and influential land grabbers with direct patronization of local administration. An increasing influx of other actors such as private corporations, criminal syndicates, and politically powerful individuals hasalso been worseningthe problem.

Even government itself ignores the fact that under international human rights laws, indigenous peoples have right to their ancestrallands. This is not only denying indigenous peoples’ access to their ancestrallands but also leading to frequent violent clashes between indigenous and mainstream Bengali population.

The government of Bangladesh affirmed, in the second cycle of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Bangladesh held in Geneva on the 29 April 2013, to undertake measures to end the culture of impunity and strict actions to punish the perpetrators who commit human rights violations.There has been no illustration where the culprit got punishment for committing human rights violation against indigenous peoples in Bangladesh. In most of the cases, the perpetrators remained out of justice. Thus, the indigenous victims are always deprived of justice. Such lack of access to justice opens the pathways for the offenders to become more interested to grab indigenous peoples’ lands andcommit brutal acts against indigenous peoples.

The land-related incidents during last six months are as follows:

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 Dighinalaupazila of Khagrachari district.Indigenous villagers claimed that BGB has taken an initiative to acquire 31.63 acres of land belonging to the people of three indigenous villages in Dighinalain order to establish battalion Headquarters. 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. BGB claimed that as per government rules, they acquired the land for the BGB at Babuchhara in 1991. [For details, please see]

Indigenous Khasi villagers attacked by land grabbers in Moulvibazar, 20 injured, Adivasi rights activists protest

On 30 May 2014, the Bengali land grabbers attacked on 79 Khasi families at Nahar Punji-1, a hilltop village of the indigenous Khasi people in Srimangalupazila under Moulvibazar district with an aim to grab the land belonging to Khasi people. The attackers occupied newly built but unfinished houses belonging to Khasi people. They also tried to build the house using their house building materials that they brought with them.[For details, please see]

Bengali settlers attempt to grab Jum land in Longadu

On 16 May 2014 in the morning a group of Bengali settlers of Bhaibonchara bazaar area of Longadu union under Longaduupazila in Rangamati Hill district made an attempt to grab Jum land owned by local Jumma people and erected three houses on that land. The security forcespersonnel ordered the local Jum cultivators to be present intheir camp thefollowing day with title documents. Following the army patrol, a group of Bengali settlers numbering 20-30 went to that Jum land where the local Jum cultivators are growing Jum crops.[For details, please see]

Barbaric attack on 4 indigenous Santal men of Nababgonj in Dinajpur

On 9 May 2014, four indigenous Santal workers of Sreerampur village under Nawabgonjupazila of Dinajpur district were attacked by a group of land grabbers headed by Mohammad Mahabur Rahman and Mohammad Hafijur Rahman while they were loading paddy on a vehicle. The culprits encircled the victims and started beating them up and taken to the Kazipara Bazar. Then the perpetrators tied hands and legs of victims with ropes and hanged them upside down froma tree. The culprits beat the indigenous men inhumanly with iron rods until making them senseless. Then the criminals left the spot immediately. The eyewitnesses and local people rescued them from the scene and sent them to Dinajpur Medical College Hospital for better treatment. [For details, please see]

Attack on an indigenous Koch family in Mymensingh, 2 injured

On 9 May 2014, a group of miscreants attacked on an indigenous family at Chatiyarchala village of Kachina union under Bhalukaupazila in Mymensing district. During the attack, two statues of Hindu Goddess were also vandalized by the attackers. The attackers vandalized the temple and two statues of the Goddess.[For details, please see]

Indigenous people attacked by land grabbers with an intention to grab their land in Pabna, 6 injured

On 9 May 2014, miscreants attacked the house of Ram Prasad Mahato, general secretary of JatiyaAdivasiParishad, Pubna district committeeatBagalbari village under Chatmoharupazila in Pubna district. They attacked on the house all in a sudden and beaten every member of the house one by one. As a result, all the members of the house injured badly. They all went through treatment in Chatmohar Health Clinic.[For details, please see]

BGB inspect Chaltacharamouza to set up a camp on the land belonging to Jumma families in Matiranga

On 6 May 2014, Polashpur Zone Commander of 29th Battalion of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Lt. Cornel Mokhlesur Rahman with his battalion made a survey at 207 Chaltacharamouza under Matirangaupazila in Khagrachari district. It was reported that, the BGB surveyed the land to acquire it for setting up a BGB camp on this land. Accordingly, the commander arranged the paper documents for settlement on the land. However, at present any kind of land settlement is not allowed in CHT.[For details, please see]

Buddhist monks protest move to acquire 25 acres of land for establishment of BGB camp in Bandarban

On 4 May 2014, the local Buddhist community of Ramjadi temple area in Bandarban staged a human chain and protested against alleged land grabbing of Buddhist temple in Tarasamouza under Rowangchariupazila in Bandarban district by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB). The land, which has been selected for establishing BGB sector headquarters in Bandarban, is originally owned by local indigenous peoples and Ramjadi Buddhist Temple. The monks of Ramjadi Buddhist Temple and local community have urged the government not to allocate the land to the BGB as several historical structures including Ramjadi temple, meditation center etc. are situated in that area.[For details, please see]

Building the statue of Lord Buddha hindered in Baghaichari

On 30 April 2014, upazila administration imposed section 144 in that area for an uncertain period of time. Local security and civil administration of Baghaichariupazila hindered the local people from building a statue of Lord Buddha in Ajalchug Temple area in Baghaichariupazila under Rangamati district. It is learnt that local indigenous people of Bongaltali union under Baghaichariupazila started to build a 10 feet high Lord Buddha statue in Todekmarakijing temple area. On 28 April, soon after the building of the statue began, warrant officer of local Dui Tila army camp hindered the locals from building the statue.[For details, please see]

Miscreants attack and grab indigenous people’s land in Tanore

On 30 March 2014, a group of land grabber has grabbed 9houses of Indigenous peoples in Pachondor village under Tanoreupazila in Rajshahi district. The miscreants forcefully evicted the indigenous peoples from their lands and vandalized their houses showing a court order. Later it was learnt that the miscreants produced false court documents with an intention to grab the lands of indigenous people.[For details, please see]

Laden Group grabs huge lands belonging to indigenous people in Lama, 74 families evicted & 221 families threaten of eviction

In March 2014, more than a hundred Rohingyas led by Laden Group forcefully evicted and occupied 175 acres of lands belonging to 74 indigenous families of Faisakhali union under Lama upazila in Bandarban that include villages and lands for fish farming, horticulture, forestry, and rubber plantation. Reportedly 74 families belonging to Mro, Tripura, Marma and permanent Bengali communities from six villages of Faisakhali union have already been evicted by the land grabbers. The activities of Laden Group, however, did not limit within land grabbing only, but they were coupled with other forms of human rights violations like killing, rape, torture, and forced religious conversion etc., as alleged by the locals. On 21 May 2014, the victims submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of government of Bangladesh. On behalf of victims, 237 signatories made an appealfor quick intervention regarding this matter.[For details, please see]

Local UP chairman grabs land belonging to indigenous Oraon peoples in Sylhet

Illegal land grabbing poses a huge threat to the livelihood and welfare of plain land indigenous peoples. On the 18 February 2014, a small indigenous Oraon community noticed a group of five to ten people on their land, who had brought building materials and begun illegally construction of a house on land belonging to the Oraon community. Immediately after noticing the land grabbers, a member of the Oraon community contacted the Executive Director of ECDO seeking assistance.[For details, please see]

Rakhaine people threaten of eviction from their ancestral land in Kuakata

In Kuakata of Patuakhali district, indigenous Rakhine people are losing their traditional lands continuously. There is an influential section of mainstream population who always try to grab the land of indigenous people using their power and muscle. Most of the time they use the tactics of arranging fake documents, fake ownership, lodging false case forintimidation and attacks while grabbing lands of indigenous peoples. Moreover, there is an allegation against the corrupt officials of local land office to have involvement in this regard with this vested group of the dominant circle. Following this type of illegal arrangement in Patuakhali region, most of the Rakhaine families have lost their lands and, many of them already left and forced to resettle elsewhere, even in Myanmar.[For details, please see]

BGB start cleaning jungle to setting a camp in Rumaupazila

Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) initiated to acquire land belonging to indigenous peoples for settling up a camp at Bethel and Betlehem village under Rumaupazila in Bandarban district. If the BGB set up their camp in Bethel and Betlehem areas more than 100 families will be damaged and their livelihood will be hampered. On 24 January 2014 the Indigenous Peoples submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of Government of Bangladesh.[For details, please see]