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BMSC forms human chain to protest Boroitali land grab attempts

News No. 61/2009, June 19, 2009

The Bangladesh Marma Students’ Council (BMSC) yesterday formed a human chain to protest attempts by a group of settlers to grab 300 acres of land belonging to Jumma people in Boroitali in Ramgarh. (Please see photo attached)

The leaders of the organisation also sent a memorandum to the State Minister for Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs via Deputy Commissioner of Khagrachari.

At the human chain formed at Shapla Chattor in Khagrachari town, the Marma leaders expressed concern over the systematic way the Jumma people’s lands are being taken away by illegal settlers.

“We are observing with serious concern that the CHT situation is becoming unstable again. The settlers continue to build houses after grabbing lands of the innocent Jumma villagers. This has become a regular phenomenon.” said Upasing Marma, President of BMSC Khagrachari District Unit.

Mongshi Prue Marma, another BMSC leader, said the settlers had been constructing houses in Boroitali village under Hapcahri Union in Ramgarh after taking away Hill people’s lands.

Mr. Marma accused a certain state agency of instigating the settlers to go about grabbing other people’s lands.

Legal adviser of the BMSC, Upathoai Marma termed the settlers’ attempt to grab lands as violation of the constitution of Bangladesh and human rights law.

He condemned the use of the settlers as human shield and as a mean to destroy Jumma people’s age old tradition and culture.

Ming Prue Chai Marma of BMSC Chittagong Metropolitan Committee urged the authorities to stop instigating the settlers.

In the memo addressed to the state minister for CHT Affairs, the BMSC leaders made the following demands:

  1. to take immediate steps to stop attempts by settlers to build houses on lands belonging to Jumma people in Boroitali;
  2. to constitute a high level parliamentary committee to investigate the incidents taking place Boroitali area;
  3. to settle land disputes through the CHT land commission with emphasis being laid on the traditional land use system of the Jumma people; and
  4. to try all cases relating to human rights violations including illegal land grabbing, incidents of communal riots and rape of Jumma women in the CHT.

The memorandum was signed by the President and General Secretary of BMSC Khagrachari District unit.

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