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Land grabbing continues unabated

chtnews.com
News No. 51/2008, March 19, 2008

Forcible land grabbing and illegal settlement of Bengali people from plain districts have been reported from Dighinala and remote frontier region of Sajek under Rangamati district.

Sources in the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) said the military has begun settling 150 families over a vast area of land stretching between Baghaihat and Gongaram. The settlers are mostly from Longudu and Merung areas.

“The settlers are being planted in Baibachara, Retkaba and around Banani Bana Vihar (Buddhist temple)” a UPDF member said from Dighinala, one of the flushpoints.

He further informed that in the villages of Reserve Para, Gongadhar Karbari Para, Joy Kumar Karbari Para and Headman Para under Kobakhali Mouza in Dighinala Upazilla about 300 illegal Bengali infiltrators have been settled. “We are collecting detailed information about this illegal settlement” he added.

An activist of the Hill Watch Human Rights Forum after visiting the affected areas in Dighinala said the problem of land grabbing has become a source of great concern for the Jumma villagers. “It is the army who is masterminding the illegal land grabbing” he told chtnewss.com on condition that he would not be named in the report and added that the civil administration is pathologically biased in favour of the settlers. “There is no justice for the Jumma people who are always in the receiving end” he complained.

According to his estimate, about 350 acres of both hilly and plough land of the Jumma people have been taken away in Kobakhali, Boro Merung and Rengkarjya Mouzas in Dighinala since the state of emergency was imposed on 11 January last year. This figure however does not include the land grabbed recently in Kobakhali as referred to by UPDF leader.

HWHRF said it has compiled most of the information relating to the recent land grabbing in Dighinala and other affected areas of CHT. “But the problem is that you can’t keep pace with it; land grabbing is taking place almost everyday and people are afraid to even complain about the loss of their lands” said its field coordinator.

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