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Settlers erect house on indigenous land

In August 2007 Bangladesh army backed Muslim settlers broke into the boundary of Sadhantila Buddhist Temple in Dighinala and began erecting houses inside the temple boundary.


Bangladesh army build new Bengali settlements in hill ranges between Baghaichari and Dighinala

On 3 October 2008 at mid-night Bengali Muslim settlers of Baghaichari under Rangamati set fire on some 10-15 of their own houses and immediately informed the nearest BDR camp authority. They falsely alleged that indigenous miscreants burnt down their houses. A group of BDR rushed there and found makeshifts on ablaze, but all the household belongings were intact at the outsides. The BDR authority inquired about the incident and found it a false play.

On 6 October 2008 Muslim settlers under the banner of Sama Odhikar Andolon (SOA), a communal organisation of Muslim settlers, brought out procession at Baghaichari upazila headquarters demanding to take necessary action against indigenous people and to provide compensation to them. They also had the intention to attack the indigenous people and their houses at the upazila (sub-district) headquarter. The BDR and the police prevented them from approaching the indigenous localities. At a stage, the settler women slapped BDR and police personnel with their slippers and others felted stone. Some leaders of SOA were arrested from the spot and taken to the police station. Of them, Selim Bahari, president of the Baghaichari branch of SOA was sent to the Rangamati jail and others were set free.

The hilly range between Kassalong valley of Baghaichari upazila and Maini valley of Dighinala upazila belong to the indigenous people. As soon as state of emergency was promulgated in January 2007, the Bangladesh Army settled Bengali Muslim families from Muslim Block Para of Baghaichari upazila and Bachamarong and Betchari Muslim villages of Dighinala upazila in the said area. The Bangladesh army granted an amount of Taka 7,000 to each family for making hut and provided ration as well. By September 2008, around 100 makeshift huts were made by the Bengali Muslim settlers. In the meantime few Muslim settler families went back to their previous houses in Dighinala and Baghaichari upazilas. Many others who have good sources of income also want to return to previous locations. But the army authority is yet to allow them.


Sources:

Kapaeeng Foundation (An Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)
E-mail: kapaeeng.foundation@gmail.com, kapaeeng.watch@gmail.com

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