Illegal Grabbing of Jumma Land

Rapes &
Jumma Refugees
CHT Treaty
Foreign Aid

Illegal Mosque

The Bangladeshi settlers illegally occupied and built a mosque on the homestead of Betrasur Chakma at Rasik Nagar Para of Dighinala.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission followed up information of land grabbing which was presented by a refugee in the camps of India. Mr. Ranjit Narayan Tripura, aged 58, from the village of Boalkhali Jamtala Dighinala, was headmaster at the orphanage which was destroyed in 1986. He explained his case in an interview at Takumbari refugee camp in India:

"My land was forcibly taken over on 1st January 1985. At that time I was absent. I reached home on 6th January and found that these settlers had built a dwelling house on my land. My dwelling house was a little away from my orchard where I grew bananas, jackfruit, mango and such plants. Just attached to that place is Jamtala Ansar (paramil- itary) Camp. When I went to talk with the authorities there, Ansars (Islamic Guard) and army personnel prevented me from talking with them. Then on the 8th January, 1985, I went to Dighinala Cantonment and produced a petition for the commanding officer Abdar Rab - 4th Bengal Regiment and also to the UNO (Upazila Nirbahi Officer - Upazila Administrative Officer) but he did not take any steps. Abdar Rab said that he would make a compromise between myself and the settlers. One day he called both myself, Abdul Hoque and Balen Hossein and told them to leave in my presence. But after leaving the cantonment they built new houses and made space to let rooms to two Ansars from the nearby camp. The UNO did nothing. I repeatedly complained and the Commanding Officer said that my petition had been lost so I introduced it three times to him. I had to produce a petition to the UNO twice. Then one and a half years later I had to flee from my house on the 14th of June 1986. The authorities made no attempt to deal with the problem. The houses of Hoque and Hossein were not burnt in 1986."

"My wife had problems with her land. She is Birabala Pomang. Hoque and Hossein took 10 acres of her farmland by digging a pond on khatiyans (document recording land ownership) 109 and 355. My wife sent a petition to the Upazila magistrate which he did not accept. He is a judge but did not want to hear the case. He said nothing. Hoque and Hossein had forcibly acquired 1 acre and dug up a pond for his use. She wanted the case to restore the lands to her legally. Matiur Rahman, the Magistrate did nothing so they then took up other six acres."
The Commission received the kabuliat (document recording land lease) and a map from Mr. Tripura showing where his land was. The Commission decided to visit Jamtala and see what had happened to his and his wife's lands. The vehicles drove from Boalkhali to Dighinala and at the Jamtala turning there was a pond exactly as marked on the map, opposite the Ansar camp.

A group of Commission members then visited a house which was built in the middle of a banana field. According to the map, this was Mr. Tripura's land. A Bangladeshi family lived there but were reluctant to say what their names were. Finally it leaked out that the family name was Hossein.

The following day several Commission members visited the Land Records Office at the Upazila HQ, Dighinala where the khatiyan of Mr. Tripura was registered. The Commission asked to see khatiyan 490 which belonged to Ranjit Narayan Tripura son of Upendra LAl Tripura. The first entry had the following information:

"Name: Ranjit Narayan Tripura, s/o Upendra Lal Tripura. Place: No. 31 Boalkhali Mouza. Total area: 4 acres.

  1. Plot is 3rd Class Land, rent 1 Taka per acre. Demarcation: North side: Rajendra Karbari's lands; South side, Roda market and Rosi Kumar Hill School and Cora stream; East side: Biroabala Pomang's land; West side, 1st Class land and drain for 1st class land.
  2. Plot is 2nd class land, total area 1 acre with rent 2 Taka per acre. Jodhi boundary. North side: Hill; South side: Mark and pond of Maroichola Pomang; East side: Hill; and West side field of Birabala Pomang.
    Reference: Settlement case 795/80-81. The case was last registered in 1981 and is still valid.

The officials in the office explained that Ranjit Tripura was not living there. They assumed that he was a refugee in India although they had no confirmation where he was. They said that the land was vacant, nobody was there.

The Commission mentioned that on the previous day it had visited the plot and seen a Bangladeshi family. The officials said that the settlement of a Bangladeshi family there was illegal and that they were not permitted to build a house. The Commission was then told by the officials that the family had come in 1984-5 and moved onto Ranjit Tripura's land. The Bangladeshis were Abdul Hoque, Balen Hossein and Sofi Ahmed. Ranjit Tripura filed a case against Abdul Hoque in 1984-5. Abdul Hoque eventually won the case but it was not judged properly because after Ranjit Tripura had left for India, the Deputy Commissioner in Khagrachari had unilaterally allowed the Bangladeshis to remain. When the current DC in Khagrachari was asked about this he said that no one was living on the land at the time.

The land belonging to Mr. Tripura was given to Adbul Hoque and the others without local consent. The Deputy Commissioner had not consulted the headman of the village or else it would be marked in the khatiyan records. The headman had not given his consent. The Deputy Commissioner was trying to resettle Bangladeshis in the area. But legally he could not do this and officially Ranjit Tripura still holds this land.

The Commission raised the case of illegal encroachment of Hill peoples' lands by Bangladeshis several times during its visit in the Hill Tracts. The District Council in Rangamati had proposed a massive cadastral survey which would consult with local headmen to find out exactly where hill peoples' land was.

According to all the cases of land dispossession which the Commission heard both in Tripura and in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, violence, intimidation and arson are the main methods used by both the army and Bangladeshi settlers to force hill people to leave their villages. Entire villages have been forced to flee from their lands. Three different fates await them.

  1. Refuge in the jungles.
  2. Refuge in a "Neighboring Country".
  3. Cluster Villages or Concentration Camps run by military.


  1. Life is not ours: the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission