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
"Name: Ranjit Narayan Tripura, s/o Upendra Lal Tripura. Place: No. 31
Boalkhali Mouza. Total area: 4 acres.
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
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.
- 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.
- 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
Reference: Settlement case 795/80-81. The case was last registered in
1981 and is still valid.
- Refuge in the jungles.
- Refuge in a "Neighboring Country".
- Cluster Villages or Concentration Camps run by military.
- Life is not ours: the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission