Jan 26, 2010

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Rights Activists Condemn Attack on Sanjeeb Drong

Active ImageGeneral Secretary of the Bangladesh Indigenous People’s Forum physically attacked





Below is an article published by New Age:


Rights activists and politicians on Sunday strongly condemned the attack on Sanjeeb Drong, general secretary of the Bangladesh Indigenous People’s Forum, saying that the government seems to be playing no role at all in protecting the members of the ethnic minorities.

They also demanded the prime minister’s intervention to ensure the punishment of the criminals who attacked Sanjeeb at Rannikhong in Netrokona district on Friday when he was returning from Boheratali Christian Mission by motorcycle.

The miscreants tipped over the motorcycle and hit Sanjeeb with sticks repeatedly. His hands have been seriously injured.

‘We [rights activists] feel helplessness after the attack. The attack proves that the elected government is not a democratic government,’ Haider Akbar Khan Rano, the convenor of Workers Party of Bangladesh (Reconstituted), told a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.

Gono Forum’s presidium member Pankaj Bhattacharya, Bangladesh Adivasi Odhikar Andolon’s general secretary Mesbah Kamal, Dhaka University teachers Saurav Sikdar and Rubayet Ferdous, and Sanjeeb Drong and his wife, along with others, spoke at the press conference.

Saurav Sikdar said the attack on members of the ethnic minority during the Awami League-led government’s regime has indicated how vulnerable they are in the country.

However the officer-in-charge of the Durgapur Police Station, Abdul Khaleq, told New Age that they have arrested Krishna Saha in this connection.

A Garo community leader, who attended the press conference at DRU, told New Age that the miscreants attacked Sanjeeb because of previous enmity over a land dispute.

‘Sanjeeb had earlier protested against the illegal selling of land in Mirpur area which Ershad’s government had given to the ethnic minority for building a community cultural centre,’ he said.

He said that Promad Mankin MP, who was the state minister for cultural affairs, in February 2009 allegedly sold the property for Tk 2.2 crore to a non-government organisation.

‘The sale was strongly criticised by the ethnic minority leaders and Sanjeeb played a vital role in the subsequent protests, after he was threatened several times over the phone and was finally attacked,’ he said.

He said that Supen Tojo, who was allegedly involved in the attack, is also brother-in-law of Promad Mankin.

The New Age tried repeatedly to contact Promad Mankin but failed.

Various political and cultural organisations strongly condemned the attack on Sanjeeb.

The Jatiya Adivasi Parishad’s general secretary, Rabindranath Saren, in his statement condemned the attack and urged the government to arrest the masterminds behind the incident.

Leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Indigenous Stud-ents Action Forum at a press conference in Mudhu’s Cant-een on the Dhaka University campus demanded arrest of the attackers and exemplary punishment for them.

They also brought out a procession and threatened to wage a tough movement if the culprits were not arrested immediately.

Leaders of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity on Saturday strongly condemned the attack.