Sep 19, 2011

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Lands Continue Being Forcibly Occupied

The Bangladeshi Government is irresponsibly allowing use of Chittagong Hill Tracts’ land for exploitation without consultation of local communities.

Below is an article published by Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources:

The lands of indigenous Khiyang community at Gungru Mukh Para under Kuhalong Mouza in Bandarban district of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) are allegedly being targeted to seize by a so-called journalist namely AKM Jahangir, a fanatic leader of Bengali settlers.

It is learnt that Mr. Jahangir took 25 acres of land for rubber plantation as lease at Chemi Dawlu Para, bordering to Gungru Mukh Para of Kuhalong Mouza. But he occupied 75 acres of land belong to indigenous Khiyang community, one of the disadvantaged ethnic groups in the CHT. Mr. Jahangir claimed that he purchased the additional 50 acres of land.

The domains of the Khiyang indigenous community located in the Kuhalong Mouza, nearby area of the border of Chemi Dawlu Mouza. He declared to place rubber plants on this land uprooting Khiyang villagers. Mr. Bacha Khiyang, a local leader of Khiyang community and ex-member of Bandarban Hill District Local Government Council said that for this purpose, Mr. Jahangir threatened Khiyang villagers to file cases against them and even to conduct communal attacks on them.

For instance, on 12 September 2011 Mr. Jahangir along with his cadres came to the house of Mr. Bacha Khiyang and threatened him for fierce consequences if he does not leave lands. 

According to the local Khiyang people, they have been living in that vicinity for more than hundred years. One Nurul Huda s/o Choiyadur Rahman of Meri Villa of Barisal district acquired 25 acres of land as lease for 40 years on 18 November 1985. In the same way, another one S M Syed took lease 25 acres of land for 40 years in 1985. But as per agreement of the leases, they never planted rubber. As failed to use land as per agreement of the lease, their lease was cancelled by the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Bandarban district in 1998. At that time, no one challenged the cancellation notice.

At present, the Khiyang villagers are passing in insecurity and at any moment Mr. Jahangir and his cadres may attack them. The local indigenous Khiyang community has submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of Bandarban district for resolving the crisis. But no initiative has been taken to resolve the dispute.