Oct 20, 2014

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Over 150 Families Have Lost Their Land since 1997, but District Authorities Remain Indifferent

A report by the Parbatya Chattagram Forest and Land Rights Protection Movement of Bandarban Chapter highlights that a significant number of families have been expelled from their properties since the peace accord in 1997. The local authorities seem  unwilling to tackle the issue, despite a recommendation from the Chittagong Affairs Ministry following the eviction of 22 Chak families last year.

Below is an article published by The Daily Star:

Since the 1997 signing of the Chittagong Hill Tracts peace accord, 156 indigenous families have been evicted while their ancestral land in six Bandarban mouzas grabbed by Bangalee settlers, private rubber plantation owners and horticulturists, says a report.

Submitted to the deputy commissioner on Thursday [16 October 2014], the report has been prepared by Parbatya Chattagram Forest and Land Rights Protection Movement of Bandarban Chapter.

Mostly traditional jhum cultivators, the indigenous Mro, Tripura, Marma, Chakma, and Chak families have now taken refuge in different areas of the Lama, Naikhyangchhari and Alikadom upazilas, it said.

The grabbed areas are Amtoli Mropara, Mongbichar Baching Marmapara, Charigya Tripura Karbaripara, Lulainmukh Mro Para, and Sunong Mropara of Lama; Ranghajiri Chakmapara, Dalujiri Marmapara, Badhurjiri Chakpara, Long-gadu Chakpara, Hamrajiri Marmapara, and Sapmarajiripara of Naikhyangchhari; and Uklingpara of Alikadom, said the report.

The Daily Star talked to two persons, Mong Ba Ching Marma and Mong Hlaching Marma, of Mongbichar Baching Marmapara who said the land grabbers had beaten them and threatened to kill them.

Locals claimed that one of the plantations was of Mohammadia Jamia Sharif. Refuting the allegation, Mohammad Anisur Rahman of Mohammadia Jamia Sharif claimed that no person had been evicted from the 500 acres of land they were working on in Sangumouza.

Thong Prey Mro, headman of Lama Sangumouza, told The Daily Star that the grabbers would not stop if the authorities concerned do not take stern action.

 “We have informed the district administration several times but in vain,” said Thoaihla Aung Marma, headman of Eidgharmouza.

Mongthoai Prue Marma, headman of Alekkhongmouza, alleged that the CHT affairs ministry had recommended arrest of 14 land grabbers for evicting 22 Chak families of Naikhangchhari in 2013 but no such step had been taken.