Jul 14, 2004

Chittagong Hill Tracts: New Muslim Settlers occupying Land in CHT

More than 100 new settler families arrived in Lalchari area in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in the beginning of this month
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More than 100 new Muslim settler families arrived in Lalchari area under Ramgarh sub-division in Khagrachari hill district in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in the beginning of this month. They reportedly occupied indigenous lands in the area and built foundations for house construction.

On 11 July 2004, Jumma indigenous activists destroyed some foundations of the houses.

Hundreds of Muslim settlers led by MP and CHT Development Board chairman Md. Abdul Wadud Bhuyan organized a rally in Ramgarh on last Sunday to protest the incident under the banner of the Parbatya Sama Adhikar Andolan (CHT Equal Rights Movement), an organization of the Muslim settlers.

The administration is, as usual, trying to settle the new settlers families in the area.

Tension is mounting in Ramgarh over the issue.

The Bangladeshi military troops patrolled the area. It signifies the threat of the military to the indigenous people. In the past, the military often collaborated settlers directly or indirectly in occupying land in the CHT.

On the other hand, hundreds of Muslim officials (government bureaucrats, military and police officers) and settlers are occupying lands along roads and highways in the CHT, said officials of the Department of Road and Highways. The news came in light in the Sangram on 7 July 2004.

The authorities have not yet released 13 indigenous political and student activists arrested on 25 June 2004 on false charge of “terrorist activities” under Section 54 of the Bangladesh Criminal Code. They are still languishing in jail and crying for justice. BUT where is the justice!

Source: Peace Campaign Group