Bilachhari army zone put pressure on Jummas to vacate the land and sell it

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Hill Voice, 25 July 2020, Rangamati:  Recently, it has been alleged that the Belaichhari army zone in Belaichhari Upazila of Rangamati district is putting pressure on the residents of nearby Jumma villagers to vacate and sell their land for expansion of the camp road construction.

The pressure on the army to vacate and sell such land has caused deep concern among the concerned Jumma people. The Jumma villagers have even accused the army of plotting to oust them and evict them from the land.

It is to be noted that the land for which the army is pressuring the local Jumma villagers to give up and sell, include the homesteads of Jumma villagers, as well as pig-rearing places and fringe lands.

According to local sources, on 15 July 2020, a group of army of Bilachhari zone went to the house of Alok Jyoti Chakma (40) living in Ward No. 4 of Bilachhari Sadar Union and asked him to immediately vacate the pig rearing place adjacent to his house. Army also said they would need the land to build a bridge for their movement and villagers have to vacate the land.

It is to be noted that the original owner of the land is Bharati Rani Dewan. However, Alok Jyoti Chakma, the eldest son of Bharati Rani Dewan’s sister Minarani Chakma, is currently living there and looking after the place.

Then on 17 July 2020, the army called Alok Jyoti Chakma and his cousin Uttam Chakma (48) to the Bilachhari army zone. When Alok Jyoti Chakma and Uttam Chakma went to the Bilaichhari army zone, the army offered to sell their land to Alok Jyoti Chakma and Uttam Chakma to build their road. But Alok Jyoti Chakma and Uttam Chakma did not agree to the proposal.

Besides, the army have also called on former Vice Chairman of Bilachhari Upazila Parishad Amritasen Tanchangya and his relatives in Bilachhari army zone offered to sell their land for expansion of the camp.

Others who have been pressured by the army to sell their land are: Secretary of Bilachhari Union Anil Kanti Tanchangya (52), son of late Hirot Moni Tanchangya; Shantimoy Chakma alias Dunchai (48), son of late Gaukul Chandra Chakma; Birik Kumar Thanchangya (42), son of Rangabicha Tanchangya; Bashundhara Chakma (45), wife of Rabindranath Tanchangya; Rangabi Chakma (30); Jyotipal Bhikkhu (26), son of Barun Chakma (Karbari); Shanta Tanchangya (35). The owners have houses and a pig farm in the place.

It is learnt that there is deep uncertainty, anxiety and resentment among the local Jumma villagers over the army’s proposal to vacate and sell the land. They said that they can’t accept it, but they can’t tell this to anyone.

Moreover, in the name of suppressing terrorism in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in recent times and on the pretext of dealing with Covid-19 coronavirus, the army’s atrocities and activities have increased in the hills, hence people are afraid to open their mouths and tell anything truth. So, the villagers are deeply concerned about army pressure for land, according to local sources.

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