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Conspiracy case lodged against indigenous villagers by Lama Rubber Industries

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Hill Voice, 27 August 2022, Bandarban: Although the local indigenous Tripura and Mro villagers have been subjected to land grabbing and eviction attempts by the “Lama Rubber Industries Limited” known as land grabbers in Sarai Union of Lama Upazila under Bandarban district, but on the contrary Tripura and Mro communities have been accused of being victims of conspiracy cases of the rubber company.

On August 23, 2022, the leaders of the Lama Sarai Bhumi Raksha Sangram Committee on behalf of Tripura and Mro villagers informed about the filing of this case against the local indigenous villagers by Lama Rubber Industries Limited. The victims expressed deep concern over the incident of filing case.

It is learnt on August 14, 2022 Deputy Manager of Lama Rubber Industries Limited Md. Abdul Malek has filed this case in the court of Senior Judicial Magistrate of Bandarban as the plaintiff. In the case, 11 villagers including convener of Bhumi Raksha Sangram Committee Rangdhajan Tripura, Karbari Rengyen Mro, Karbari Langkom Mro and 15/20 unknown persons have been charged. The case was filed under the sections 109/143/447/379/427/506/34 of Panel Code of Bangladesh.

It is to be noted that the authorities of Lama Rubber Industries Limited have been trying to expropriate the remaining 400 acres of Jum farms, plantations and land belonging to the indigenous villagers of Langkom Mro Karbari Para, Joychandra Tripura Karbari Para and Rengyen Mro Karbari Para of Sarai Union of Lama for a long time with the help of hired land grabbers. In this situation, 200 men and women of 39 families of these three indigenous villages inhabited by Mro and Tripura ethnic groups are now in fear of eviction.

The villagers said that they have been making a living by farming and gardening in the 400 acres of land of villages for generations. But suddenly in 2019, a company named Lama Rubber Industries started trying to take possession of those lands of Jumma villagers in the name of rubber plot. When the villagers resisted, the company gang threatened with lawsuits, assaults, murders and the police. Since then, company people tried to occupy the land of indigenous villagers by engaging laborers against the villagers several times.

Earlier, Lama Rubber Industries Limited occupied 1,600 acres of land under lease in Natun Para, Dhenkichara Para and Noa Para of Sarai Union’s Doluchari Mouza. As a result, hundreds of families in three villages in the area are under threat of eviction.

It is to be noted that the land grabbers of the rubber company cut down plantations and trees including various fruit trees of the indigenous people in order to occupy 400 acres of Jum farming land of local Mro and Tripura on April 9, 2022 and set fire to Jum land and village forest on April 26, 2022. Then on July 13, 2022, the affected village leader Rangdhajan Tripura was attacked and seriously injured. On the afternoon of August 10, 2022, the newly built Ashoka Buddhist Bihara of Rengyen Karbari village was attacked and vandalized with sharp weapons and sticks, and two Buddha images were looted.

On August 16, 2022, a meeting was held with the villagers of Mro and Tripura communities regarding the land dispute caused by Lama Rubber Industries Limited at the Deputy Commissioner’s office under the chairmanship of the Minister of CHT Affairs Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing and in the presence of the District Commissioner Yasmin Parvin Tibriji and other concerned leaders. In the meeting, CHT Minister Bir Bahadur and Deputy Commissioner Yasmin Parvin Tibriji proposed allotment of only 5 acres of land per family against the traditional 400 acres of village and Jum farm land demanded by the Mro and Tripura villagers, but the indigenous Mro and Tripura representatives rejected the proposal. Mro and Tripura representatives termed the judgment/proposal of the CHT Minister and Deputy Commissioner as one-sided and biased. As a result, the meeting ended without any decision and resolution.

The leaders of Lama Sarai Bhumi Raksha Sangram Committee said that despite the conspiracy case, they will continue their agitation till their demands are met. They expressed firm conviction that they will not allow any conspiracy to take away their land.

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