Allegation of occupation of land of Jumma villagers by Upazila Chairman Abul Kalam in Alikadam

Photo: Md. Abul Kalam, the chairman of Alikadam upazila

Hill Voice, 8 October 2021, Bandarban: Alikadam Upazila Chairman of Bandarban Hill District and Vice Chairman of Central Committee of Parbatya Chattagram Nagorik Parishad (Chittagong Hill Tracts Citizens’ Council) Md. Abul Kalam has been accused of occupying large plots of land belonging to local Jumma people on Thanchi Road in Alikadam upazila and illegally selling those lands to outsider Bengalis.

It is learnt that there is more than 1,000 acres of land traditionally owned by the indigenous Mro, Tanchangya and Tripura communities in the area from 10th km army camp to 20th km area on Thanchi road in Alikadam upazila. The Jumma people have been using these lands for plantation and Jum cultivation for ages.

But in 2011, a group led by land grabber Badiul Alam forcibly occupied that lands under Tainfa Mouza of Alikadam Upazila. But then with the help of Upazila Chairman Md. Abul Kalam and other Jumma leaders, the local Jumma villagers rescued those lands from the hands of the Badiul Alam-led land grabbers.

Recently, local Jumma people complained that Md. Abul Kalam Abul Kalam has kept these lands in his possession for a long time. He has even started selling these lands to the settlers and outsider Bengalis as his desired. Recently, many outsider Bengalis have been occupying and purchasing land on both sides of the area from Alikadam to Thanchi Road, creating various types of plantations there.

The local Jumma villagers said that there are many more villages including Uklinong Para, Sonang Para, Dharmachar Para, Domching Para, Prabhat Para, Main Karbari Para in the area under Tainfa Mouza, where many people from the indigenous community live. The people of this villages make a living by doing traditional Jum cultivation and making plantations on the 1000 acres of land.

Some villagers in Dharmachar Para and Prabhat Para, who did not want to be named, said that last year Md Abul Kalam sold trees worth lots of money every year from the hilly land and forest that he forcibly kept in his possession. Last year, he sold various species of trees worth Tk 5-6 lakh to Md Umar Faruq, a former president of the Pan Bazar Businessmen’s Association and a leader of the Alikadam Upazila Thana branch of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Citizens’ Council. He also cut down hills to build cottages in an area of 12th km area of the Alikadam-Thanchi road.