Bengali settlers’ attempt to occupy farming land of Jummas and threatening in Kaptai

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Hill Voice, 8 July 2023, Rangamati: It has been alleged that the Bengali settlers from No.2 Kengrachari union of Bilaichari upazila under Rangamati district have been attempting to forcefully occupy at least 24 acres of fringe land belonging to 12 Jumma families in No.4 Kaptai Union area of nearby Kaptai Upazila.

Even, there is such allegation that the Bengali settlers have been obstructing the Jummas to farm in their own land and threatening of bloodshed if they would not refrain doing so.

As per locals, on July 3, 2023, Pulak Kumar Tanchangya (34) son of Noa Muni Tanchangya and Daya Man Chakma (68) son of late Kinadhan Chakma, residents of Kilyachari Bhabana Kendra Para village of No.3 Ward of Kaptai Union of 130 Barudgola Mouza, went to work hiring 20 labourers to prepare their fringe land.

While working is on, running UP member Md. Rabiul, son of late Rafiqul, along with 40/50 settlers from Kengrachari settler area of No.2 Kengrachari union of neighbouring Bilaichari upazila, went to the spot and forbid the Jummas to work and threatened that if the work is not stopped there would be a bloodshed.

At that moment, the Bengali settlers threatened the Jummas saying that all the adjacent lands would be in their custody or there would be another massacre there. The settler further said that they would take the matter to CO (Commanding Officer) of the local army zone and the CO would give a rightful solution.

The landowners, victims by the Bengali settlers are- 1. Pulak Kumar Tanchangya (34) son of Noa Muni Tanchangya, 1 acre of his land, 2. Daya Man Chakma (68) son of late Kinadhan Chakma, 1 acre of his land, 3. Nijal Kumar Tanchangya (36) son of Hanuman Tanchangya, 1 acre of land, 4. Abimanyu Tanchangya (48) son of late Shubong Tanchangya, 3 acres of his land; 5. Rajin Kumar Tanchangya (33) son of Shubong Tanchangya, 2 acres of his land; 6. Gunabir Chakma (31) son of Bimal Chakma, 2 acres of his land; 7. Dhananjoy Chakma (35) son of Bimal Chakma, 2 acres of his land; 8. Tarun Jyoti Chakma (41) son of Bimal Chakma, 2 acres of his land; 9. Litan Chakma, 1 acre of his land, 10. Renu Kumar Tanchangya (42) son of late Hanaman Tanchangya, 3 acres of his land; 11. Nayan Kumar (27) son of Alang Tanchangya, 3 acres of his land; 12. Melo Tanchangya (55) wife of Alang Tanchangya, 3 acres of her land. They all are the residents of Kilyachari Bhabana Kendra Para Village of No.3 Ward in Kaptai Union.

The villagers have the allegation that even earlier on February 7, 2023 around 34 acres of fringe lands belonging to 12 Jumma villagers of Kilyachari Bhabana Kendra Para Village were forcefully occupied by a group of Bengali settlers, under the leadership of No.3 Ward member Mahar Ali and No.2 Ward member Nazrul of No.2 Kengrachari Union with the direct instigation of Lt. Col. Md. Ahsan Habib Naseem, CO of BIR 32 Bengal of Army. Depriving the Jummas, the lands were given to about 40/50 Bengali settler families by the army and settler leaders.

The victim Jumma families are- 1. Amar Chakma (36) son of late Alindra Chakma, 2 acres of his land, 2. Nirmal Tanchangya (42) son of Charan Tanchangya, 4 acres of his land, 3. Komata Tanchangya (45) son of KachaTanchangya, 3 acres of his land, 4. Binotri Tanchangya (48) wife of Galaya Tanchangya, 3 acres of her land, 5. Kala Muni Tanchangya (50) son of Keshajya Tanchangya, 4 acres of his land, 6. Mangal Jyoti Tanchangya (38) son of Nandi Gopal Tanchangya, 4 acres of his land, 7. Indu Kumar Chakma (62) son of Godaram Chakma, 4 acres of his land, 8. Karuna Mukhi Tanchangya (45) wife of Chiron Jit Tanchangya, Resham Bagan, 5 acres of her vland, 9. Priyadarshi Tanchangya (52) son of Adi Chandra Tanchangya, 2 acres of his land; 10. Sanjoy Tanchangya son of Nil Chandra Tanchangya, 1 acre of his land, 11. Samiran Tanchangya (40) son of Bira Muni Tanchangya, 1 acre of his land, 12. Nilu Kumar Tanchangya (47) son of Rajendra Tanchangya, 2 acres of his land.

A villager said on condition of anonymity that now a days, the Jumma people including the local old settled Bengalis are forced to live in a suffocating state as the military administration have a one-eyed support to the Bengali settlers in such every case. Without skipping a day, the army conduct operations and searches in somewhere of the upazila, forcing the Jumma people to live under pressure and in a fearing state.

A local rights activist who did not want to be named said that the permanent residents including Jummas have been possessing and enjoying the fringe lands for ages. As per provision of CHT Accord and Land Disputes Settlement Commission, only the Jummas have the right to own these fringe lands.

Nevertheless lately, the Bengali settlers have been forcibly occupying these lands from the Jummas with the help of the army violating of the CHT Accord and Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act. If the practice goes on, there will inevitably be a conflict in Chittagong Hill Tracts.