Hill Voice, 15 May 2022, Bandarban: It has been alleged that, recently in the name of acquisition for setting up camps of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Armed Police Battalion (APBN) in Rowangchari Upazila Sadar area under Bandarban Hill district, attempts are being made to occupy about 60 acres of paddy land belonging to local indigenous Jumma people.
The local Jumma people said that if these lands are lost, the affected local Jumma people will be ousted from their own lands and will face extreme livelihood crisis. They termed the BGB and APBN’s attempt to grab Jumma’s land in the name of setting up camps as hostile to Jumma and a part of a deeper conspiracy to oust them from their ancestral land.
Earlier, a lot of paddy lands of many Jumma residents had been seized in Rowangchhari Sadar in the name of setting up various government offices.
According to local sources, 60 acres of paddy land owned by Jumma people are being attempted to occupy in the name of setting up a BGB camp in Taimarangchara area and an APBN camp in Paglachara Jhiri area, two adjoining areas of Rowangchhari Upazila Sadar. For the purposes, the process of land acquisition is almost at the final stage.
The victims said that once these lands were occupied, the victims would have no land to live on. They said at least 21 Jumma families would lose their cultivable lands.
It is learnt that none of these 21 people are willing to give up these lands for their livelihood. They also said that they have no land to support themselves. In these lands they cultivate two to three seasons in a year.
The affected land owners are- (1) Anandasen Tanchangya, (2) Kankya Tanchangya, (3) Laxmikumar Tanchangya, (4) Chandralal Tanchangya, (5) Banasya Tanchangya, (6) Majhi Tanchangya, (7) Shainue Marma, (8) Rafidan Tanchangya, (9) Kalabisha Tanchangya, (10) Na Kowe Marma, (11) Chathowaiprue Marma, (12) Mongchu Marma, (13) Hlachingmong Marma, (14) Nai Sang Wu Marma, (15) Prusingong Marma, (16) Apruse Marma, (17) Pruemongthui Marma, (18) Puprue Marma, (19) Mongneowaiching Marma, (20) Monoshwethowai Marma, (21) Puthuiyong Marma.
According to the local Jumma people, the land of old Rowangchhari police station is also in the process of occupation. The police have still kept the land occupied and unused. It is learnt that a case was pending with the headman of Rowangchhari Mouza regarding the land.
They said, the government and administration have been paying more attention to the acquisition of paddy land and other crop lands owned by the indigenous Jumma people. The government and the administration want the Jumma people to leave the area after being economically crippled.
According to the victims, there is very little quantity of three or two seasonal cultivable crops lands among the Jumma people in Rowangchari Sadar area. The government and the administration have been occupying these lands of Jumma people on the pretext of government needs targeting cultivable lands from the past.
During the Ershad government, a lot of 3-2 crop cultivable lands were acquired by the government for setting up an office for upazila administration. At present the upazila administration has been cultivating many of the acquired lands by the farmers with annual or triennial sharecropping. Moreover, a large amount of paddy land of the Jumma people was snatched away in the name of setting up Rowangchari police station near Wagoi Para in the Sadar area.
As per latest information, the aggrieved Jumma villagers will appeal to the concerned authorities against the acquisition by BGB and APBN.