BGB’s attempt to grab land of indigenous Jummas to set up camp in Panchari

Photo: Symbolic

Hill Voice, 16 May 2022, Khagrachari: It has been alleged that lands of local Jumma villagers are being attempted to occupy by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in the name of setting up camp in Logang Union area of Panchari upazila under Khagrachari hill district.

It is also known that there are various fruit and teak plantations in the lands of Jumma people amounting to about 21 acres.

The victims are: 1) Jamini Chakma (53), son of late Padmadhan Chakma, village-Harubil; 2) Bijoy Chakma (45), son of late Padmadhan Chakma, village-Harubil; 3) Dharajya Chakma (60) son of Indra Kumar Chakma, Village- Ghilatali and 4) Mangal Chakma (60), son of Maheshwar Chakma, Village-Ghilatali.

According to local sources, Subedar Md. Suleman, Commander of Chankhola Para BGB camp in Chengi union under Panchari BGB zone, sent two notes to the owners of the land on May 15, 2022 as part of a conspiracy to grab the land. One note reads, “You have to be present on Monday 18/5/22 with land documents, otherwise you will not get money and there will be a government camp.” Another note stated, “You must call today, on 0179-611556, Chankhola BGB camp.”

According to the notes, a BGB camp will be set up on that land of Jumma people. Land documents must be shown. Otherwise the owners will not get any money. The government will take over the land without any compensation.

It is learnt that none of the land owners are agreed to give up their lands. Because they have been cultivating and using the lands for ages. Most importantly, they have long term plantations of mangoes, plums, guavas, litchis and other fruits and teak garden.

According to local sources, Jamini Chakma and Bijoy Chakma have at least 10 acres of land belonging to their two brothers. They have 1,209 mango trees and 13,000 teak trees in the area. On the other hand, Dharajya Chakma has 2000 plum trees and 600 guava trees in 10 acres of land. In the land of Mangal Chakma, 100 mango and 100 litchi trees have been planted in one acre of land.

It is learnt that knowing the process of setting up BGB camp there, the victims are in deep concern and anxiety now.

Regarding the establishment of BGB camp, it is learnt that the zone commander of Panchhari BGB zone is supposed to go to Chankhola Para BGB camp today on 16 May 2022.

A local human rights activist, who did not want to be named, said that Sheikh Hasina government, the army and BGB are now occupying the lands of Jumma people in the name of development, and setting up the army and BGB camps wherever they want. These lands have been being occupied by violating human rights, democratic rights of Jumma people and CHT Accord without free, prior and informed consent.

It may be mentioned that it has been alleged that very recently BGB and Armed Police Battalion (APBN) were trying to occupy about 60 acres of paddy land in the name of acquisition for setting up camps in Rowangchari Upazila Sadar area under Bandarban Hill District.

The victims said that once these lands were occupied, the land owners would have no land to live on. They said at least 21 Jumma families would lose their paddy lands.