Hill Voice, 4 January 2023, Dhaka: Various human rights organizations have demanded justice in the incident of arson and vandalism of the houses of Mro villagers in Lama Upazila of Bandarban. These organizations expressed deep concern over the ongoing violence against the Mro community and demanded exemplary punishment for the attackers.
In a statement on Tuesday (January 01), Human Rights Forum Bangladesh (HRFB), an alliance of 20 organizations working on human rights and development, demanded an impartial investigation and punishment of the attack on the Mro people (indigenous community). The statement said that there were allegations of looting, arson and vandalism of seven houses in the Sarai union of Lama Upazila last Sunday night.
During the night attack, the women, men and children of the village escaped but the attackers took away their clothes and goods from their houses. Residents complained that the Lama Rubber Industry Limited Company, by bringing goons by trucks, had attacked and looted the houses to occupy their land.
According to the statement of HRFB, due to lack of effective administrative and legal measures against these culprits, these incidents are happening continuously and the human rights of the Mro community are being grossly violated.
There is no alternative to taking legal action against those involved subject to speedy impartial investigation to prevent such heinous incidents and to bring about justice. It is necessary to take urgent measures to protect the security of the Mro community and their human rights.
Protests of Manusher Jonno Foundation:
In a statement on Tuesday (January 01), the Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) said such incidents will continue unless the authorities take immediate legal action against the accused. It demanded rehabilitation of the Mro community.
The statement noted that the existing culture of impunity encourages these criminals to continue their repeated attacks on indigenous peoples.
Protest of Udichi:
In a statement yesterday (January 01) on Tuesday (January 01), the Bangladesh artist group Udichi strongly condemned and protested the incident of vandalism, arson and looting of the houses of members of the indigenous Mro people in Lama Upazila of Bandarban.
President of Udichi Central Parliament Professor Badiur Rahman and General Secretary Amit Ranjan condemned and protested.
In a statement, they said the attack on Mro community by truckloads of people with weapons in the dark of night was barbaric and brutal.
It is said in the statement that the attack took place in Rengyen Mro village of Soroi Union of the upazila last Sunday night. The residents of the village alleged that the people of Lama Rubber Industries Limited were involved in this. The conflict has been going on since the beginning of last year over rubber plantations on the Jum cultivation land of the Mro villagers in the area.
Udichi leaders said that in the night attack, three houses in Rengyen Mro Para of Mro people were completely burnt. Three more houses were completely demolished. Two other houses in the village were vandalized and household items were thrown.
Inside the house, rice, cooked rice and winter clothes were found lying in disorder. Police visited the spot but no significant progress has been made so far in arresting those involved in the attack.
At this time, they said that such attacks and arson have taken place in various places including Gobindaganj of Gaibandha to occupy the houses and lands of indigenous peoples and minority communities. As exemplary punishment was not assured in any of them, the miscreants got the courage to repeat such incidents.
Therefore, the leaders of Udichi demanded the quick arrest and exemplary punishment of those involved in the vandalism, arson and looting of the houses of the members of the indigenous Mro people of Lama.