Hill Voice, 18 October 2021: Influential people are gradually occupying the lands of indigenous Oraon-Santal families in Lohanipara union of Badarganj upazila of Rangpur district. Even the cremation-yard was not spared from occupation. As a result, they are being harassed while they are alive, as such suffering is not leaving them behind even after death.
The way the villagers are losing land
Around 9,500 people of Oraon and Santal communities live in the indigenous village of Lohanipara Union, about 18 km away from Badarganj Sadar. Villagers alleged that influential people have occupied more than 100 bighas of land through fraud.
Suniram Murmu (35), son of late Munis Murmu of Gumitpara, said Krishna Sarkar and his brother Rishi Sarkar of the same area were occupying 0.95 acre of his land by forging documents. Besides, Mojibar Rahman is cultivating 0.78 acres of land in Kadmapara. Suniram and his family once had a home there.
Babu Lal Kisku (60), son of Som Kisku of Shimuljhuri village, said that their ancestors started living in Lohanipara after clearing the forest about two and a half hundred years ago. Due to ignorance, many lands in SA Khatian of 1940, and CS Khatian of 1962 have been included in the Khas Khatian No. 1, the amount of which land will be at least 110 acres. Besides, when he went to the local union council to pay rent to the Tahsildar, he deposited Taka 100 in the receipt. Tahsildar took extra one thousand to five thousand takas. Besides, many of their lands have been registered in Khas Khatian No. 2 and are now in the possession of the forest department.
Akheruzzaman, a deputy assistant land officer (former tahsildar) of Lohanipara, said, “No extra money was taken in my time.”
Meanwhile, Sunny Kispatra (52), son of Karma Kispatra of Barapara, alleged that before independence, his grandfather Etoya Toppo had given three bighas of land to his mother Manri Toppo. Taking advantage of their simplicity, Motaleb Hossain secretly made forged document of the land in 1975. Although an arbitration was held in the local union council in 2019, but he did not get justice. Meanwhile, in the same year, his mother mortgaged one bigha of their land north of Mandal Hat to Mohir Uddin for Tk 1,200. Later, Mohir secretly sold the land in the names of Ainul Haque, Anishul Haque and Idris Ali.
Land for graveyard and crematoriums was also dispossessed
Serious allegations of occupation of graveyards and crematoriums of Oraon-Santals have been found. The people of these two communities are in trouble to bury dead body in the said land (around 4.0 acres). In 1990, Habibur Rahman, Mominul Haque, Baitullah Mistry, Bulbul Islam and Abul Kalam secretly took settlement of the cremation ground in their name. The indigenous villagers often suffer to bury bodies in the face of intimidation and threats from occupiers. Earlier, they applied to the Deputy Commissioner to cancel the lease; But did not find a remedy.
Upil Karmakar and Ukil Murmu said “The ancestors have been lying in this place for almost 200 years. People from seven communities, including Hindus, are buried here.”
Moslem Uddin, son of the late Baitullah Mistry and Kamruzzaman, son of the late Abul Kalam, said their fathers took lease the land following all the rules and regulations of the government.
Rakib Hasan Dalu Shah, Chairman of Lohanipara Union Parishad, said, ‘The crematorium and cemetery have been secretly leased by them. They did not do the job right. The two sides discussed the issue but did not resolve it.