Hill Voice, 26 February 2023, Bandarban: A human chain was held in Soroi Union of Lama Upazila under Bandarban district by the indigenous peoples of the area to protest against the construction of a house by the rubber company by occupying the site of the Buddhist monastery of Rengen Mro Karbari Para.
Today, February 26, 2023 around 11 am, the local indigenous people’s organization ‘Lama Bhumi Raksha Committee (Lama Land Protection Committee)’ initiated this human chain.
The human chain was presided over by Convener of Bhumi Raksha Committee Rangdhajan Tripura and moderated by Mothi Tripura while addressed by Songle Mro, Langkom Mro Karbari and Rengen Mro Karbari.
About three hundred villagers of victim Rengen Mro Karbari Para, Langkom Mro Karbari Para and Joychandra Tripura Karbari Para participated in the human chain.
The leaders in the human chain strongly protested and condemned the construction of the house by the people of the Lama Rubber Company by occupying the site of the Buddhist temple and called for the immediate removal of the said house.
Before the human chain began, Mohammad Idris, the Chairman of No. 5 Soroi Union of Lama Upazila, went to Langkom Mro Karbari Para and spoke on behalf of the rubber company and offered to give 5 acres of land to the each family of the villagers, and the villagers strongly protested against this proposal.
Speakers in the human chain said, we do not want the unfair 5 acres of land proposed by Lama Rubber Industries. We want ownership of our 400 acres of land. We have no fear. We have lost everything we have. We will continue to fight till our end to protect the land.
It should be noted that on February 20, 2023, a group of 20-30 hired outsider Bengalis led by Md. Delwar, who is in charge of Lama Rubber Industries, went to the Rengen Mro Karbari Para and forcibly built a house for the rubber company on the site of Ashok Buddhist Vihara, a local religious institution.
Before this, on August 10, 2022, a group of miscreants promoted by Lama Rubber Industries attacked the Ashoka Buddhist Vihara built in Rengyen Mro Karbari Para and carried out extensive vandalism and looted 2 Buddha statues.
It may be noted that the authorities of Lama Rubber Industries Limited have been trying to expropriate the remaining 400 acres of jum plantations and land belonging to the indigenous people of Langkom Mro Karbari Para, Joychandra Tripura Karbari Para and Rengen Mro Karbari Para of Lama’s Soroi Union through hired land grabbers for a long time.
In this situation, 200 men and women of 39 families of these three indigenous villages inhabited by Mro and Tripura ethnic groups are now in fear of eviction.
The villagers said that they have been making a living by doing jum cultivations and plantations in their village’s 400 acres of land for generations. But suddenly in 2019, a company named Lama Rubber Industries started trying to take possession of those lands of Jumma people in the name of rubber plot.
Earlier, Lama Rubber Industries Limited occupied 4,000 acres of land under lease in Natun Para, Dhenkichara Para and Noa Para of Doluchari Mouza of Soroi Union against 1,600 acres of land that was take lease.