Garo’s banana plantation cut down by Forest Dept. in Madhupur, barricade of Dokhla forest office

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Hill Voice, 14 September 2020, Tangail: The Forest Department authorities have cut down the banana trees of Basanti Rema, 45, and Getis Jetra, an indigenous family in Madhupur of Tangail district. The incident took place today, 14 September 2020 Monday at around 10:00 AM.

According to local sources, Basanti Rema and Getis Jetra built the banana plantation in February this year. But this morning without any prior notice or information, a group of 10/12 miscreants led by Assistant Commissioner of Forest Department Jamal Hossain Talukder, Ranger Abdul Ahad and local Ward Awami League Member Jahangir cut down Banana plantation.

Indigenous people of Madhupur surrounded the Dokhla bit office of the Forest Department for about an hour to demand punishment of the Forest Department workers involved in the misconduct, including compensation.

The blockade was later lifted on the assurance of the Forest Department that the incident would be resolved in consultation with local indigenous Garo guardians’ organizations, student organizations and public representatives next Wednesday, the affected families would be compensated and no more plantation of the indigenous Garo people would be destroyed.

Alik Mree, General Secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Chhatra Sangram Parishad, condemned the misconduct of the forest department in Madhupur and said that such destroying activities of the forest department should be stopped immediately and false cases of harassment against all indigenous people in Madhupur should be withdrawn. All plans to occupy indigenous Garo people’s lands in the name of development must be stopped immediately.

John Jetra, central President of the Bangladesh Garo Chatra Sangathan, said, such activities of the forest department in Madhupur are almost daily. Such misdeeds of forest department in Madhupur cannot be allowed to be continued. Therefore, the civil rights of the indigenous people of Madhupur should be ensured and appropriate compensation should be given to the victims.

Tony Mathews Chiran, central Organizing Secretary of the Bangladesh Garo Students Federation said, the government had cut down the plantation today in the name of reserve forest. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government as much as the forest department of Madhupur. So the government must stop all conspiracies to evict the indigenous people in the name of reserve forest and Eco Park. Otherwise, the indigenous people of Madhupur will rise again.

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