Panjum of Khasis attacked, occupied and looted by land grabbers in Kulaura

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Hill Voice, 29 September 2020, Moulvibazar: It has been alleged that local Bengali Muslim land robbers attacked, forcibly occupied Panjum and looted Panjum (betel leaf Jum farm) at Katabari Panpunji in Karmadha union of Kulaura upazila of Moulvibazar district. The incident took place on the morning of 27 September 2020.

It is learnt that indigenous Khasia people and local land grabbers have lodged separate written complaints with Kulaura police station. There is a risk of bloody clashes at any time with occupation and counter-occupation. Tensions are running high in the area over the incident, local sources said.

According to a written complaint lodged by indigenous Khasi people with Kulaura police station, 15-20 people led by Rafiq Mian (40), Bashir Mian (35), Ustar Ali (45) and Harun Mian (50) of Tatriuli village of Karmadha union with country-made weapons infiltrated in the Panjum. The miscreants chased away the Panjum guards at gunpoint. From then on, they looted and cut down trees all day long and carried out violence in Panpunji. The assailants threatened to kill Panjum’s dwellers while they went to oppose the land grabbers after being informed by Panjum guards to the Panjum owner. The residents of Panjum came back in fear.

Meanwhile, local land grabber Rafiq Miao has lodged a separate written complaint with Kulaura police station. In the written complaint, he mentioned that in 1967, his father, Abdus Sattar, took a lease from the government. The Khasis have been forcibly occupying some parts and cultivating betel.

According to local sources, Sub-Inspector (SI) of Kulaura Police Station Rahim visited the spot on the afternoon of 27 September and instructed both the parties to maintain law and order.

Panjum owner Jaspar Amalrang said the local land grabbers had forcibly occupied 4.95 acres of Panjum land. The way the miscreants are looting is expected to cause a loss of Tk. 1 lakh to Tk. 1.5 lakh in Panjum.

Sylvester Pathang, member of Ward No. 3 of Karmadha Union in the dispute area, said the owner of Panjum, Jasper, and Punji residents informed me about the matter on the mobile phones. The local land grabbers have occupied Panjum by force of arms. Seeing the matter, I informed the administration including the Chairman of Karmadha Union. The miscreants have been occupying Panjum till Monday afternoon.

MA Rahman Atiq, Chairman of Karmadha Union, said that member of the union Sylvester Pathang informed me about the forcible occupation of Panjum. I contacted the opponent. They said they did not occupy the Jum, it is their purchased land. I urged both parties to remain calm and assured to resolve the issue amicably.

Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Kulaura police station Yardous Hasan said, I have received allegations of attack in Panjum. I have sent an officer to investigate the matter. He also said that necessary steps will be taken as per the investigation findings.

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