Statement of 28 eminent citizens against burning of Jum farm in Bandarban’s Lama

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Hill Voice, 30 April 2022, Dhaka: On Friday, a statement signed by Saleh Ahmed, general secretary of Sammilita Samajik Andolan, on behalf of 28 eminent citizens, said that the rubber company had set fire to about 100 acres of Jum farm belonging to indigenous peoples in Langkom Mro Para of Lama upazila of Bandarban. The whole plantation including paddy, mango, banana, pineapple has been burnt.

Earlier, Lama Rubber Industries Ltd, with the help of local land grabbers, had seized about 300 acres of land belonging to the indigenous peoples of Langkom Mro Karbari Para, Joychandra Tripura Karbari Para and Rengen Mro Karbari Para of Sorai Union in Lama Upazila of Bandarban. The company has filed false cases against the indigenous peoples at various times during the protests.

The statement complained that although the land ownership of indigenous peoples of the plains was determined by the country’s existing law, the land ownership of the indigenous peoples in the three hill districts was social ownership. The principle of ‘universal property ownership rights’ is the basis of their land ownership. As a result, this proprietary lineage is verbal. It is managed by the Headmen and Karbaris of the hill tracts under three Circles. But in the last 30 years, the amount of land under the control of this hill tracts has decreased by 51 percent. In other words, more than half of the social ownership of the lands and land properties have been lost.

The statement further said, “We are deeply disappointed by the lack of visible action by the administration against the burning of Jum plantation in Langkom Mro Para of Lama Upazila. We are extremely concerned. Indigenous families affected by the fire are likely to face a food crisis soon. No action was taken by the local administration for justice or assurance to the affected families, which upset us.

The eminent citizens demanded an immediate and impartial investigation into the burning of about 100 acres of Jum plantations by the rubber company at Langkom Mro Para in Lama Upazila of Bandarban, immediate arrest of the culprits, safety of the victims and adequate compensation and ensuring the occupation of the Mro people in the neighborhoods.

The speakers were: President of Unity NAP Pankaj Bhattacharya, Former Adviser to the Caretaker Government Advocate Sultana Kamal, Former Adviser Rasheda K Chowdhury, President of Sammilita Samajik Andolan Ramendu Majumder, Trustee of Liberation War Museum Dr. Sarwar Ali, President of the Mahila Parishad Fawzia Moslem, Member Secretary of Anti-Communal and Militancy Monch Dr. Noor Mohammad Talukder, President of Bangladesh Krishak Samiti SMA Sabur, Development Worker Khushi Kabir, Dhaka University Professor MM Akash, Professor Robayet Ferdous, General Secretary of Democratic Lawyers Association Advocate Zahidul Bari, General Secretary of Sammilita Samajik Andolan Saleh Ahmed, Bangladesh Supreme Court lawyer Parvez Hashem, President of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Rabindranath Saran, Acting President of Jatiya Sramik Jote Abdul Waheed, General Secretary of Emarat Nirman Sramik Union Bangladesh Abdur Razzak, Cultural Activist Dr. Selu Basit, Social Worker Razia Samad Dalia, Public Health Specialist Dr. Lenin Chowdhury, Cultural Worker AK Azad, Alok Das Gupta, Information and Publicity Secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum Dipayan Khisa, Organizer of Ganajagaran Manch Advocate Jibanananda Jayant, Member of Central Committee of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Bibhuti Bhushan Mahato, President of Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree Kazi Abdul Motaleb Jewel, and student of Dhaka University Donowai Mro.

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