The ravaged home of a Marma family at Sapmara Jiri Marma Para village in Naikkhangchhari of Bandarban. Influential land grabbers have evicted several indigenous families there and vandalised their homes. Photo: Sanjoy Kumar Barua
Land grabbers have vandalised and looted valuables at the homes of nine Marma families. It was aimed at forcing them to leave in order to grab their land to make a rubber plantation there.
On April 2, the families left their Sapmara Jiri Marma Para village in the district's Naikkhangchhari upazila after their homes were attacked on March 28, 29 and 30.
The indigenous farming families have taken refuge at Daiya Baper Para and Narishbunia Para, about eight kilometres from their homes.
They claimed that ruling party men and Rohingyas were helping the land grabbers to occupy their land.
“We have left our village following threats from the land grabbers and criminals,” said Fo Aung Marma, chief of Sapmara Jiri Marma Para village.
Mong Hla Prue Marma, one of the victims, told The Daily Star that criminals had beaten them up and threatened their lives.
At least 14 Chak families fled their village last year due to similar circumstances.
Mongthoai Hla Marma, headman of Alikkhong mouza, alleged that indigenous people of six other villages -- Long Gadu Chakpara, Kamimukh Tripurapara, Bakhkhali Dhung Kiaungpara, Hatir Dat Jiri Chakpara, Hili Jiri Tripura Para and Longkai Marmapara -- are also under threat.
He alleged that Awami League leaders Alam Majhi, Abdul Jabbar, Jafar Alam and Shah Sirajur Rahman were helping rubber plantation owners to grab the land. Of them, Alam Majhi has been accused
of evicting the Chak families.
Contacted, Alam Majhi denied having anything to do with the eviction of the nine Marma families and said he only helped rubber plantation owners by supplying them with workers and saplings.
Ahmed Jamil, upazila nirbahi officer of Naikkhangchhari, said he had heard of the eviction incident and that action would be taken soon against those involved.
Devdas Bhattacharya, superintendent of police of Bandarban, said police had visited the spot.
Evidence of the involvement of rubber plantation owners in the land grabbing incident had been found, he added.