At least 60 Santal families of Khalippur village in Nawabganj upazila of the district are still under constant threat of attack by the culprits who physically assaulted four indigenous people of the village on May 9.
The villagers, including the school going children, have stopped going outside the village, fearing fresh attack. They are guarding the village round- the-clock to prevent any further attack by the criminals who recently got bail from a court in the case for May 9 incident.
'We don't feel safe as the accused are threatening us for filing a criminal case against them,” said Ilias Soren of the village.
Locals said a gang led by Mahbubur Rahman, an influential man of Kazipara village, swooped on four indigenous people when they were loading their paddy onto a tractor at the village on May 9 and beat them up with iron rods and wooden sticks. The attackers also hung the four from a banyan tree and brutally tortured them, they added.
The victims are Som Soren, Babulal Soren, Sonaram Tudu and Bablu Soren. Their hands, legs and other parts of the body were badly injured. Villagers said the victims returned home from hospital recently without completing their full course of treatment for want of money.
The victims alleged that a motive of grabbing their cultivable land is the reason behind the attack.
Sonaram, one of the torture victims, filed a case with Nawabganj Police Station on May 14, accusing eight people. The accused are Mahbubur Rahman and Hafizur Rahman, sons of late Nur Islam, Md Kalam and Nur Islam, son of late Kawser, Rafiqul Islam, son of late Ansar Ali, Rezaul Islam, son of late Mofa Mia, and Atul Mia and his son Khorshed Ali. They all are from Khalippur-Kazipara village.
Mahbub was arrested on May 26 while the rest seven were at large. They all were granted bail by a court recently.
Advocate Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain O Shalish Kendra and former adviser to the caretaker government, visited Khalippur village on May 31. During the visit, she talked with the victims. She urged government to ensure security of the indigenous people.
Sanjeeb Drong, general secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous People Forum, Khandaker Rezwanul Karim, programme manager of Manusher Jonno Foundation, and Prof Nur Mohammad Talukder of Bangladesh Agriculture University, visited the village and talked with the victims Wednesday afternoon. Sanjeeb gave the victims Tk 39,000 for their treatment.