Thousands block road, foil land survey
The people of seven villages, agitating to press for the demand to spare their lands from acquisition, blocked several roads leading to Mymensingh town through Joy Bangla Bazar in Mymensingh Sadar upazila yesterday, foiling the administration's move to conduct a survey in the area.
As news earlier spread that several survey teams will visit the area, thousands of people of the listed seven villages started taking positions at six points around 10:00pm on Saturday night.
They also put huge logs, bamboo bars and trees to block the roads leading to Mymensingh town.
Some 30,000 people including women and children joined the programme, locals said, adding that half-yearly examinations in two high schools and classes at five primary schools were not held as the students did not attend.
No workers joined their work in Mymensingh town and vegetables were not supplied to the town from the seven villages yesterday, locals said.
The road blockade continued as of filing of this report around 5:00pm.
Protesting the 'unfair' and 'motivated' land acquisition for development works for proposed Mymensingh division, people of seven villages in Mymensingh Sadar upazila have been continuing their movement for last 10 months under the banner of 'Basatbhita Rokkha Committee'.
Committee convener Syed Mosharraf Hossain at a rally at Joy Bangla Bazar urged the administration to accept the alternative list given by the villagers for new the divisional town.
"We will go for tougher movement if the administration remains stuck to their decision and fail to give us reply within a month," he said.
The administration is trying to make the said villagers victims in the name of development but we want a balanced development involving four unions along the Brahmaputra river, speakers said at the programme.
The administration first prepared a list to acquire 1220 acres of land for the development work but the list was later changed, proposing a list covering 4366-acre of land.
It was done on lame excuses like 'earthquake risk, serious waterlogging and traffic congestion' but it was actually motivated by the urge to save the land of several influential persons, speakers alleged.
The eviction of some 60,000 people for benefiting a few influential people will not be accepted, they said, adding that they will save their homesteads and farmlands at any cost.
Rumela Khatun of Joy Bangla Bazar area said she joined the programme with her five children in the morning to resist the administration's move for survey.
"I joined the protest programme with my three children including a one and half-year-old child at 6:00am today," said Shima Akhter of Char Bhawanipur village.
Ninety-year-old Hashu Mia of Konapara village said he never saw such a tension in the char area in his long life.
Md Khalilur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Mymensingh, said they had a decision to survey a small place in char areas yesterday but it was cancelled due to various reasons.