Locals claim grabbers burnt rubber garden in Bandarban
Locals of Bandarban's Sadar upazila have brought allegations against a group of people affiliated with a resort for burning their rubber garden on Saturday, in a bid to grab their land.
The affected people went to Bandarban Sadar Police Station to file a case but the officer-in-charge allegedly did not take the case.
"Men of Sylvan Wye Resort and Spa Ltd burned our rubber garden and quite a few mango and banana trees on Saturday morning," said Birendro Tripura, Karbari (chief) of Saingya Tripura Para.
"We went to Bandarban Sadar Police station on Sunday noon but the OC Md Shahidul Islam didn't take the case and suggested we contact Bandarban Additional Deputy Commissioner Md Shafiul Alam," the karbari added.
OC Shahidul Islam said that he suggested them to contact the ADC "After discussing with the ADC I didn't take the case and suggested they get in touch with the ADC."
"We went to meet the ADC but didn't find him at his office. So, we called but he told us he is busy," the karbari said.
Contacted, ADC Shafiul Alam said, "We suggested them to give a written complaint to us."
This correspondent contacted a few labourers of Sylvan Wye Resort and Spa Ltd, who seeking anonymity said they set fire to clean an area riddled with overgrowth for setting up a new garden near the rubber garden of Saingya Tripura Para.
The Daily Star also got in touch with Jashim Uddin Montu, chairman of the resort, who said, "We don't know how the fire originated and we didn't burn any garden of Saingya Tripura Para."
This newspaper, however, ran two stories on the alleged land grabbing under the headlines "Last six Marma families evicted" and "3 indigenous villages face land grabbing" on August 9, 2018 and July 28 2019 respectively.
The reports said the authorities of Sylvan Wye Resort and Spa Ltd allegedly evicted the last six families of Saingya Marma Para while another 170 families of nearby Saingya Tripura Para, Laimi Para, and Hati Bhanga Para faced threat of eviction.
The resort owner intends to construct a 5-star hotel in the area, the reports added.
Another villager Joseph Tripura said they met the Prime Minister back in November last year and requested her intervention in this regard.
Leaders of the ethnic minority communities alleged that the resort authorities have already grabbed 250 acres of land in the Paras, which are cradled in the scenic hilly landscape and are close to the town centre.
GK Shamim, a top government-listed contractor, who was arrested in a money laundering case last year is a director of the resort.