56 indigenous families evicted
Hired goons of a BNP adherent evicted at least 74 families, including 56 Indigenous families, from their land in a series of attacks at Khatirpur in Porsha upazila of Naogaon to grab their land.
Allegedly backed by local police, they made the series of attacks between Friday evening and yesterday morning to evict the families.
They beat up members of indigenous families, ransacked and torched their houses Friday evening and finally looted their household items, bullock carts and human hauliers yesterday morning.
According to the victims, around 200 armed goons of Nur Hossain Master, of Chhaor, attacked the families. The indigenous families retaliated with bows and arrows but they were no match against the gang's firearms, clubs, machetes and spears.
"Police were called in but they stood as spectators," said Sabin Munda, a local leader of Jatiya Adivashi Parishad visiting the spot.
Chhutar Kisku, his wife Kastantina Murmu, Suren Murmu, Jasef Saren, Biswanath Hembrom, Mosrefa, Deljan, Osnara and her daughter Samija were among at least 30 indigenous people who were injured in the attacks.
The victims alleged Ata, Dhala, Ahsan and Mozaffar of Kumarpara led the attacks in presence of Nur Hossain and his son Manjurul.
Nur Hossain, Manjurul and their relative Azaharul were seen looting corrugated iron sheets and household items yesterday morning when a group of NGO activists and journalists visited the spot.
Nur claimed he bought the six acres of land from Chhotka Mardi, Churka Mardi and Hudur Mardi in 1976. "But we could not have possession of the land," he told journalists.
He said the eviction process through proper ways would have taken a long time and that is why he captured the land by force.
Karamat Uddin, a lawyer for the indigenous people, said the documents on the land Nur Hossain produced were declared invalid by the government in May, 2007, and a Naogaon court was trying the case filed in this regard.
Naogaon Deputy Commissioner Ahsan Habib Talukhdar and Superintendent of Police Mofazzel Hossain visited the scene and formed a probe committee headed by Porsha upazila nirbahi officer.
Jatiya Adivashi Parishad rejected the committee and called for a movement from Monday saying Nur Hossain was included in the committee.
Condemning the incident, different rights organisations yesterday demanded punishment of the perpetrators.
Leaders of Centre for Human Rights, Development and Human Security in a statement said the administration did not take any action to prevent the attack.
Bangladesh Adivashi Odhikar Andolan also demanded punishment of the criminals and compensation to the villagers for their damaged homes.
Leaders of Gono forum too demanded arrest of the criminals and expressed support for the victims.