Sunday, September 09, 2012

Settlers evict Jumma family from homestead in Merung

News No. 80/2012, Sunday, September 09, 2012

ONE Jumma family has been ousted by Bengali settlers from his homestead in Merung Union under Dighinala Upazila, Khagrachari district, reigniting tension in the area.

A group of 20 – 30 settlers led by Ashfaq Leader and aided by police SI Md. Selim evicted Jonadhan Chakma, 60, from his home in the village of Bhuachari yesterday, Saturday, 8 September.

The settlers locked the house from outside after dragging Jonadhan and his family members out. They have now taken shelter with his relatives in Dighinala Sadar.

According to the victim and his neighbours, Jonadhan Chakma’s father Birosen Chakma had 4 acres of land registered in his name.

After his death, his two sons Bipuleshwar Chakma alias Khojallya and Jonadhan Chakma inherited the property.

About two months ago, one Sadeq Ali from Merung laid claim to the said land, prompting the two brothers to complain to the Dighinala Upazila chairman, Dharmabir Chakma, about it.

He however advised them to seek redress from Merung Union Council chairman, Mossaraf, and they did so accordingly.

Mossaraf tried to settle the dispute by holding a series of arbitration meetings, where Sadeq Ali claimed that he had purchased the land from one Indra Kumar Chakma but failed to produce any supporting documents or evidence.

He even failed to prove the existence of anybody in the name of Indra Kumar Chakam in the locality.

Thus failure of Sadeq Ali to produce evidence in support of his claim led the Chairman to direct him not to create further trouble about the said land.

However defying the arbitration meeting’s decision Sadeq Ali filed a suit in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate of Khagrachari against Jonadhan Chakma, claiming ownership of his land.

The court yesterday, 8 September, issued a notice directing the Dighinala police station to investigate the matter.

Acting on this notice, SI Selim made a swift visit to Jonadhan Chakma, taking Sadeq Mian, Ashfaq Leader and other settlers along with him.

In his presence, the settlers forced Jonadhan Chakma and his family members out of the house, turned it upside down and then locked it from outside.

Jonadhan said, ‘The land in question is registered in my father’s name in 1966. Since his death, I had been living there with my family. My elder brother Bipuleshwar Chakma lives elsewhere. I have grown teak, jackfruit, litchi and many other fruit trees in this land.’

He said Sadeq Ali had destroyed his house once about two months ago while he was away in Rangamati for medical treatment.

“When I was back I complained to our UP chairman about it, but he failed to settle the issue. However he asked me to live on in my land. Then I build a small hut there.’ he said.

The United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF) in a statement condemned the unlawful ouster of Jonadhan Chakma from his home and demanded that he be allowed to go back to his land.

‘Otherwise we will paralyze the whole of Dighinala by enforcing tougher programmes.’ UPDF’s Khagrachari district unit organizer Pradeep Chakma warned.

He said a section of the settlers have been trying to grab Jumma people’s lands with forged documents and other dishonest means.

UPDF and M. N. Larma faction of the PCJSS also held separate protest marches in Dighinala today, holding the local administration responsible for the ordeal Jonadhan’s family had to undergo.

By any standard, the ouster of Jonadhan Chakma from his home in this manner is unlawful, unconstitutional and inhuman, a legal expert told

‘He cannot be forced out of his home and his land without a court order, and no court has the right to issue such an order without hearing both the parties to the dispute,’ he added.

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