News No. 70/2013, Saturday, June 22, 2013
A PROBE committee has found evidence that members of minority Chak nationality have been evicted from their lands by powerful Bengali elites in Nakyongchari, Bandarban.
An inquiry committee of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs ministry has verified the allegation that 22 Chak families have been evicted from Chakpara in Nakyongchari Upazila under Bandarban district, reports Prothom Alo.
In its today’s issue the paper, quoting the inquiry committee, said that the eviction was aimed at occupying their lands.
‘But the local administration remained silent while the incidents (of illegal occupation) had taken place.” it added.
The committee made a list of fourteen individuals involved in grabbing 582 acres of land belonging to the Chak community.
Of them, four belong to the local Awami League committees.
The inquiry committee recommended immediate arrest of these 14 land grabbers, return of these lands to their rightful owners and protection of their safety.
The one-man inquiry committee comprising Md. Alamgir Hossain, deputy secretary of the CHT Affairs ministry, prepared a 32-page report after interviewing the Bandarban district administration officials, the Superintendent of Police, the Upazila Nirbahi Officer, the Officer in charge of local police station, the local Union Council chairman, the headman and the victim families from 29 – 31 May.
The committee on 11 June submitted the report to the National Human Rights Commission on whose request the investigation was carried out.
Quoting the report the Prothom Alo said: ‘The Chaks have been forced to leave their hearts and homes due to a number of reasons that include dispossession of their lands and harassment in public places. On the night of 13 March, a band of 10 - 12 robbers attacked their village, committed robbery and threatened them with death. It’s an enigma as to why the police did not institute a case following such a grotesque crime that is cognizable by law.’
The report also took the local administration, including the Regional Council and the District Council, to task for doing nothing to address the land grabbing problem.
‘The district administration has a role behind illegal transfers of land. According to the CHT District Council laws, for any such transfer to be legal prior permission of the Council is mandatory. However, the district administration does not comply with this law.’