Govt acquiring adivasi, crop land in five districts for army: HR organisations

Staff Correspondent

In five districts 49,194 acres of land are at different stages of acquisition by the government for the army flouting the rules and human rights, eight human rights organizations said in a report.
The acquisition would affect agricultural, forest, adivasi and homestead land, it said.
And in Gazipur, four private companies owned by an individual, is trying to grab 1,200 acres of land, mostly cropland in Shailat, Sreepur, with support from the government, said the report.  The group is using forged documents to grab the land with support from the administration, police, local sub registrar’s office to set up an industry, it said.
Both the land acquisition bids were exposed by Ain O Salish Kendra, Transparency International, Nijera Kori, Association for Land Reform and Development, Bangladesh Adhibashi Forum, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Bangladesh Environment Lawyers’ Association and Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon.
They jointly held on the spot investigations from May 21 to September 8, 2014 and revealed the bids.
Representatives of the eight organizations presented the findings at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity Thursday.
They said that they probed the matter following reports published by newspapers.
According to joint investigation report, the process was underway to allocate 1788.98 acres of forest land in three mouzas of Rajarkul union in Ramu upazila of Cox’s Bazaar district for setting up a cantonment.
According to the report, the government acquired and allocated 997 acres of adivasi land to the army for setting up a cantonment at Ruma, Bandarban.
It said that the process was underway to acquire 1408.05 acres of agricultural land in three unions of Chatmohar upazila, Pabna for the army. The low land area lies on the source water for the chalan beel.
The government allocated about 10,000 acres of agricultural land in  Char Kering mouza, Hatia upazila in Noakhali  to the army , the report said. According to government estimates 3,067 landless families would have to vacate their homesteads and crop land from the area, it said.
Allocating about 35,000 acres of agricultural land in Sandwip upzila,  Chittagong, Subarna Char and Hatia, is under process, the report said.
Ain o Salish Kendra executive director  Sultana Kamal strongly protested at acquisition agricultural land for the army ignoring  rights of farmers and adivasi people.
Rahima Begum, a victim from Kering Char in Noakhali, said that she and several hundred of local people faced obstacles from  local gang leaders in raising crops on theirland.
Now, the government evicted them the from their land for setting up army camps, said Rahima.
After eviction, she said, people in the area were facing extreme hardship.
Approached by New Age, Inter Services Public Relations officials said they cannot o comment about the land acquisition issues for the army until they get to know the details of the report by the eight HR organizations.

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