Victims Of Land Grabbing
812 families waiting to return to Sonamia Tila since 1986
Published : Sunday, 29 November, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 213
KHAGRACHHARI Nov 28: At least 812 families in Sonamia Tila of Dighinala upazila here are waiting for the last 34 years to return to their land grabbed by the UPDF leader Proshit Bikash Khisha.
The number of displaced families stands at 22,000 families by this time and people are living in inhuman conditions with cows and goats in cluster housing named Babuchhara Guchchhagram temporarily for security reasons since 1986.
These 812 families lost their land to the UPDF activist Proshit Bikash Khisha, who formed the UPDF and now runs the party. A hard-line opponent of the peace treaty signed on December 2 in 1997, the UPDF is accused of sporadic attacks, abduction and extortion in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
Shajahan Farazi, the leader at Guchchhagram, told the Daily Observer that 812 family members got court orders for returning to their land. Meanwhile, the local administration has not helped them in the last 34 years, he alleged. He wrote to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to facilitate their return to their land. He
said it is inhuman to live a life in the horrible condition of four or five families cramming into a small space having nothing called sanitation.
"Our latrine and kitchen are accommodated side by side, and two to three families have to share a single latrine by turn," he said. "It is over-crowded like a refugee camp without any sewage system," he added.
The 812 families have the original copies of their land allotment papers and receipt of the money they paid as taxes through banks.
During a visit to Sonamia Tila on Thursday, a temple 'Sadhonatila Bonbihar' and an adjoining under-construction structure were seen in Sonamia Tila.
The government had rehabilitated the said families, internally displaced due to natural disasters, for climate change on 4,060 acres of the hilly Khas (public) land of Sonamia Tila in 1983.
At the time, the government permanently allotted each family 23 decimals of homestead and 4.77 acres of arable hilly land for their livelihood.
But by 1986, life in this remote area became dangerous in the face of decline in law and order due to emergence of armed group, Shanti Bahini, according to official information. They were forced to leave their legal land.
A government primary school was established for the families in Sonamia Tila in 1984, and still remains a testimony to the habitation in early '80s.
Deputy Commissioner of Khagrachhari Protap Chanda Biswas said, "We have not received applications from the 812 families seeking help to return to their land." "If I get such an application I will take action," he added.
Guchchhagram accommodation has turned uninhabitable with the population growth and lack of civic amenities over time, according to sources, "But hill people have been occupying Sonamia Tila with makeshift Kiangghar (temple) and dwelling structures."
Shajahan Farazi said, "The land management system in the Hill Tracts still runs on the basis of Headman's report. The Headman collects Tk 5,000 to Tk 7000 for providing citizenship certificates to Bangla-speaking people."
"The Headman demands Tk 35,000 to Tk 50,000 for land transfer certificates from Bangla speaking people. One country runs under two laws," he said.