| Jul 30, 2015
A member of parliament of the ruling Awami Lague has reportedly occupied by force a few pieces of land of the Hindu community in Thakurgaon.
According to an intelligence agency report, the local police, the victims and the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad have alleged that Dabirul Islam MP of Thakurgaon-2 and his son Mazharul Islam alias Sujan had grabbed Hindu land in Thakurgaon by force.
Dabirul Islam and his son Mazharul, however, claimed they are not involved with any kind of land grabbing in the district.
According to the intelligence report sent to the home ministry and the prime minister’s office, Dabirul Islam has established a tea garden, ‘Ranbag Islami Tea Estate Company Limited’ in Ranbag of Paria union, Baliadangi upazila.
The 106-acre tea garden comprises 21 bighas (one bigha is equal to 0.3306 acre) of grabbed land of Akul Chandra Singh, 27 bighas of Bhakaram Singh and Janak Chandra Singh, 24 bighas of Thonram Singh, 24 bighas of Khudanlal and land of other 10 minority families.
Mazharul, son of the MP, is now forcing the Hindu families to sell their remaining 150 to 200 bighas of land to them. The minority families are frequently being threatened, intimated and attacked to sell the land, said the report.
On 10 June Akul Chandra Singh sowed plants on his one bigha land but the ruling AL men destroyed all the plants in the afternoon by cultivating the land. Mazharul, on 17 June, even threatened Akul not to sow the plants, it added.
A group of men led by Mazharul, including the tea garden’s caretaker Ekramul Haque, local people Mohammad Ali, Showkat Ali, Ashraful Islam, Babu, Mini and 15-20 other persons attacked Bhakaram Singh, Akul Chandra Singh and Janak Chandra Singh on 19 June with sharp weapons, injuring 8-10 people.
The attackers forced Akul Chandra to sign a non-judicial stamped paper, stating that he was handing over the ownership of his land.
Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad’s Thakurgaon unit chairman Balaram Guha said to Prothom Alo, “The attack was made to grab the land. I suggested the victim families to complain to the administration but they do not dare do so.”
“The minority people cast their vote for the Awami League when the election comes, but the Awami League leaders make them suffer,” he added.
Bhakaram Singh alleged that he was admitted to a hospital on 20 June after the attack.
Victim Akul Chandra told Prothom Alo, “The MP has already grabbed my five bighas of land by his cadre force. A family shifted from the locality for the fear of repression.”
“I have tried to meet with the MP. But, he never responded. We are spending our days in terrible fear of another attack. The police authorities also seem to be in hibernation,” Akul added.
Lawmaker Dabirul told Prothom Alo that he is not involved with land grabbing of Hindu properties.
“This is not true. No incident like land grabbing has taken place. I am the president of district Awami League and was supposed to become a minister when the cabinet reshuffled. Former water resources minister Ramesh Chandra Sen, I think, is spreading rumours against me being jealous of my fame.”
However, Mazharul told Prothom Alo that the BNP-Jamaat backed upazila chairman Ayub Ali is propagating against him and his father to earn political gains.
The MP said, “My son was innocent. He was phoned to get out of the house and a group of people attacked my son.”
But, the MP’s son, Mazharul said, “I was sleeping on the day the attack was held and I know nothing about the attack.”
Former minister Ramesh Chandra Sen said, “The victim families conveyed me the incident of attack. I discussed the incident at the district law and order committee’s meeting and requested them to take action.”
Badhu Singh, son of historic Tebhaga Movement leader Helketu Singh, said, “The MP has already occupied 27 bighas of land from my tea garden. They warned us of burning my garden down if I do not give it to them. Law enforcing agencies know all about this.”
Dharen Singh, son of Janak Singh, said, “The MP’s son wants to give Tk 70,000 for each bigha. They forced me to sign a stamped paper when I rejected their offer.”
The intelligence report recommended legal and organisational action against the persons who are involved with repressing the minority.
Contacted, Thakurgaon police superintendent Abdur Rahim Shah told Prothom Alo, “I have already informed the deputy commissioner of the incident, though none has filed any case with the police station. Besides, the MP requested me to settle this.”