The government has decided to build new homes for the Santals of Gobindaganj in Gaibandha in line with an order given by the prime minister, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said Wednesday.
The new homes would be built on over 10 acres – nearly 4.05 hectares – of land in Gobindaganj’s Katabari area, the minister told reporters following a meeting on security measures and preparation for the Victory Day on December 16.
The district administration made a similar statement on November 10.
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“Sheikh Hasina has already given the order to build new homes for the Santals because they do not have permanent residences. The prime minister also ordered the departments concerned to make detailed plans in this regard,” Kamal added.
Meanwhile, some 150 Santals Wednesday received relief distributed by the district administration of Gaibandha, five days after they refused to accepted aid from the Gobindaganj UNO, Abdul Hanna, allegedly for ordering the police to open fire on them during an eviction drive on November 6 that left three dead.
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The upazila administration evicted around 600 households from their ancestral land in Sahebganj-Bagda Sugar Mill area on that day. The drive was carried out by the police, RAB and BGB members, and assisted by local Bangalis, allegedly loyal to the local lawmaker, who looted the houses before burning them to ashes.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Jatiya Party and PM's Special Envoy HM Ershad said that the government did nothing wrong evicting the Santals, as they had been living there illegally.
Police shot Santals following magistrates’ order
“However, the government should have rehabilitated them at the first place as they are poor,” he told reporters at his Rangpur residence Wednesday.