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HC enquires about steps taken to rehabilitate Gobindaganj's evicted Santals

  • Published at 07:25 am February 15th, 2017
  • Last updated at 07:09 pm February 15th, 2017
HC enquires about steps taken to rehabilitate Gobindaganj's evicted Santals
The DC and the UNO will have to file a report within 30 days. In a suo moto rule on Wednesday, the bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Haque and Justice Mohammad Ullah also asked why the government should not be ordered to rehabilitate the Santals. The land secretary, Gaibandha DC, Gobindaganj OC, among others, have been ordered to respond to the ruling within two weeks. The High Court on January 8 being moved by a writ petition, came up with a ruling asking the government authorities concerned to explain as to why filing of a case should not be ordered against the Rangpur Sugar Mill’s managing director for deliberately destroying evidence of clash at Sahebganj. The managing director was asked to submit a report which was placed before the bench on Wednesday. After hearing the report, the High Court came up with the rule and order, said Suprokash Datt, who filed the writ petition. AM Masum, the lawyer for the sugar mill, represented the managing director. The lawyer during hearing claimed that the Santals had built homes on the mill’s property to grab the land. The court disagreed with the claim, saying many of them have been living there for years. “May be some new houses were built prior to the clash,” the court said. The court asked how many evicted Santal victims had been rehabilitated so far. It was informed that around 1,200 Santals had lost their homes and got nothing except some relief goods. Then the court issued the order on their rehabilitation. The court also denounced the sugar mill authority’s decision to evict the Santals from the land. At least three Santal men died and many more were injured during a November 6 clash that erupted as Gobindaganj upazila administration attempted to evict the community. Several policemen were also seen setting fire to Santal homes. On December 14, the High Court directed Gaibandha’s chief judicial magistrate to investigate police involvement in the incident. The court on February 7 ordered the withdrawal of Gaibandha police chief Md Ashraful Islam and all policemen present during the arson. A large number of Santals had taken shelter in the nearby Madarpur and Joypur villages. Quite a few of them have left but many others have chosen to stay in the hope of getting their ancestral land back someday.
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