The Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Godagari in Rajshahi has ordered the law enforcers to arrest the culprits who torched at least seven houses of the Santals in a bid to grab their land.
While visiting the area Sunday afternoon, UNO Jahid Newaz said that they had ensured security of the affected people and that the government would bear the costs of repairing the damaged houses.
Earlier in the day, Upazila Assistant Commissioner (land) Sanowar Hossain visited Kakonhat Sundarpur Jutkipara area and scrutinised the land-related documents of the local Santals.
He told reporters that they had found the allegations of torture, vandalism and arson attacks on Friday night to be true.
Farmer Modol Soren and other locals, who built seven small houses on a 76 decimal land recently, filed a case over the incident on Saturday night accusing Mozammel Huq of Kashimpur village and his son Dorul Huda; and Nasir Uddin and Kashem of Ghiapur Pukur area.
Mozammel had claimed ownership of the land and asked Modol Soren and others to leave the place. Later a gang of criminals led by Mozammel launched the attacks on Friday night.
The attackers also beat up locals who wanted to douse the fire.
Modol Soren said: “We have been living on this land, and producing crops for generations. We built some houses since my sons needed more space, but some people including Mozammel started claiming ownership of the land.”
Jatiya Adivasi Parishad’s Rajshahi district unit President Bimal Chandra Rajowar has demanded immediate arrest of the culprits and adequate security measures for the affected families.
Godagari OC Hipzur Alam Munshi claimed that the accused had fled the area.