They also warned the govt to act fast on the matter
The tribal Santal minority blocked the Gobindaganj-Dinajpur regional highway in Gaidandha, demanding the arrest of Ex-MP Abul Kalam, and Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Shakil Akand Bulbul, and others involved, for allegedly killing three Santals in 2017.
They barricaded the highway at 12pm on Saturday.
The Shahebganj-Bagda Sugarcane Farmland Recover Committee, Adivasi-Bangali Solidarity Committee, Bangladesh Adivasi Union, and the National Minority Committee jointly blockaded the road.
They later withdrew their program at 1pm, after assurances from Gobindaganj UNO, Ramkrishna Barman, and local police officials.
At the time, Shahebganj-Bagda Sugarcane Farmland Recovery Committee President, Filmon Baske, General Secretary Zafrul Islam Prodhan, Gobindaganj Upazila Communist Party’s Tajul Islam, and Adivasi leader Pricila Murmu spoke there, among others.
They said after two years of the killing of Santal community members Shamal, Mangal, and Ramesh, there is no progress in the murder case. Even the prime accused Ex-MP Kalam, and UP Chairman Shakil, have not been arrested yet, including others accused.
The speakers demanded proper justice for the killings and set fire to their houses and demanded the return of their ancestral land. They also warned of holding broad programs if the government does not act on the matter fast.
About the progress of the case, Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) Gobidaganj unit Incharge, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Abdul Hai Sarker said: “So far, 25 people were arrested in the case. One of them also gave a confessional statement to the court.
“The autopsy report of the deceased is in our hands at the moment but the viscerareport is not with us. Apart from these, PBI was able to recover some looted tins and others items of the Santals.”
The ASP also said: “The investigation has made progress and soon the full investigation report will be submitted.”
On November 6 2017, three Santal men were killed and 30 people, including nine policemen, were injured in a clash with law enforcement and workers of Rangpur Sugar Mills in Gobindaganj.
The clash broke out when workers of Rangpur Sugar Mills and police went to the Bagda Farm area to “reclaim” the sugar mill’s land, allegedly occupied by the Santal community.
On November 16 of the same year, Shapan Murmu in favour of the Santals, filed a case against 600 unnamed men.
Later, on November 26, Santal man Thomas Hemrom, filed another case on November 26, accusing former MP Kalam, UP Chairman Shakil, along with the names of 33 others, and 500-600 unnamed people for the killing and attack on the minority community.