The land grabbers are now engaged in fencing the whole Tripura Para hill, said the residents
The ethnic Tripura community of Sonaichhari in Sitakunda upazila, Chittagong are in constant fear as some local influential people have allegedly been trying to evict them from their century-old land.
Tripuras live in different areas of Bangladesh, including the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Sitakunda and Mirsarai upazilas of Chittagong, Bilonia upazila of Noakhali district, and Cumilla, Chandpur, Moulavibazar, Srimangol, Rajbari and in Faridpur and Dhaka districts.
The indigenous inhabitants of Tripura Para at Sonaichhari alleged that Abul Khayer Group, a Chittagong-based business conglomerate, is trying to grab their land illegally.
The Tripura community members are passing their days in fear of eviction from their 150-year-old land as the influential people of Abul Khayer Group have long been asking them to leave the place.
They are receiving threats from some local influential people backed by Abul Khayer Group and land grabbers, they alleged.
The land grabbers are now engaged in fencing the whole Tripura Para hill, said the residents.
Talking to some residents of the area, the UNB correspondent came to know that 75 families of the Tripura community are living at Tripura Palli and there is a big factory of Abul Khayer Group one kilometre off the Palli.
Three years back, the Abul Khayer Group had hung a signboard in the area claiming the land as its own, leading to a chaos among the inhabitants and some local influential people.
On May 14 last, the miscreants allegedly went to the area and tried to install a barbed-wire fence in a bid to take the land under control. But the ethnic community people resisted them.
Kanchan Kumar Tripura, a resident of Tripura Para, said, “I’ve been living in the area for several decades, and this is government land but the musclemen of Abul Khayer Group are now demanding it as their own. We’ve informed Sonaichhari UP Chairman and local administration about it.”
Monir Ahmed, chairman of Sonaichhari union, said “Some 400 people of 75 families are living in Tripura Para. They came to me and I told them to go to the local administration.”
Senior Manager of Abul Khayer Group Imrul Quader Bhuiyan said, “Some residents of Tripura Para tried to build a house on a plot which is one kilometre off Tripura Para. Later, we obstructed them with the help of Ansar members and local administration.”
“The place where the Tripura men are trying to build their house is owned by Abul Khayer Group. We’ve all the documents, and informed the local administration about it. If it's government land then we’ve nothing to say,” Imrul Quader said.
Milton Roy, Sitakunda Upazila Nirbahi Officer, said “We’ve talked to the two parties and they’ve agreed to sit together to settle the matter. There’ll be a meeting soon.”
Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the area claimed that the former UNO had asked them to move to Jangale Salimpur a few years back and they were reluctant about getting shifted there.
According to the Bangladesh Indigenous Forum, Sitakunda, there are 800 families living in different hills in Sitakunda.
The areas include Choto Darogarhat of Baroiardala union, Mahadebpur in Sitakunda municipality, Banshbaria, Sultana temple and Choto Kumira in Kumira upazila, Madhya, South Sonaichhari under Sonaichhari union and Madnahat area.
Of the total area, 75 families lived at Sonaichhari Tripura Para, 122 families at Choto Kumira Tripura Para, 45 at Mahadebpur, 10 at Choto Darogahat, 30 at Sultana Temple, 10 at Banshbaria, 38 at Shitalpur Tripura Para.
The influential people also wanted to evict them, the Forum alleged.
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