Report arrives to our CHT Voice desk that the Bangladesh army personnel and ansars of Babuchara army camp, Dighinala Upazila, Khagarachari Hill District opposed construction of houses of Jummas to their home homesteads at Sashi Mohan Para and Jatna Mohan Karbari Para of Dighinala Mouza. Report claims that Smriti Chakma (25), son of late Ananda Mohan Chakma of Sashi Mohan Para has been injured when Mohammad Selim, a soldier of 28 Bengal attacked him. Further report claims that Mohammad Rahim, a member of Ansar, attached to the same army camp tried to molest Mrs. Susmita Chakma (25), wife of Shyamal Chakma of same village during the same occurrence.
As soon as getting the report, the Deputy Commissioner of Khagarachari Hill District, Mr. Masood Karim, invited Mr. Santoshita Chakma Bakul, General Secretary, Jumma Refugee Welfare Association to his office for discussion. According to the DC, Mr. Bakul tells the CHT Voice, the BGB (former BDR) initiated taking over of 35 acres of land for establishment of a BGB Sector Headquarters at Babuchara. As a result the local Jummas made a Writ with the High Court Division and the process had been suspended until it is resolved. As a result the BGB again initiated taking over of 28 acres of land adjacent to the earlier plot without the knowledge of the Jumma owners and now the BGB is putting pressure upon the district administration for handing over the land to them.
Mr. Bakul claims to the CHT Voice yesterday that he raised strong objection to the DC so that he does not hand over the land to the BGB, as the lands belong to the Jumma villagers and it would further invite Jumma eviction from their homesteads. Mr. Bakul gave example of Dighinala cantonment- there was only one Bengali man near the cantonment when it was constructed in 1973. But, afterwards, all the nearby Jummas have been driven out and Bengali settlers have been replaced. Therefore, once the targeted land goes to BGB then the entire area will go to the settlers and Jummas will be landless. Mr. Bakul proposed to the DC to set up the BGB Sector Headquarters near the Alinagar village in the east side of Dighinala cantonment. In reply the DC argued that such an establishment should not be established in a proper area. Mr. Bakul further gave instances of BGB establishments at Baghaichari, Khagarachari and Ramgarh Upazila headquarters.
According to Mr. Prantor Chakma, Headman of Dighinala Mouza, the BGB is trying to set up its Battalion headquarters over an area of 31.63 acres. In response to a query, whether the BGB acquisition case has got hill district council’s permission, Mr. Prantor very clearly confirms in the evening that the case is still at primary stage. To cater a question he confirms that he gave settlement of homesteads from this 31.63-acre plot to 58 Jummas since1986. According to the CHT Regulation, 1900 (1 of 1900) a headman can allot 30 decimals of land for settlement to a Jumma inhabitants for homestead without the permission of any authority. According to the Bangladesh land law graveyards, cremation places and villages cannot be taken over or acquisitioned. Mr. Prantor Chakma also tells that the earlier BGB land acquisition case claims for 61.63 acres which is now under High Court consideration after a Writ.
The 20 BGB Zone Headquarters presently commanded by Lt. Col. Md. Abdur Rahman, psc stationed at Panchari sadar tries to shift from Panchari Upazila to Dighinala Upazila and faces land crisis- opposition from the Jumma land owners in one hand and the BGB and the army (Babuchara army camp) pressure upon the district administration/Jumma land owners on the other. Yesterday’s incident has raised sheer agitation among the Jummas of Dighinal Upazila. On 3rd of August 2013 the Bengali Muslim settlers of Tendyong Union of Matiranga Upazila made a story of abduction and attacked upon the Jumma inhabitants for driving them out from their ancestral villages.