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Bangladesh: 2016 attack on Santals a shame for nation, says Sultana Kamal

8 November 2018

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The Daily Star, November 07, 2018

Santals demonstrate in Gaibandha yesterday demanding justice for the attack in 2016 that left three people dead. Photo: Star

Our Correspondent, Gaibandha

Killing, looting and arson attack on Santals in Gobindaganj upazila on November 6 in 2016 has brought shame for the nation.

Former adviser to a caretaker government Sultana Kamal said this at a meeting on Gobindaganj Shaheed Minar premises yesterday on the occasion of the second anniversary of the brutal attack.

“We must stand beside the victims, if we think us as human being,” she said.

She also demanded justice for the brutal attack.

Earlier, hundreds of Santals carrying red flags, placards, banners and festoons brought out a procession demanding justice for the attack and return of their forefathers’ lands at Sahebganj sugarcane farm belonging to Rangpur Sugar Mills in Gaibandha.

Sultana Kamal, united NAP President Panakaj Bhattacharja, former justice Nizamul Huq Nasim and human rights and land rights activist Shamsul Huda joined the procession jointly organised by Bagda Farm Bhumi Uddhar Sangram Committee, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Bangladesh Adivasi Union, Adivasi-Bangali Sanghati Parishad and Jano Udyog.

The procession was brought out from Santal villages Joypurpara and Madarpur and marched ten kilometers to Shaheed Minar premises.

The Santal people at the programme said they are yet to get justice two years into the incident.

CPB central leader Mihir Ghosh, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad President Rabindra Soren, Bangali-Adivasi Sanghati Parishad Convener Sirajul Islam Babu and Nari Adivasi leader Pricila Murmu were present.

Former adviser to acaretaker government Sultana Kamal at a meeting. Photo: Star

Three Santal men were killed and many others injured during an eviction drive at their village at Sahebganj sugarcane farm by local people and police. Over 1500 sheds were torched and households looted during the attack.

Speakers said earlier in July 2016, the landless Santals occupied over hundred acres of land at Sahebganj sugarcane farm of Rangpur Sugar Mills in Gaibandha as their forefathers’ landed properties. Over the issue, a tense situation was created among the local people, the mill authority and police.

On November 6, police and mill workers during an eviction drive swooped on the newly erected village of Santal community. Police opened fire, killing three Santal men and leaving many others injured.

One Sawpan Murmu filed a case, accusing 33 named people, including local lawmaker Principal Abul Kalam Azad and Sapmara Union Parishad Chairman Shakil Akand Bulbul. Police arrested three people in the case, but they were released on bail.

Speakers said police are yet to arrest the main accused and victims were not provided with any compensation or rehabilitation, although two years have passed since the attack.


The above article from The Daily Star is reproduced here for educational and non commercial use