BANGLADESH Bangladeshi churchman wades into land dispute

BANGLADESH Bangladeshi churchman wades into land dispute

Indigenous Rajwar community claim they are receiving death threats in bid to evict them from their land.

Bangladeshi churchman wades into land dispute

Ethnic indigenous people take part in a protest in Chapai Nawabganj district of northern Bangladesh on July 18 to demand an end to the attempted eviction of the Rajwar community. (Photo supplied)

A church official has joined rights activists in condemning what they said were attempts to evict hundreds of ethnic indigenous people in northern Bangladesh.Their condemnation comes after hundreds of members of the ethnic Rajwar community staged a protest in Tongpara in Chapai Nawabganj district on July 18 against “acts of intimidation” to force more than 200 people from 35 families off land they have occupied for more than a century.“A local zamindar [landlord] brought these people here for agricultural purposes more than a century ago during the British colonial period. They were allowed to live and settle here. After the end of zamindari rule, the land became Khas [government land] and they continued living here for generations,” rights activist Hingu Murmu told UCA News.According to Murmu, 56, an ethnic Santal and Protestant Lutheran Christian, a Muslim man called Tariqul Islam obtained forged documents to claim a large piece of land in the village in 2014 and has since then attempted to evict the minority community.“In 2014, he sent a group of thugs to evict the community, but they failed to do so as villagers came out with their bows and arrows, forcing them to flee,” said Murmu, who is also president of North Bengal Adivasi Forum, an indigenous rights group.

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