It’s been alleged that, a group of perpetrators associated with Lama Rubber Industries Limited has cut and set fire on 350 acres of cultivable lands of indigenous Tripura and Mro people at Langkom Karbari Para, Joychandra Tripura Karbari Para, and Rangen Karbari Para of Sarai union under Lama Upazila of Bandarban district on 26 April 2022. In the fire, 10,000 bamboos to sell to the market has also been burnt in the fire. As a result, the sources of income and food of indigenous people are now totally closed. Thus, 39 indigenous families of Tripura and Mro community are starving and passing their days by eating potatoes and leaf’s from the jungle. As a result, the victim families are in dire need of food and drinking water.
It’s learnt that, Lama Rubber Industries Limited has been trying to occupy and evict the local indigenous Mro and Tripura people living there from a long time. However, when the indigenous people tried to stop them many times, the company people filed several false cases against them.
It’s to be mentioned that, on 20 March 2022, a group of Mro indigenous people organized a human chain in front of the Bandarban District Commissioner Office seeking Prime Minister’s intervention to save their livelihood and land.
Hakmati Tripura, a 55-year-old woman from Langkom Mro Para said, there is no rice in the house. I am trying to survive by eating the herbs of the forest. I don’t know how many days I will be able to survive like this.
“When the people protested against occupation of Jum farm land by the rubber company in 2019, the rubber company filed a case against 6 people of our village including me.” said Langkom Mro, a village head in Langkom Mro area.
He said, “Unable to bear the oppression of the company, the two families left the village in 2019 and moved elsewhere.”
Inchong Mro, a resident of the area said, “the water in our neighbourhood was almost destroyed by the fire. We used to use this water as drinking water. Residents of the area are in dire need of drinking water as the fountain is damaged”.
80 year Jyoti Chandra Tripura said, “On April 26, 2022 the goons of Lama Rubber Industries Limited set fire to about 100 acres of plantation to occupy our traditional Jum land, but no one has come to help us yet.”
The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) is very worried to learn that Lama Rubber Industries Limited, has set fire on Jum plantation of indigenous Mro and Tripura people containing rice fields and fruit plantations in Langkom Karbari Para, Joychandra Tripura Karbari Para, and Rangen Karbari Para of Lama Upazila of Bandarban district.
In a press statement of CHT Commission, signed by its three Co-Chairs, namely, Sultana Kamal, Elsa Stamatopoulou and Myrna Cunningham Kain dated on 30 April, the Commission demands immediate and impartial investigation, legal action against the perpetrators, and protection of the Mro and their Jum land.
The press statement further said that according to the media, on 26 April, individuals associated with Lama Rubber Industries Limited set fire to about 100 acres of Mro Jum land.
On 7 May 2022, 16 prominent citizens have issued a joint statement protesting the burning of about 350 acres of jum cultivation natural forest in Langkampara, Rengenpara and Joychandrapara in Bandarban district. In a statement sent to the media on Saturday, they also demanded a proper investigation and trial of the two incidents and called on the government concerned to provide proper compensation to the victims.
The signatories to the statement were Noted Human Rights Activists and Former Caretaker Government Adviser Advocate Sultana Kamal, Dhaka University Professor & Noted Economist, Abul Barkat, Women Leader and Coordinator of Nijera Kari, Khushi Kabir, Executive Director of ALRD, Shamsul Huda, Executive Director of TIB’s, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, President of Ain O Salish Kendra and Member of the Bangladesh Bar Council Advocate Z I Khan Panna, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council and Prosecutor of International Crimes Tribunal Advocate Rana Dasgupta, Bangladesh Supreme Court Advocate Subrata Chowdhury, Presidium Member of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, Kajal Debnath, Bangladesh Supreme Court Advocate, Tabarak Hossain, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Dhaka University, Professor Robayet Ferdous, CEO of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Honorary Executive Director of BLAST, Barrister Sara Hossain, General Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF), Sanjeeb Drong, Information and Publicity Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF), Dipayon Khisa and CEO of Nagarik Udyog, Zakir Hossain.