On 20 April 2021 an indigenous Khasi youth was allegedly beaten and tortured inhumanly at Kurma Khasia Pan Punji under Islampur Union near Kamalganj Upazila Border of Moulvibazar District. The victim namely Formi Suchiang said that he was indiscriminately beaten and then was tortured inhumanly inside a dark room of Kurma Bonbit Office. It’s been learnt that, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic no outsider was allowed inside the Pan Punji of Khasia indigenous people. However, on the day of this incident, Razzak Ahmed, the newly joined Bit Officer of Kurma Bonbit Office along with two forest guards namely Furkan Mia, Zahir Mia and 4/5 unknown perpetrators led by Najrul Islam, Assistant Range Officer of Rajkandi Range entered inside the Kurma Pan Jhum. After that, when the victim stopped and asked Razak Ahmed and his gang to showcase the reason for entering the Pan Punji, they became furious and carried out an attacked and tortured the victim without any reason.
In the evening the Dalim Suchiang, Uncle of Formi Suchiang and Manri Sirles Song, Assistant Headman of Kurmi Khasi Pan Punji released the victim from the perpetrators by signing in a bond document. Afterwards, the victim was given primary medical treatment in the Pan Punji. Later, the victim was admitted to Kamalganj upazila Health Complex when his health condition was deteriorating. Presently, Abdul Hannan, Chairman of Islampur Union is trying to settle the dispute by discussing with the Headman of Kurmi Khasia Pan Punji and local indigenous peoples where the forest range officer Md. Nazrul Islam assures to take divisional action against the culprit and transfer them within a week. He also takes all the responsibilities of medical treatment for the victim.
It is to be mentioned that, the family of Formi Suchiang and other indigenous Khasi villagers have been living and cultivating betel leaf in their ancestral land for many years.
Local social worker and an member of Khasi Social Council, Mr. Saju Marchiang demanded the full implementation of the decisions taken in the meeting lead by the chairman of Islampur union on 24 April 2021. He also wanted the exemplary measures and actions so that it would not be happened in the near future.
Picture: Saju Marchiang