Inquiry: 11 May 2012
On 11 May 2012 a group of journalists and civil society representatives led by Syed Abul Maqsud, noted columnist, was sent to investigate the brutal killing of 4 indigenous laborers and to support the victim’s families at Chakgopal village at Manda upazila in Rajshahi district by Kapaeeng Foundation. The other members of civic group were well-known journalist Saleem Samad, associate professor of journalism and mass communication department of Dhaka University Robaet Ferdous, senior reporter of the Daily Kaler Kantho Biplob Rahman, senior reporter of RTV Baejeed Ahmed, cameramen of RTV, contributor of the Daily Independent Jannat Ferdous, film maker Rashed Rayan, organising secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum Shakti Pada Tripura, senior reporter of the Daily Sun Numan Chowdhury, human rights activist and Barrister Faroque, representative of ALRD Rafiqul Islam, adviser of Adivasi Chattra Sangram Parishad Manik Soren and vice chairperson of Kapaeeng Foundation Dipayon Khisa.
The team of the journalists and civil society representatives visited the area and interviewed several persons including the victims, perpetrators, deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of Noagaon district and so on. After coming back from Naogaon, the Daily Kaler Kantho, the Daily Star, the Daily Sun and the Daily Prothom Alo published special story on the suffering and problems of indigenous peoples of Manda upazila.
It is mentionable that on 4 May 2012 four indigenous laborers were killed and 10 more indigenous villagers including women were seriously injured at Chakgopal field in Kashpur union of Manda upazila in Noagaon district in a clash over land dispute. Maharama Mardi (48), Madan Mardi (45) and Iliyas Mardi (40) were killed in the spot and seriously injured Krishna Mardi died in the morning of following day in Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. All the deceased were inhabitants of Pungi (Nibuda) village of Niyamatpur police station under Naogaon district.
According to the police, there had been a longstanding dispute between Md. Dalim and Md. Anwar over the ownership of three kathas of land in the village. Dalim along with 20/25 indigenous laborers hired from Niamatpur upazila went to harvest paddy on the disputed land in the morning. The clash ensued at about 9.00 am when the followers of Anwar tried to resist them from harvesting the paddy. A chase and counter-chase took place during the two hour long melee that left 4 indigenous people dead and injuring 11 others. The injured were rushed to different hospital. Of them, Maharam succumbed to his injuries at Rajshahi Medical collage Hospital.
On 15 May 2012 a protest meeting was held at TSC, Dhaka University organized by a group of intellectuals and civil society members demanding quick trial for the killing of four Adivasi farmers in Naogaon and rape of an indigenous minor girl in Rangamati, in facilitation of Kapaeeng Foundation. The civil society protest meeting was chaired by eminent journalist and researcher Syed Abul Maqsud while Rashed Khan Menon MP was present as chief guest in the protest gathering. Mr. Pankaj Bharttacharjya, convener of Gono Oikkyo Committee, teacher of Dhaka University Syed Anwar Hossain and Robaet Ferdous, managing editor of Daily Samakal Abu Syeed Khan, organising secretary of PCJSS Shakti Pada Tripura and programme officer of Oxfam Saikat Biswas also spoke at the meeting.
The rights groups included Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Jatiya Adiavsi Parishad, Garo Students’ Union, Oxfam, Pahari Chattra Parishad (PCP), Adivasi Chattra Sangram Parishad, Bangladesh Indigenous Women Network, Hill women’s Federation, Ubinig, Manusher Jonno Foundation, renowned journalist Saleem Samad and teacher of Dhaka University Shantunu Majumder et al.
In the protest meeting, a declaration was read out by teacher of Dhaka University Mr. Rabaet Ferdous. The recommendations of the declaration are as follows:
- To give exemplary punishment to the rapist and murderer of 11-year old Sujata Chakma from Longadu in Rangamati for his barbarous crimes;
- To arrest and punish the killers of 4 indigenous labourers in Manda of Naogaon district;
- To compensate the families of the 4 indigenous laborers for their loss and rehabilitate them to ensure their future from a special relief fund;
- To issue and implement a special action plan for ensuring the security of the marginalized workers and indigenous peoples;
- To implement the CHT Accord properly;
It is mentionable that 4 adivasi farmers were killed in a clash over land dispute in Manda upazila under Naogaon district on 4 May 2012, while an 11-year old Chakma girl was raped and murdered in Longudu upazila under Rangamati district on 9 May 2012.
– Media coverage on particular incident of human rights violation are published on national dailies and aired on electronic media;
– Local administration and public representatives are sensitized;
– The perpetrators have been arrested.