A ‘citizen solidarity gathering’ was held on January 16, 2018 at Projonmo chattor, Shahbag, Dhaka for raising 7 point of Adivasi Santal of Sahebgonj-Bagdafarm, Gobindagonj, Gaibandha. Sahebgonj-Bagdafarm land recovery committee, Bangladesh adivasi forum, Jatiyo adivasi porishad, Adivasi-Bangali Solidarity Porishad, Janoudyog (JU), Bangladesh Adivasi Union, ALRD, Kapaeeng Foundation, Brotee, IED, CDA, Nagorik Udyog, Nijera Kori and BlAST jointly organized the event. Tarique Hossain, member secretary of JU facilitated the event with chair of Rabindranath Soren, President of Jatiyo Adivasi Porishod. In the event, young leaders, students of universities, civil society members, politicians of different parties, Indigenous community leaders and youths took part.

“People of Bagdafarm have been struggling for recovering their land for long time. But government has not listened to them. State created pressure not to move for it instead of providing support. We condemn the role of state”, said Numan Ahmed Khan, executive director of IED.

President of solidarity gathering and Jatiyo adivasi porishod, Rabindranath Soren said, “State accelerated torture and repression against indigenous peoples in the name of development day by day. The attacks against adivasi have not been judged. Culprits were not brought into justice. He urged to the government to return the land of Bagdafarm to adivasis without delay.”

“Adivasis of Bagdafarm are living under open sky. Their public life is being suffered by cold wave but no effective measure has been taken from government administration rather intensifying their suffering by filling false case against them. Violence against adivasis across the country is unabetted and rampant”, said Hiran Mitra Chakma, manager of Kapaeeng Foundation.

Condemning the barbaric attack, arson, looting and killing people of Bagdafarm, Anwarul Islam Babu, member secretary of JU said, “The incident that happened at Bagdafarm is commendable, painful and abominable. People of the country will not tolerate this kind of attack. We are demanding the culprit involved in this attack to bring into justice.”

“Even after one year of Bagdafarm attack, killings, lootings, eviction, arson and torture, adivasis still are not getting justice. The main accuses involved in the incident are still out of touch. Separate land commission will have to be formulated to solve the land dispute of plain land’s adivasis”, said Shohel Chondra Hajon, organizing secretary of National Hajong Organization.

Khokon Suiteen Murmu, consultant of Kapaeeng Foundation said, “The countrywide development fair is being organized by government initiatives. But government wants to ensure development of the country evicting indigenous peoples. The state is not taking care of indigenous peoples where they are dire in need of food, cloth and shelter”.

“Return the 2 thousand acres of land forcefully taken from adivasis in the name of establishing Bagdafarm suger mill to original owners immediately”, urged Dr. Dibalok Singha, advisor of adivasi union and member of CPB central committee to government. He strongly condemned the police obstruction and taken away of mike during organizing citizen solidarity gathering.

Eminent politician and president of Oikyonap, Pankanj Bhattyacharjee compared the attack and killing of police on Adivasi Bangali with misreant, goon and tout. He said, “If police kills then there is no need of miscreant, goon and tout”. He further said, “We are the citizen of democratic and independent Bangladesh. There can never be a police attack on the people. It can only happen in Pakistan”.

The following 7 points demands were raised from the solidarity gathering:

  • Return of 1842.32 acres requisitioned land of Sahebgonj Bagdafarm of Gobindoganj to the original Adivasi landholders.
  • If the article of The East Bengal (Emergency) requisition of property act 1948 (no. VIII of 1948) is violated then the acquired land should be returned to original owners with compensation
  • As the requisition conditions are violated, this order should be cancelled and formulate separate land commission to solve it.
  • Give exemplary punishment to provocateurs and terrorists who were involved in killing, vandelization, arson, lootings and triggering rifles at Adivasi Santal village and provide compensation to the killed and injured family.
  • Should withdraw false case filed against affected adivasis and bangali on the incident occurred on November 6, 2016. Should stop harassment and oppression of local goons and miscreant on adivasi and bangali in that area.
  • Bring the involved attackers including identified police officers who set fire to the households of adivasi santals into book.
  • Take legal action against corrupted persons involved in money embezzlement and corruption during land lease period after closure of sugar mill in 2004.