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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Gaibandha Santals claim mass tyranny, cops deny

LAST MODIFIED: 05:58 PM, November 07, 2016

[[ Philimon Baske, a local Santal in Shahebganj, told The Daily Star that locals were terrorising Santal community – vandalising their houses and looting livestock – since last night.
“It’s the oppression we saw back in 1971. This morning they started looting our livestock animals. We are helpless – now we even don’t have the strength to resist,” he said. ]]


Armed with bamboo and bow and arrows, adivasi people clash with police and workers of a sugarcane farm in Gabindaganj of Gaibandha on November 7, 2016. Photo: Star
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Ethnic minority Santals of Gaibandha’s Gobindaganj today claimed of mass oppression upon them as a sequel to yesterday’s clashes with police over a land dispute.
Police, however, asserted that such claims were false and that the area was under heightened security following the clash to remove Santals from the land.
Philimon Baske, a local Santal in Shahebganj, told The Daily Star that locals were terrorising Santal community – vandalising their houses and looting livestock – since last night.
“It’s the oppression we saw back in 1971. This morning they started looting our livestock animals. We are helpless – now we even don’t have the strength to resist,” he said.
Gobindaganj Police Station Officer-in-Charge Subrota Kumar Sarker told The Daily Star that he received the complaints, but insisted that “no such thing was taking place”.

Armed with bamboo and bow and arrows, adivasi people clash with police and workers of a sugarcane farm in Gabindaganj of Gaibandha on November 7, 2016. Photo: Star
 
However, he told our Gaibandha correspondent that the eviction drive of “some makeshift homes set up by the Santals on the land concerned was carried out last night”.
Gaibandha police Superintendent Ashraful Islam refuted claims of such tyranny and said that additional police forces were deployed at scene for security measures.
Pakistan government, before independence, acquired the land where Santals lived from much before after 1954. It was leased out for sugarcane cultivation for Rangpur Sugar Mills.
However, the agreement to cultivate only sugarcane was violated as the mill authorities leased out most of the land for cultivation of crops like rice, wheat, mustard, tobacco, and maize.
Four months ago, the ethnic Santals occupied around 100 acres of land and built makeshift sheds on the plea that the land belonged to their forefathers. Yesterday’s clash ensued when the lease owners sought the help of police to evict the Santals.

Source:http://www.thedailystar.net/country/gaibandha-santals-claim-mass-tyranny-cops-deny-1310863

 



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