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Monday, May 19, 2008

10 families of indigenous community evicted by Baralekha tea estate in Moulavibazar, Bangladesh

Report submitted by: Aungkyew Mong, Coordinator Kapaeeng Watch.

10 families of indigenous community evicted by Baralekha tea estate in MoulavibazarComplaint has been received that 10 families of indigenous Khasi community of south Shahbajpur union under Baralekha upazila in Moulavibazar district became penniless losing their homesteads and panpunjies (farmland of betel-leaf). They alleged that they are victimized of the deception of Rahmania tea estate authority.Indigenous Khasi families claimed that they signed an agreement with Rahmania tea estate authority on 29 April 2006. According to the agreement, Mr. Talbi Lamin, montri (headman) of the Khasi community and Sohrab Hossain Khan have taken on 100 acres of land lease for 12 years for cultivation of betel-leaf from the Rahmania tea estate authority in lieu of taka 1,200,000 (around US$ 17,000). Accordingly, Talbi Lamin, Obet Khasi, Nineton Khasi, Adhir Khasi, Nutli Khasi, Bishu Khasi and Pius Khasi erected houses and cultivated betel-leaf.Talbi Lamin (55) alleged that Sohran Hossain Khan and caretaker of Rahmania tea estate authority Dilip Sarker forcibly took signature from him on white paper last 16 April and ordered them to leave orchard soon. He also said that violating the agreement, they incited a group of miscreants to evict their houses on 19 April. As a result, they took shelter neighbouring Singur panpunji under Kulaura upazila. He lodged a case with Baralekha magistrate court.Obet Khasi (40), Bilan Khasi (35) and Adhir Khasi (30) said that they became penniless losing their homesteads and livelihood. The owner of the tea estate Mr. Machum Ahamed Chowdhury has not been reached for his clarification. On the Other, Sohran Hossain denied to take signature on white paper from Talbi Lamin.

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