Submitted by:Kapaeeng Foundation
New Age, Dhaka, 25 January 2010,
Rights activists and politicians on Sunday strongly condemned the attack on Sanjeeb Drong, general secretary of the Bangladesh Indigenous People’s Forum, saying that the government seems to be playing no role at all in protecting the members of the ethnic minorities.
They also demanded the prime minister’s intervention to ensure the punishment of the criminals who attacked Sanjeeb at Rannikhong in Netrokona district on Friday when he was returning from Boheratali Christian Mission by motorcycle.
The miscreants tipped over the motorcycle and hit Sanjeeb with sticks repeatedly. His hands have been seriously injured.
‘We [rights activists] feel helplessness after the attack. The attack proves that the elected government is not a democratic government,’ Haider Akbar Khan Rano, the convenor of Workers Party of Bangladesh (Reconstituted), told a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.
Gono Forum’s presidium member Pankaj Bhattacharya, Bangladesh Adivasi Odhikar Andolon’s general secretary Mesbah Kamal, Dhaka University teachers Saurav Sikdar and Rubayet Ferdous, and Sanjeeb Drong and his wife, along with others, spoke at the press conference.
Saurav Sikdar said the attack on members of the ethnic minority during the Awami League-led government’s regime has indicated how vulnerable they are in the country.
However the officer-in-charge of the Durgapur Police Station, Abdul Khaleq, told New Age that they have arrested Krishna Saha in this connection.
A Garo community leader, who attended the press conference at DRU, told New Age that the miscreants attacked Sanjeeb because of previous enmity over a land dispute.
‘Sanjeeb had earlier protested against the illegal selling of land in Mirpur area which Ershad’s government had given to the ethnic minority for building a community cultural centre,’ he said.
He said that Promad Mankin MP, who was the state minister for cultural affairs, in February 2009 allegedly sold the property for Tk 2.2 crore to a non-government organisation.
‘The sale was strongly criticised by the ethnic minority leaders and Sanjeeb played a vital role in the subsequent protests, after he was threatened several times over the phone and was finally attacked,’ he said.
He said that Supen Tojo, who was allegedly involved in the attack, is also brother-in-law of Promad Mankin.
The New Age tried repeatedly to contact Promad Mankin but failed.
Various political and cultural organisations strongly condemned the attack on Sanjeeb.
The Jatiya Adivasi Parishad’s general secretary, Rabindranath Saren, in his statement condemned the attack and urged the government to arrest the masterminds behind the incident.
Leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Indigenous Stud-ents Action Forum at a press conference in Mudhu’s Cant-een on the Dhaka University campus demanded arrest of the attackers and exemplary punishment for them.
They also brought out a procession and threatened to wage a tough movement if the culprits were not arrested immediately.
Leaders of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity on Saturday strongly condemned the attack.
Punishment to attackers of Sanjeeb Drong demanded
The Daily Star, Monday, January 25, 2010
Rights activists yesterday condemned the attack on indigenous community leader Sanjeeb Drong, general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, and demanded punishment to the attackers.
They alleged that Sanjeeb was attacked by a group of armed hoodlums near Rashmani Memorial in Netrokona on Friday when he was returning to Birishiri after attending a meeting.
The rights activists said this at a press conference organised by Bangladesh Adivasi Forum and Bangladesh Adivasi Adhikar Andolon at Dhaka Reporters' Unity in the city,
They demanded proper investigation into the incident, arrest and punishment to the attackers.
Sanjeeb, who was accompanied by his wife during the incident, was later rescued by local people. His motorcycle was also vandalised by the assailants.
The injured Adivasi leader in his speech said the attackers were all Bangalees except one Garo accomplice named Supen Toju from Madhabpur village.
A case has been filed in Durgapur Police Station in Netrokona. Police later arrested one Krishna Saha in connection with the attack.
Sanjeeb said an influential group is creating pressure on the police to release the arrestee, who can disclose the names of the architects behind the attack.
Demanding protection, the indigenous leader said he and his family members are feeling insecure after the attack.
Prof Mesbah Kamal, general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Adhikar and Research and Development Collective, said human rights activists are most vulnerable to aggression.
Pankaj Bhattacharya, presidium member of Gono Forum, Prof Robayet Ferdous and Dr Sourav Sikdar of Dhaka University, Sharif Jamil, joint secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon and politician Haidar Akbar Khan Rono also spoke.