At least 20 people were injured in a clash between indigenous people and Bangalees yesterday over a piece of land belonging to a Christian missionary establishment at Baldipukur in Mithapukur upazila.
Of the injured, 10 were rushed to Mithapukur upazila health complex and Rangpur Medical College Hospital. They include two leaders of local Santals-- Silvions and Bipin.
Twelve of the injured are Santals and the others are Bangalees.
Mithapukur police said the clash broke out as the authorities of St Mary's Christian Missionary establishment started constructing a boundary wall on a plot of land adjacent to Adibashi Primary School run by it and Shah Abul Kashem High School established on land donated by it.
At this, a number of Bangalees attacked Santals with lethal weapons and the latter made a counter-attack with bows and arrows.
Contacted, Leo Deshai, priest at St Mary's Church, alleged that president of the managing committee of the high school Habibur Rahman led the attack.
He claimed that on March 18, the upazila administration removed some business establishments from the land and handed it over to them as per a court order.
But Habibur Rahman said the school authorities wanted the land to remain open as a playground of the school.
"And when construction of boundary wall on the land started, local people opposed it. This enraged Santals and they attacked the locals with bows and arrows,” he claimed.
Later, Additional District Magistrate Ruhul Amin Khan and Mithapukur Upazila Parshad Chairman Zakir Hossain visited the spot and asked both the sides to maintain status quo concerning the land.