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ATTACKS ON SANTAL COMMUNITY: ‘A crime against humanity’

  • Published at 01:18 am November 14th, 2016
  • Last updated at 01:35 am November 14th, 2016
ATTACKS ON SANTAL COMMUNITY: ‘A  crime against humanity’
The country’s one of the leading human-rights activists Sultana Kamal came up with the allegation at a protest rally at Shahbag intersection yesterday. Citing that the prime minister had vowed to take necessary steps against the recent countrywide surge of communal attacks on minority communities, the veteran activist demanded implementation of those words in reality. She said: “PM’s own party men were directly involved in several communal attacks on minorities across the country.” Mentionable, according to the allegation of Santals, a week ago, around 1,000 Santals families were kicked out of their homes through an unprecedented eviction drive conducted by police, allegedly backed by armed Awami League (AL) goons loyal to local lawmaker Principal Abul Kalam Azad. They set ablaze hundreds of makeshift homes of the Santals after ransacking and looting their each and every valuables and driving out of homes. Demanding the government to immediately and urgently give back the ancestral land of the Santals, Sultana claimed equal rights as citizen and immediate compensation, not relief, in terms of what they lost in the attack. Expressing solidarity with the Santal community’s fight for recovering their ancestral land, leaders of progressive student alliance, Santal Student Union, Pahari Chhatra Parishad, Chhatra Federation, Anti-imperialist Student Unit, Pahari Chhatra Shangram Parishad, Garo Student Union, among others, addressed the rally. Different speakers at the protest rally observed that the ongoing political culture of instigating communal hate among the members of majority Muslim community and orchestrating communal attacks on helpless minorities wasn’t the philosophy of the liberation war in 1971. “Leaders and activists of the ruling Awami League were directly involved in pre-planned communal attacks on different minority communities of the country including the attacks on Santals in Gobindaganj, Gaibandha, and on Hindus at Nasirnagar, Brahmanbaria, with the intention to driving them out of the country to grab their land,” they said. “If our demands of compensation for the victims and taking proper action against the perpetrators are not met by November 25, countrywide demonstrations will be staged under the banner of Santal Students Union”, said president of the body at the rally. Supreme Court Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua said; “Santal people are carrying out a movement to retrieve their land right reclaiming their ancestral land in Gaibandha, but instead of taking proper procedure police and other government bodies swooped on them with unprecedented government atrocity when party goons set fire to Santal homes in presence of hundreds of police.” “1700 acres of land is still occupied by influential political individuals but government is not paying heed to the plight of Santals,” he also said, adding that the ‘local administration did not follow legal procedure’ to reclaim the land. Under the banner of Chhatra-Janata, the protest rally was arranged demanding establishment of land right for every citizen including indigenous and religious minorities and protesting ‘killing, land grabbing, firing and oppression on minorities’.