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Dispute over the land

According to local sources, some 1.10 acres of land was allotted by the public works department in 1991 in the name of Saira Khatun of Bheola village in Chakoria. The area was left vacant for a long time. Now, the followers of Monaf Sikder control this land in the Sugandha area of the city.

According to documents of the Cox's Bazar Sadar land office, the land is in the vicinity of the hotel-motel zone in the city.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Nu-enang Marma Mong, assistant commissioner (land) said that when the area was turned into a hotel-motel zone, it was included in the actual khatian (official records). But the demarcation (daag) number of a khatian was excluded. As a result, eviction drives could not be conducted there.

Subsequently, a report was sent to the district administration from the office of the assistant commissioner (land). Later, including the land in the official records, an eviction drive was carried out in the beginning of 2020. Afterwards, the owners went to the district administration with the documents. The matter has been pending since then.

According to local sources, a person named Obaidul Hossain currently controls a part of the land. He is the uncle of Monaf Sikder.

The Sugandha dry fish market is located there. Monaf was shot in front of this market. There are a total of 34 shops in the market. The monthly rent of each shop is Tk 10,000.

Monaf's cousin Rana Sikder talked to Prothom Alo at the dry market at 3.30pm on Monday. He claimed the dispute between Monaf and mayor Mujibur Rahman started over the occupation of the land.

Rana Sikder said his uncle Obaidul Hossain took 55 decimals of the land from Saira Khatun through power of attorney in 2017. Before that, another person occupied the land.

However, in 2019, they took control of the place by driving away that person. However, the man again went to the mayor to take control of the land. At one stage, the mayor took over the land with his men in January this year.

Then they went to a court. In June they took control of the land based on a High Court order.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Monaf’s elder brother and plaintiff in the case, Md Shajahan, said they were being threatened since they took control of the land.

Mayor Mujibur Rahman denied all allegations saying, he sides with no one over the land issue and he has been trying to settle the dispute between the two parties.

The mayor said he is a victim of conspiracy. "Several influential people of the party are using former Chattra League cadre Monaf Sikder to make me an accused in the attempt to murder case and trying to make me controversial," the mayor added.

No arrest, investigation continues

Miscreants fired shots at Monaf Sikder, former vice-president of Cox's Bazar district Chhatra League, on 27 October. Following the incident, Monaf’s elder bother Md Shahjahan, a resident from Peshkarpara of the town, filed a case on charges of an attempt to murder against eight people including mayor Mujibur Rahman and district unit Awami League organising secretary Nasrin Sarowar with the Cox’s Bazar’s sadar police on 31 October.

Relatives said Monaf is undergoing treatment at Chattagram Medical College Hospital.

No one has been arrested in the case as of Tuesday night. Cox’s Bazar sadar model police station officer-in-charge (OC) Munir-Ul-Gias told Prothom Alo a probe is on in the case. Police are trying to identify those who fired the shots, he added.

According to Cox’s Bazar police, Monaf Sikder faces various charges including murder in eight cases.

*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu

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