Attack on Mru people: Administration’s silence is disgraceful

A vested group has been making every effort to force out the Mru community of Sarai Union from their land in Lama Upazila in Bandarban. The Mru families have been cornered in various ways for the past one year. Miscreants attacked, torched seven houses and vandalised in Rengyen Mrupara on Sunday night.

A company, Lama Rubber Industry Limited, has been repeatedly accused of harassing and attacking the Mru community. Local administration, law enforcement and related authorities turned a blind eye to this.

The residents of the neighborhood alleged that the company brought 100 people in a truck to evict them and carry out attacks and looting. The assailants looted the rice, clothes, cattle, chickens, spades and such of the 11 poor families of the neighborhood. Families spent the night building fires in the cold. They shivered, having no warm clothes and in fear.

The local police visited the area but did not take any action yet. They argued that the victims have not filed a case or complaint at the police station. This is a matter of utter shock that some families were attacked in such manner and no one from the district or upazila administration stood by them for two days. Deputy Commissioner Yasmin Parveen Tibriji told the Prothom Alo correspondent, Bandarban, "We did not receive any complaint from those alleged victims. We are looking into the matter.”

It is beyond our comprehension as to how is she ‘looking into the matter’ without extending helps to some people of minority ethnic groups who are victims of looting and arson and suffering immensely in harsh cold winter. Lama Upazila Nirbahi Officer visited the area on Wednesday but his action is also disappointing.

Earlier, 350 acres of Jhum land was set on fire in Mru and Tripurapara last year. Miscreants sprayed pesticides in Jhiri, the only source of water there. According to the inspection committee report of Bandarban Zilla Parishad, the company has been forcibly holding the land leased for five years for almost 25 years.

The company allegedly going all out to evict the villagers by breaking all the conditions and occupying beyond the leased land illegally. But the local administration and related authorities overlooked the issue. Has the administration decided not to stand next to the affected citizens? We vehemently condemn and express concern over this atrocities on the Mru community.