Kapaeeng Watch News Release on situation of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kapaeeng Watch News Release on situation of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh: 29 October 2008

‘Punish rapists of indigenous women’

The Daily Star, 14 October 2008

Hundreds of indigenous people from Kalmakanda and Durgapur upazilas in Netrakona district yesterday formed a human chain in front of the office of Kalmakanda upazila nirbahi officer demanding punishment of two persons for raping indigenous women.

Two cases were filed with Kalmakanda Police Station on September 20 and October 11 against Jamal Mia of Baluchara village and Amir Hamza of Jigatola village for raping two indigenous women on September 19 and October 10, said police and indigenous leaders.

After the human chain organised by local NGO Sarbik Manab Unnayan Sangathan, indigenous leaders submitted a memorandum to Kalmakanda UNO. Police failed to arrest the accused of the two cases although they are seen moving in the area, said the memorandum to UNO.

Indiscriminate felling of trees at Khashia Punji protested

The Daily Star, 24 October 2008

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum (BAF) yesterday formed a human chain at TSC intersection on the Dhaka University campus protesting the indiscriminate cutting down of trees at Khashia Punji in Moulvibazar.

Bapa President Prof Muzaffer Ahmed said wholesale cutting down of trees at Khashia Punji not only poses a threat to the environment, but also it is an issue of justice. The environment, biodiversity and livelihood of the local indigenous people are facing threats due to such type of whimsical act of the government, he added. Prof Ahmed said the government decision would put questions to the future national plan to face the impacts of climate change. At the programme, he called on the government to be careful not to take such decision immediately.

The speakers said a huge number of trees have already been cut down as part of chopping down 4,000 trees in Khashia Pan Punji at Nahar Tea Garden at Srimangal and process of felling down more trees underway. They placed a five-point demand, including immediate halt to cutting down of trees and their sale and stop taking tax from the local indigenous people. The speakers said though only 864.58 acres of land is registered with the tea garden, it is using more than 1200 acres of land.

Though the news of corruption by the local official of forest departments is published in the media, they are still cutting down trees indiscriminately, they added.