[AITPN has Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)]



26 April 2006

Attacks on Munda indigenous peoples in Shathkhira District of Bangladesh


On 17 April 2006, about a dozen perpetrators led by Munjur Rahee, the son-in-law of local Jamaat-e-Islami Member of Parliament, Gazi Nazrul Islam attacked the indigenous Munda peoples at Kashipur village in Shayamnagar Upazila in Shathkhira District of Bangladesh on 17 April 2006. Munjur Rahee 's brother Kamruzzaman who have been conspiring to forcibly occupy the lands belonging to the Mundas.

AITPN intervened with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

According to information received by Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network (AITPN), the Munda villagers were digging a well in the Community School's campus for drinking water and sanitation at around noon on 17 April 2005. Munjur Rahee came there and told them not to dig the well. But the Munda villagers continued digging the well. A few minutes later, a group of 10 to 12 goons led by Munjur Rahee and his brother Kamruzzaman launched a brutal attack, injuring at least 12 Munda people, including women. Some of the injured have been identified as:

  1. Ram Prashad Munda, 18 years
  2. Kalidas Munda, 20 years
  3. Tarak Munda, 18 years
  4. Kajal Munda, 18 years
  5. Jayantha Munda, 22 years
  6. Akali Munda, 60 years
  7. Fulen Bala Munda, 22 years

They were admitted to Shayamnagar Upazila Hospital and private clinics.

In Bangladesh, grabbing of lands belonging to the indigenous peoples by force by the majority Bengali Muslims and the government is very common.

Mr Munjur Rahee claimed that the land where the Munda people were digging well belonged to him. According to him, he purchased 3.5 Bigha of lands from Hamid Sarder and Mohammad Sarder in 1997. Munda villagers alleged that Munjur Rahee had been threatening them to hand over the land for the last 4-5 years. The goons hired by Munjur Rahee forcibly cut off the trees on the Munda lands and carried them away. They have also reportedly cut the dike of the village pond, the only source of drinking water for the Munda families, and made saline water enter into it which has made the pond water unsafe for drinking.

Tarak Munda , on behalf of the Munda community, filed an FIR against the attackers but the police failed to arrest the culprits. On the other hand, Kamruzzaman also filed a counter-complaint in the Shayamnagar police station.

Following the attack, the 59 Munda families of Kashipur village in Shathkhira District have been living in great fear and insecurity.

AITPN requested the Special Rapporteur to make interventions with the government of Bangladesh to:

  • Immediately arrest the culprits and prosecute them for bodily harm on indigenous peoples based on the FIR filed by Tarak Munda;
  • Ensure land rights of the indigenous Mundas; and
  • Provide security to the indigenous Mundas.

Copyright (c) 2006 Asian Indigenous & Tribal Peoples Network. All rights reserved.