Awami League MP Dabirul Islam accused of forcibly occupying land of Hindu families.
The henchmen of the MP even allegedly attacked some of the victims when they asked to return their land.
Interactions with the locals have revealed the MP of the Tkakurgaon-2 constituency has set up a tea garden called Ranbag Islami Tea Estate Company in the bordering areas of the Upazila.
Some Hindu families own some land in the surrounding areas and also within the tea estate spread over 106 acres (265 bighas).
Of them, Akul Chandra Singh’s family owns 21 bigha, Bhakaram Singh and Chandra Singh own 27 bighas, Thonaram Singh 24 bighas and Khudanlal owns 24 bighas.
The dispute is mainly over Akul Chandra Singha’s one bigha of land, located adjacent to the MP’s property.
Local residents said this plot could be used as a corridor to reach land belonging to others. Hence, once it was captured, it would be easy to encroach upon the remaining land.
The disputed land located on the bank of Nagor River is surrounded by India on three sides.
Some tea saplings have been stored in a hut of tea garden workers on the disputed land.
The MP’s bungalow is near the garden’s entrance.
Akul Singh was allegedly assaulted by the MP’s son and his accomplices and fled to India to save his life. He, however, later returned to his home.
“Altogether five bighas of my land is in the possession of MP. His people attack us whenever we ask him to return the land,” he told bdnews24.com.
“The MP’s people destroyed the tea saplings I planted on my land on June 10. Later, on June 17, his son Majharul Islam Sujan threatened us,” he said.
Two days later, a group of people from the tea estate led by Sujan had allegedly attacked him. Thonaram Singh was injured in the attack on Akul Singh.
He said, “On that day, the MP’s son unleashed the assault. They slashed my son’s leg and back with sharp weapons. Two bighas of my land is still in his possession.”
“When we ask for the land, they say they will utilise it for two years before returning it to us.”
Though leaders of Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad visited the area after the incident, they were reluctant to speak over the matter.
The Thakurgaon district’s superintendent of police said an investigation committee was formed at the behest of district administration and a team had visited the area.
“The incident took place due to some dispute over tea garden’s land between Dabirul and some Hindu families. There were definitely some problems,” the SP said.
When asked what steps police had taken over the incident, he said, “We did not receive any complaint from anyone. However, when the team visited the area, the local residents had alleged that they were threatened.
“We have assured them of providing all legal help and security.”
The MP, on the other hand, has denied the allegations levelled against him. He claimed that his adversaries were trying to malign his image after he was elected president of the district unit of the Awami League.
“For the last four years we have been planting tea. There is a small hut on the disputed land.
“My workers take rest there and some tea saplings are kept there. So does it mean that I have been forcefully occupying this land for the past four years?” Dabirul Islam said.
“A few days ago, Akul suddenly planted some tea saplings on the land. This led to some arguments between him and my garden employees. (Later) some locals and a section of Awami League leaders were trying to use them to spoil my reputation for political gains.”
“Once I was associated with Left politics. Now I am the president of Thakurgaon district unit of Awami League. Being jealous, some people are conspiring against me
“They are also scared that my son might become MP after me. So, they are also dragging him into this.”
MP Islam also claimed he had nothing against the Hindu community. “My driver and gunman both are Hindu. I am not anti-Hindu.
“I have been representing people for the last 45 years. I was never accused of any such thing before.”