No place for doing social forestry destroying the natural forest
Thirteen prominent Bangladeshi citizens of the country have written a letter urging not to violate the human rights of small ethnic groups, including Khasia of Daluchhara Khasia Punji in Kulaura Upazila, and not to take up social forestry projects by destroying natural forests. They made this call in a letter to the Divisional Commissioner (Additional Secretary) in Sylhet, Bangladesh.
This information reveals through a press release by Bangladesh Poribesh Bachao Andolon (BAPA) on October 4, 2021.
The thirteen citizens are following,
- Sultana Kamal, President of BAPA.
- Khushi Kabir, Co-ordinator of Nijera Kori.
- Mijanur Rahman, the former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission.
- Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Parishad.
- Mesbah Kamal, VC of Prime Asia University.
- Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Executive Director, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA).
- Shamsul Huda, Executive Director, Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).
- Sharmin Murshid, a former member of the National River Conservation Commission (NRCC).
- Sharif Jamil, General Secretary, BAPA
- Nirmal Rosario, president of Bangladesh Christian Association.
- Sanjeev Drong, General Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum.
- Father Joseph Gomez, Regional Coordinator of Indigenous Environmental Movements.
- Abdul Karim Kim, BAPA, Sylhet Rezone.
However, it has to know that on October 4, 2021, the so-called beneficiaries of Kulaura Upazila Administration, Police Administration, Forest Department and Social Forestry of Moulvibazar District will go to the land of Daluchhara Khasia Punji and plant tree saplings by force.
In this regard, the above-mentioned 13 prominent environmentalists, human rights activists, lawyers, tribal leaders and social leaders sent a letter to the Sylhet Divisional Commissioner through a delegation.
The letter called upon the government to take necessary steps to ensure that no human rights can violate against the Khasias of Daluchhara Khasia Punji in Kulaura Upazila of Moulvibazar district and opting for social forestry by degrading the natural forest should not take up.
In the letter, they further said, the Khasias have been living in their traditional and cultural lands for ages. The forest department has unilaterally listed the beneficiaries without consulting the Khasias, ignoring the social forestry policy.
This incidence is creating problems and complications between the beneficiaries and the Khasis. Already some miscreants have destroyed and attacked Panjum of the Khasis. The Khasi leaders also met with the Minister of Forests and Environment to resolve these issues.
Moreover, the Moulvibazar court has imposed a ban on this land. They show concerns about the attacks on innocent Khasias in Daluchhara, Belkuma.
In this situation, the prominent citizens have immediately called upon the district administration of Moulvibazar to protect the lives and environment of the Daluchhara and Belkumar Khasia communities.