Protests by Human Chains in Bandarban and Dhaka Demanding a Halt to the Construction of Hotels in the Chimbuk Hills
By Amila Khan
People of different stages and professions, including tourists, have demanded an end to the deforestation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and demanded to stop constructing five-star hotels by evicting Mro tribal Indigenous peoples from Chimbuk hill. They say, not a five-star hotel, want the beauty of nature. These are the demand of the tour-loving people who made a human chain in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh in the capital Dhaka on November 27 morning. The program is organized under the banner of ‘Conscious Nature and Mountain-loving People’.
Members of various tourism-based Facebook groups, including Dhaka Cantonment Bikers Club, Musafir Bikers Club, and Biking Riders, took part in the human chain. Young people living in different parts of the capital also took part in it. During the program, they had various placards written in support of their demands. Besides, their four-point demand was written on the banner of the human chain. The demands are to stop the displacement of hill tribes and preserve their culture, build government schools and hospitals in the Chimbuk hills, stop deforestation, and develop ‘community-based eco-tourism’ without Indigenous peoples’ eviction.
A man named Sajeeb Islam said, ‘We go on a trek in the mountains hoping for a little relief after fatigue. There we go to see nature. If nature becomes like a city of concrete, we will have no place to go. So we have to keep the balance of nature. ‘
At least 15 people spoke in the human chain. They said the plan to build a hotel in the Chimbuk hills is unethical. We do not want tourism by evicting people from small ethnic groups. Hospitals and schools are more needed there than hotels. Five-star hotels may not be a monument to development. All activities that upset the balance of nature must be stopped. The government must improve the hill people’s living standards by keeping nature’s entity intact.
Shawon Mazhar, a businessman, is the initiator of this human chain. “From a place of love for nature, we are opposed to deforestation and the construction of five-star hotels in the Chimbuk Hills,” Shawon told the press. From that point of view, I opened an event on social media Facebook about organizing a human chain.
This is the basis of this human chain.’
In front of Bangabandhu Mukta Mancha in Bandarban city
Human chain and rallies have been held in Bandarban to protest against the eviction of Mro tribal in the name of various facilities and development, including education, medical jobs, and construction of a five-star hotel and amusement park in Chimbuk Hill by destroying the balance of the environment.
On November 27 morning, in front of Bangabandhu Mukta Mancha in Bandarban city, this human chain and rally were held under the banner of Chattagra Hill Tracts Conscious Students Society and Citizens.
Hundreds of students took part in it with various anti-land banners and festoons.
Advocate Madhabi Marma, Advocate Ubathoyai Marma, former District General Secretary of Udichi Kyasa Mong Marma, and student leader Ripon Chakraborty and others spoke rally presided over by the student leader Bong Chock Mro.
The speakers said that if the lease for construction of hotels in the Chimbuk area’s vicinity is not canceled soon, more stringent programs will be given.
Although the Bandarban Hill Tracts District Council has leased 20 acres of land for the construction of a hotel, various political and social organizations hold protests in different districts of the country, including Bandarban, claiming that thousands of acres of land are being occupied and evicted.