Demo against garrison expansion in Ruma

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chtnews.com
News No. 163/2010, November 08, 2010

THE people of Ruma have staged a demonstration to register their protest against a proposal for land acquisition for expansion of Ruma garrison in Bandarban.

The proposed plan, originally developed in 1977, seeks to acquire 9,560 acres of land, and if implemented, it will displace thousands of Jumma people, especially members of ethnic Mro nationality.

However, no governments in the past approved of the project, considering the potential damage that it might cause to the environment as well as to ethnic societies.

During the state of emergency between 2007 and 2008, there was another unsuccessful attempt on the part of the army to restart the process of acquiring the land.

The process was been revived recently after Lt. Col. Wasim was transferred to Ruma garrison from Baghaihat, where he oversaw the persecution of ethnic minorities.

In the rally, held today at Upazila Auditorium under the banner of People from All Walks of Life in Ruma, the inhabitants once again voiced their opposition to the proposed plan for expansion of Ruma garrison.

Presided over by Numlai Mro, headman of Pantola Mouza, the rally was also addressed by Mongcha Ching Marma, member of Galenga UP (Ward No. 8), Cham-a-u Marma, headman of Chanda Mouza and Kyoching Prue Marma, Karbari or village head of Rumachar Para, Sengu Mouza.

The rally, which was preceded by a procession in Ruma bazaar, was conducted by Loprue Marma and Proshaprue Marma.

The speakers urged the government to discard the plan altogether and warned that they would launch tougher programmes including sit-in in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Bandarban, if the process of acquiring their lands is not stopped immediately.

They also lodged their protest at the government plan to acquire another 25 acres of land for the purpose of constructing a Bangladesh Rifles headquarters in Ruma.

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