Qatar-based international news channel Al-Jazeera on Sunday reported that a section of cops were seen in setting fire to houses of Santals at remote villages of Gobindaganj in Gaibandha on November 6.
In the evening news, Al-Jazeera showed two cops and a man in civil dress setting fire to one of the houses.
Gaibandha police superintendent Ashraful Islam denied the allegation and said ‘it’s not correct at all.’
Law minister Anisul Huq told New Age on Sunday that if it was true then it would be a serious crime.
The footage showed a group of cops in bulletproof vest, inscribed RAB, Police and DB, helpmates marching to the makeshift settlement of Santals in the afternoon on November 6.
Asked about the attack, National Human Rights Commission chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque said, ‘We have received complaint from Santal community members against police of setting fire to their [Santal] houses. The miscreants were also empowered by the police to set fire. But, we could not exactly identify who actually set the fire.’
In 1955, the Rangpur Sugar Mill authorities acquired 1,842 acres of land where several hundred Santals had built their habitants later on demanding restoration of the right to the lands claiming that the lands were acquired from their forefather without compensation.
On November 6, the sugar mills management conducted an eviction drive to reclaim the land. Two Santals were shot dead, 20 were injured and houses of Santals were set on fire during the eviction.
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