Attack on Koras

Victims accuse police of flawed probe

Emran Hossain, back from Birol, Dinajpur | Published: 00:33, Dec 14,2019


The last members of Kora community, an ethnic minority group living in a tiny bordering village in Dinajpur, have accused the police of misleading an investigation into the attack on them which they felt was aimed to grab their land.

They now fear that their days in the country were numbered as without holding the attackers accountable they would not be able to hold long onto the last pieces of land they own at Jhinaikuri village in Birol.

‘We looked up to police for justice but they let us down,’ said Krishna Kora, the complainant of the case that led to the police probe into the attack carried out in March.

Police barely spent an hour in their two brief visits to the Jhinaikuri village for questioning about a dozen injured in the attack and other witnesses during their seven-month-long investigation, said Krishna.

‘Police never informed us that the investigation was over, not even after submitting their findings to the court,’ said Krishna.

Krishna plans to move the court Sunday seeking reinvestigation into the attack.

Police reduced the attack to a typical land dispute case fought between two families, missing the main motive of driving the ethnic minorities away from their land, he said.

The police probe report proposed to drop six of the 14 charges of which the four named and 40 to 45 unnamed Bengali attackers were accused in the case because of lack of evidence.

Despite all out efforts, the investigators could not identify any of the unnamed attackers, said the probe report.

‘And, there is no possibility of finding the unnamed attackers in future,’ said the probe report.

Krishna was at a loss for words when asked for a reaction to the probe report.

He said he left it for police probe to name the rest of the attackers for naming them all in the case would mean enraging entire Bengali community surrounding the tiny minority village.

The unnamed attackers visit the minority village every day to intimidate them into giving up the fight, said Krishna.

The depositions of witnesses and victims, furnished with the probe report, seem incomplete, giving rise to a version of the attack different from Koras, said Krishna.

New Age obtained a copy of the probe report.

Supreme Court lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua examining the probe report said, ‘There is something fishy about the probe.’

‘Had police pursued with investigation diligently, they would have identified at least some of the unnamed attackers,’ he said.

‘Interestingly, police found no evidence to prove offences carrying harsher punishment,’ said Jyotirmoy.

Attempt to murder was the most serious charge that Krishna accused the attackers of for using long kitchen knives against their targets during the attack.

Malon Kora was swift and lucky enough to avoid a blow of the knife which could be fatal but instead left a deep scar on his face.

‘They clearly wanted me killed,’ said Malon.

Mohammad Kamruzzaman, one of the four named attackers, rejected allegations levelled against him and claimed to be a victim of ‘majority repression.’

Dinajpur district detective police’s officer-in-charge ATM Golam Rasul said the victims could always disagree with police findings and seek a reinvestigation.

Jyotirmoy Barua, known for defending ethnic minorities at the Supreme Court, said it was not strange for police to be indifferent in probing crimes committed against minorities.

For instance, he said, police submitted a false report into the much-publicised 2016 attack on Santals and Bengalis in Gaibandha.

Jatiya Adivasi Forum president Rabindranath Soren said that police dropped names of their colleagues involved in setting fire to Santals and Bengali houses even though the whole world watched the action recorded on mobile phone.

Police also dropped names of almost all the masterminds of the attack, including the local lawmaker, he said.

A month has passed since police submitted their probe report in the Gaibandha attack but the victims did not get a chance to show their no confidence in it.

‘We are doubtful about getting justice,’ said Rabindranath.

Between 2000 and 2015, land grabbers killed at least ten ethnic minority people, including three of the same family, in Kuchdaha union of Nababganj in Dinajpur but police failed to solve any of the murders, he said.

Sunia Kora, 70, who saw many of her family members leaving Bangladesh over last three decades, wrote a poem on the March attack and put it to tune.

‘We have been betrayed in votes and courts. We were denied justice everywhere,’ a line of the song written in Kora roughly translates into English.

Sunia sang it to journalists who visited her home late November.

‘To whom should we turn to when the king turns a betrayer,’ the song goes on.

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