A group of 62 civil society members on Monday demanded that the government should immediately take steps to stop the project of constructing a 5-star hotel and amusement park by grabbing land inhabited by members of the Mro community.
They, in a statement, said that the company constructing the hotel, R&R Holdings Ltd, a concern of Sikder Group, in statements given to media associated the Bandarban Zila Parishad with the construction of the hotel and amusement park.
The Bandarban Zila Parishad cannot agree on handing over the ownership of the land for hotel and amusement park construction without taking free and informed consent of the Mro people, said the statement.
The statement said that the establishment of such a commercial infrastructure threatening the existence of a community like Mro is prohibited in more than one laws and regulations.
The statement said that the move to construct the 5-star hotel also infringes on the constitution recognising people’s right to life, property and livelihood.
The signatories of the statement urged the government to take necessary steps immediately to protect the Mro people for they are being intimidated for trying to mobilise protests against the implementation of the hotel and amusement park project.
The statement alleged that R&R Holdings began cutting hills for making way for the hotel project ignoring the laws and obstructing the Mro people from visiting their cremation ground and other holy places in the area.
The construction company is also preventing the Mro community from reaching their water sources, it said.
The statement said that the plan to build infrastructure for the hotel, spread over many hills, would reduce the Mro community’s access to cultivable land and tourists’ visit to the area would threaten Mro women’s security.
The statement said that about 10,000 people are viewing the construction of the hotel as an aggression on their home, property and cultivable land.
Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury, human rights activist Sultana Kamal, Gonoshasthaya Kendra trustee Zafrullah Chowdhury, former caretaker government advisers Hossain Zillur Rahman and Rasheda K Choudhury, former Bangladesh Bank governor Salehuddin Ahmed, Jahangirnagar University professor Anu Muhammad, Nijera Kori coordinator Khushi Kabir, TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman, CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya, jurist Shahdeen Malik, writer Rahnuma Ahmed and photographer and activist Shahidul Alam, among others, signed the statement.
Shujan secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar, Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation’s Clinical Neurosciences Centre director Naila Zaman Khan, cultural activist Lubna Marium, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association executive director Syeda Rizwana Hasan, economist MM Akash, Manusher Jonno Foundation executive director Shaheen Anam, Dhaka University law professor Asif Nazrul, women rights campaigner Hamida Hossain, researcher Meghna Guhathakurta, DU professors CR Abrar, Amena Mohsin, Tasneem Siddiqui and Gitiara Nasreen, Central Women’s University vice-chancellor Perween Hasan, Supreme Court lawyer Sara Hossain, Chakma Circle chief Raja Debashish Roy and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum executive director Sanjeeb Drong are among the signatories.