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Paddy harvesting from Santals’ disputed land begins in Gaibandha

WT24 Desk

Rangpur Sugar Mill authorities have started harvesting paddy from the lands of Santals in Baghda farm area of Gobindaganj upazila following a High Court order,UNB reports. The paddy harvesting started in the morning amid police protection in presence of district administration and mill officials and workers leaders.

However, Santal leader Mathius Mardy said they would not receive paddy until the fulfillment of their demands to withdraw all criminal cases against them and release of arrested Santals. They also demanded removal of the fence around the land.

Upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Abdul Hannan said the mill authorities will hand over the paddy to the Santal people after the full harvesting from the lands.

Additional deputy commissioner Shafiqul Islam said the mill authorities harvested the paddy according to the HC order and they are assisting them in the work.

Abdul Awal, managing director of Rangpur Sugar Mill, said they have tried to hand over the paddy to Santals but they refused to accept it. Deputy commissioner of the district Abdus Samad said they will store the paddy until the Santals accept those.

Eralier on November 17, the HC asked the authorities concerned to allow the Santal people to harvest paddy from their land at Bagda Farm in Rangpur Sugar Mill area .

Two Santal men were killed and 27 people, including nine policemen, injured following a clash with law enforcers and workers of Rangpur Sugar Mill in Gobindaganj upazila on November 6.

The clash broke out when workers of Rangpur Sugar Mills along with police went to Bagda Farm area to reclaim land of the sugar mill allegedly occupied by the Santal community.

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