Conflit sur la terre : des villageois attaquent le camp militaire de Rupganj – 23 octobre 2010

B »deshi villagers clash with army over land acquisition


Dhaka, Oct 23 (PTI) At least 30 people were injured in clashes between villagers and the army today over acquisition of land for a military housing scheme in Bangladesh »s Naraynganj district, forcing the authorities to use helicopters to evacuate the troops.

Police and witnesses said several hundred villagers attacked a makeshift army camp at Rupganj sub-division apparently to reoccupy the land the government earlier acquired for a planned housing project for army officers, prompting the troops to fire at the protesters.

They said several policemen were injured when police in riot gears intervened.

Officials said the people ransacked and looted the army camp and set on fire two military vehicles, including a truck. Some 60 soldiers were evacuated using four helicopter sorties in the afternoon.

Police intelligence officer Shamsuddin Ahmed said some 500 people from two unions raided the camp to oppose the planned acquisition. The villagers were reportedly protesting against the « low valuation » of the land.

Residents and witnesses said the clash erupted after an army team arrived at the spot to acquire some 6000 bigh land for the project.

The villagers also torched tyres on the road, ransacked a number of vehicles and disrupted transport movement on the road.

Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Joint General Secretary of the ruling Awami League and party spokesman, however, accused the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of instigating the people.

« They (BNP) instigated the people to clash with army troops, » Hanif said.

He claimed that BNP was seeking to hit back at the government after an army cantonment board notice asked party chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia to vacate her residence inside the protected area. The order was upheld by the country »s court.

Hanif said even if there was a problem with the housing project it could be solved « in a proper way ».

Four of the injured two policemen and two villagers, were admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital while others were treated at the local health complex.

No statement was issued immediately by the army but the inter service public relations (ISPR) officials said they were preparing one.

Rupganj locals torch army camp

Sat, Oct 23rd, 2010

Narayanganj, Oct 23— Angry locals have torched a temporary army camp at Musuri.

The military personnel deployed there had been obstructed for over five hours before they were evacuated by helicopter.

The mob descended upon the camp on Saturday afternoon almost immediately after the army men were airlifted.

Earlier, at least 50 people were injured in a clash between police and demonstrators who blocked the Rupganj-Ichhapura road for about four hours from 6am demanding cancellation of the government decision to acquire about 5,000 bighas (165,000 decimals) for an army housing project.

The police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) brought the situation under control around noon when they opened fire, charged batons and fired tear-shells on about 7,000 demonstrators.

But the law enforcement agencies have denied firing upon the people.

However, 10 persons with bullet wounds have been admitted in Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Former MP of the area, also a former army chief K M Shafiullah, told reporters that the incident occurred over a misunderstanding.

The current MP, Gazi Golam Dastagir, a freedom fighter, and ruling Awami League joint general secretary Mahbub ul Alam Hanif alleged that the main opposition BNP had instigated the locals to protest and demonstrate.


Locals alleged that the army initiated the ‘Army Officers’ Housing Society’ on 5,000 bighas of Rupganj Union three months ago.

They said the newly-set up army camps at Purbagram, Musuri and Ichhapura villages of Rupganj were forcing locals to sell off their land very cheaply.

Moreover, the local residents of 24 moujas were being prevented from having their land registered, locals alleged.

Several persons, requesting anonymity, told reporters that Kayetpara Union Awami League president Zahed Ali and one ‘Tareq’ also compelled them to sell their lands cheaply.


The agitated locals blocked an eight-kilometre stretch of the Rupganj-Ichhapura-Kaliganj road with tree trunks.

Rupaganj Police Station chief Forkan Sikder told reporters: « At least 7,000 people took part in the demonstration. They also burnt tyres. »

Locals said four of the protesters had been taken to the Musuri Army Camp around 10am for a dialogue. The agitated people surrounded the camp laying siege to it as rumours spread that one of the four had been shot dead inside the camp.

The demonstrators and law enforcers came to a face-off around the four camps and locked in a clash, locals added.

The locals started hurling brickbats as the police charged batons on them. The frenzied people also beat up a local Awami League leader Zahed Ali, and went on rampage at his house and set fire to his motorcycle. The protesters also alleged that some associates of Zahed had injured four of them with sharp weapons.

Shafiullah and former MP A K M Shamim Osman reached the spot to calm down the angry people.

Narayanganj police superintendent Afzal Hossain told reporters that RAB and police had charged batons to bring the situation under control.

Meanwhile, the locals alleged that the law enforcers had fired on them. The Narayanganj police chief, denied the allegation. « The police have not even fired a single bullet. » He, however, could not confirm whether the other law enforcers had opened fire.

At least 20-25 army personnel remained confined inside the camp after the clash erupted at 11am. As the situation settled down at about 3pm, a military helicopter rescued the army persons, Shafiullah said.


Among the injured, Mohammad Jamal, 28, Mohammad Masum, 15, Abul Basher, 30, Arif Hossain, 25, Makbul Dewan, 35, Mohammad Alam, 40, Mohammad Manik, 35, Shawkat Ali, 40, Mohammad Masum, 26, and Younus Khan, 50, have been admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) with bullet injuries.

The police officials – assistant sub-inspector Ali Hossain, 32, and constable Nazim Ahmed, 40, who were seriously injured in the head, were also admitted in DMCH.

Officer-in-charge Mohammad Forkan of Rupganj Police Station said that over 50 people were injured in the clash.


MP from Narayanganj-1 (Rupganj) constituency Gazi Golam Dastagir has blamed main opposition BNP for the incident.

He told reporters that the BNP supporters had instigated the locals to stage the demonstration.

Demanding a judicial probe into the incident, Dastagir said, « It’s a conspiracy to incite the people into a confrontation with the military. »

Awami League joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif, also a special assistant to prime minister Sheikh Hasina, at a press conference at Rangpur Circuit House on Saturday afternoon soon after the incident, blamed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia for the Rupganj incident.

Hanif said that BNP leaders and activists and its associate organisations had instigated the locals into staging the demonstration.

Hanif alleged that Khaleda provoked the locals to stand against army personnel as the High Court on Oct 13 had upheld a government notice her to leave her cantonment residence within in a month.

Urging the people not to be confused by such instigation, he said, « If there is land dispute, it will be resolved through proper discussion. »

Former Awami League MP Shamim Osman claimed that Jamat-e-Islami and BNP held the incident conspiringly. « However, the army have shown their character of patience. »

Army camp ransacked after clash

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The people of Rupganj upazila in Naraynganj on Saturday ransacked and looted an army camp and set two military pickup vans on fire after a clash over land acquisition.

Meanwhile at about 3:30pm, four helicopters evacuated at least 60 army personnel from the troubled area.

Earlier in the day, at least 30 people, including four policemen, were injured in the clash between the locals and law enforcers.

Four of the injured – two policemen and two civilians – were admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, reports our Narayanganj correspondent.

Police said at least 7,000 people blocked Rupganj-Ichhapura road at Kayetpara at about 6:00am, protesting acquisition of 6,000 bighas of land by Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha (Rajuk) in Rupganj union at low prices for an army housing project

They also torched tyres on the road, ransacked a number of vehicles and halted transport movement on the road.

The clash ensued when the law enforcers rushed to the spot and tried to remove the barricade at about 11:30am.

Dozens hurt in clash over Bangladesh army project


Sat Oct 23, 2010

DHAKA (Reuters) – Bangladeshi police used rubber bullets and teargas Saturday to disperse thousands of people protesting against plans to acquire land for army housing, officials and witnesses said.

Private television channels said at least 50 people were injured in the clashes near Dhaka.

Police said at least 60 troops were evacuated by helicopter after a crowd, some carrying sticks and machetes, attacked their camp at Rupganj, about 16 km (10 miles) east of the capital.

Protesters set fire to two army vehicles and damaged several others, and ransacked an army field office, according to witnesses.

Four helicopters made several sorties to evacuate the troops from the camp. Dozens of others were evacuated by river boat, they said.

« We have evacuated the troops to avoid confrontations with the public, » a Defense Ministry official said.

The violence erupted after police used batons to try to clear a street of demonstrators protesting against the planned acquisition of about 1,000 acres of land for a housing project for members of the army.

Residents complained that they had been offered inadequate compensation.

« The situation is under control but tense, » a police officer told Reuters by telephone from the scene.

~ par Alain Bertho sur 24 octobre 2010.

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