Garo tribals of Sherpur deprived of civil rights

People of the Christian Garo tribal community of Balijuri Christian Para village on the border of Sreevardi upazila of Sherpur are deprived of their civil rights. More than half a hundred families of the Christian community live in this village. Balijuri Khristanpara in Ranishimul Union of the upazila, situated at the foot of the Garo Hills, bordering the Indian state of Meghalaya. The village is inhabited by more than four hundred people including men and women of more than half a hundred families. Lack, deprivation, sorrow and misery seem to be the constant companions of these villagers. They do not receive any government assistance.

These family members have no land. The people of this community have been living by building houses on the land of the forest department. The village of Balijuri Christian Para in Ranishimul Union, Sreevardi Upazila, bordering the Indian state of Meghalaya, is situated on a hilltop. High hills to the north, high hills to the west, high hills to the east. Plain land to the south. If you enter this village, anyone will think that this village is like a small palace.

The village is located at a distance of about 30 km from the Sreevardi Upazila Sadar. Almost all the people of the village are day laborers. It goes without saying that there is no education. They make a living by selling their labor on the farm. If there is no work at hand, then they collect fuel from the hills and sell it in the market. But now there is no fuel in the hills.

If they don’t go to work one day, they will starve for half a day. They have to spend their days eating mountain potatoes and herbs. Besides, wild elephant violence has started in this village for the last two decades. The villagers have been devastated by the wild elephants. Chase has somehow survived the last two decades fighting poverty and wild elephants. They have no rice in their stomachs and no clothes to wear. They have been living an inhuman life with great difficulty. Do the same for every family except 5/10 families.

Photo: Dawn Paper

Searching on the spot, he spoke to the villagers and found out about their grief and misery. There is no end to the suffering of the people of this village. For a long time, elephants spend the night in terror. They are constantly fighting against poverty and wild elephants. Besides, the villagers are suffering from the fear of eviction as they live in the forest land. The forest workers are constantly intimidating the villagers. Can’t use their planted trees and fruits. There is an acute shortage of clean drinking water in this village. The dilapidated condition of the road ghat. Not every house has electricity yet. The only access road to the village from the Balijuri Forest Range Office has become impassable due to lack of repairs, expansion and paving. After the dry season, it becomes difficult to enter the village during the rainy season.

Bihar Zambil of this village said that during the election, the people’s representatives took votes from us with the promise of building roads. But later no one took notice of us. He said it was not possible to take any patient to the hospital on an emergency basis due to lack of paving of the road. No vehicle runs in this village. After crossing about two kilometers of road, one has to come to Balijuri Bazar and travel by auto to Bhaiya Danga and Sreevardi Upazila Sadar. Indigenous woman Shail Mrong of the village said she had a family of 6 members including 2 sons and 3 daughters. Her husband Birun Mrong died four years ago after being crushed by a wild elephant. Due to scarcity and financial crisis, he is not able to educate his sons and daughters.

They are living a half-starved life. Bimala Rema, 55, said her husband Formesh Marak, 60, did not see her. Physical condition is not good either. She is not able to get treatment for her husband due to lack of money. Bimala Rema has been providing daily support to her husband. He said that if they don’t go to work one day, they will be cut in half. The government did not provide any assistance to them. Talking to Mibon Sangma, Sarati Sangma, Mahima Marak, Marine Sangma and many others, they said that their children and teenagers are being deprived of the light of education due to the financial crisis. Their complaint is that the residents of this village do not get any government assistance. Although 2/4 old people and widows got the allowance card, they got it in exchange for money. Due to their inability to pay their dues, the afflicted people of Egram, who are eligible for assistance, did not get the allowance and VGD card.

An on-the-spot investigation has revealed that the residents of the village have housing problems. Almost all the houses are uninhabitable except for 5/10 families. In the absence of pure drinking water, shower water has to be used for various purposes including bathing. At present there is no end to the misery of the villagers. They are deprived of almost all types of civic benefits. At present, the residents of this village have survived by fighting against wild elephants and poverty. Upazila Nirbahi Officer Nilufa Akhter said necessary steps would be taken to provide assistance to any family after seeing the problems of the tribal villages on the spot.

Pranjal M Sangma, chairman of the Sreevardi Upazila Tribal Welfare Association, confirmed the incident and said discussions had been held at various meetings and seminars to resolve the problems of the tribals in the village. But it did not work. He sought the goodwill of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to alleviate the long-standing misery of the people of the village.


Source: Bhorer Kagoj by

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