Recently, a massive protest was staged at Solmaid union under Vatara Thana in the capital by land owners of the locality opposing land grabbing by none other than Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP). Several national newspapers with accompanying photograph mentioned that the protesters numbering thousands of men and women assembled in the vicinity of the occupied land and demonstrated for hours. They carried placards inscribed with the message of ‘take life but won’t give land,’ which symbolise the do-or-die nature of their protest.
After a brief lull, as the Ansar men didn’t vacate the land, the land owners took to the streets again. This time around a group of 100 Ansar men swooped on the protesters and roughed them up with iron rods and sticks by abusing power and violating their service rule.There can be little doubt that the people of the locality have launched their movement for a right cause. They have been fighting a hard-fought battle since long. A fake real estate company named Hirazheel-Basumati kept their lands occupied for almost 18 years. The infamous company used a group of Ansar VDP men in carrying out this evil deed. However, in the face of recent protest and media attention Basumati made a hasty decamp, leaving the members of the paramilitary force in a sticky situation.
Now, if the allegation is true, those Ansar men who were initially used as a weapon by a land grabber have turned into land grabbers themselves.
That a paramilitary force which is supposed to give a sense of security to the people is facing growing land grabbing accusation is sheer disgraceful not only for the force itself but also for the nation as a whole.
However, according to media report, Ansar VDP is claiming that it has bought the land to set up a security camp there. But the placement of the lands, one plot here and another plot there, shows that it was not a well-thought-out plan. Moreover, it certainly does not look good when members of an armed battalion performs drills and armed show down in the locality.
Apart from land grabbing, Ansar men stationed in Solmaid are facing many other allegations such as rape, torture and fear-mongering. So, if the group is not reined in immediately, it may invite unforeseeable consequences.