Three betel leaf jum of Khasi people have been occupied in Baralekha

Miscreants cut down a thousand betel trees in Baralekha; Khasi people broke down in tears

The Khasi people in a sad mood in front of the betel leaf trees that cut down by the miscreant. Photo: Collected.

On 28th May 2021, it has been alleged that outsiders have occupied three betel leaf jum of Khasi people in Banakhola punji of south Shahbazpur union of Moulvibazar’s Baralekha upazila. Two written complaints have been lodged with the Baralekha police station on behalf of the residents of Punji and Chhotalekha tea garden authority. In it, 16 names were mentioned and 30-35 anonymous people were charged.

According to the tea authority and local Khasi residents, the Chhotelekha Tea-Garden Authority leased 1,968 acres of hilly land from the government for tea cultivation. Later, they sub-leased 272 acres of land to the Khasias at an annual cost of 10 lakh taka. But suddenly, on May 26, a group of outsiders entered the punji with local weapons and occupied three betel leaf jum of Khasi people. At this time, outsiders built a temporary house there. It is to be noted that, at present 36 Khasia families live in this punji.

Saju Sachiang, member of Khasi Social Council said that heinous incidents like land grabbing are happening here all the time. He also said that there is a group of outsiders who are always eager to occupy the indigenous people lands. Later he demanded a speedy trial and punishment of the culprits.

On the other hand, 30th May 2021, miscreants cut down a thousand of betel leaf trees at Agar punji in south Shahbazpur union of Moulvibazar’s Baralekha Upazila on Sunday afternoon. After waking up in the morning to find out about the incident, the local Khasi residents broke down in tears. It has been seen that most of the betel tree roots have been cut off. It is estimated that they have lost 7 to 8 lakh taka as a result of cutting down betel trees. About 48 indigenous Khasi families live there. They have been planting betel trees in the small hills for ages for their livelihood.

It is known that Sukhman Ames, head of the punji(traditional leader) filed a general diary (GD) against the unidentified persons at Baralekha police station on Sunday afternoon.