Ethnic Santals yesterday brought out a procession in the town demanding return of their forefathers' lands in Shahebganj sugarcane farm area under Rangpur Sugar Mills and punishment of the people involved in killing three Santals and torching homes of a large number of people of the indigenous community in November last year.
The procession joined by hundreds of males and females paraded different roads of the town and they later handed over a memorandum to Gaibandha deputy commissioner (DC) with their seven-point demand.
Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Bagda Farm Bhumi Uddhar Sangram Committee, Adivasi Bangali Sanghati Parishad, Bangladesh Adivasi Union and Jano Udyog jointly organised the programme.
The demonstration faced police barricade at the entrance of the deputy commissioner's office. Later they held a protest meeting there demanding immediate implementation of their demand.
Santal leaders alleged that police detained many of their people and seized their spears, bows and arrows at different points, when they were coming from Gobindaganj for handing over memorandum to the DC as part of their agitation.
The speakers at the programme demanded exemplary punishment of police personnel involved in killing three Santal men and setting fire to their sheds during the eviction drive in Shahebganj sugarcane farm area on November 6 last year.
On that day, police joined by locals attacked Santal dwellings in Shahebganj sugarcane farm area.
Three Santal men were killed, over 1500 makeshift houses of the community were torched and household articles looted during the incident, the speakers said.
They also demanded trial of Gaibandha-4 lawmaker Abul Kalam Azad and Shakil Ahmed Bulbul, chairman of Sapmara union parishad in Gobindaganj, for their alleged involvement in the incident.
Rabindranath Soren, president of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Philimon Baske, vice-president of Bhumi Uddhar Committee, and Shajahan Ali, its secretary, handed over memorandum to Gaibandha DC Gautom Chandra Pal and the latter assured sending it to the higher authorities.