02/05/2018, 13.24
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Catholics protest against land grabs and drug abuse in Savar

by Sumon Corraya

The protest rally was held on 3 February. Business interests try to grab land to build manufacturing plants. Hallucinogenic drug use is widespread among students.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - More than 700 people, including 350 Catholics, took part in a protest against land grabs, environmental destruction, pollution and drug abuse among minors.

The event, which was organised by a number of groups, both Christian and non-Christian, took place on Saturday in Rajashon, Savar, a region about 15 km from Dhaka.

Activists and Christians plan to deliver a memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in which they call for action to solve these problems.

“We organised the protest to save our land,” said Nirmol Rozario, president of Savar Burila Unnoy Parishad (SHIP), an organisation dedicated to local development.

“Government land office officials create problem by taxing the land,” he told AsiaNews. The net result is that “thousands of Muslim, Hindus and Christians suffer.”

“Once there was a river here, but illegal land grabbing has killed the river as the environment became polluted.” People want the government to help to solve these problems.

The activist, who heads the Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA), notes that hundreds of factories are located in the area and the value of land is increasing. "For this reason, land grabbers try to forcibly occupy local properties to set up their businesses."

For John Chandon Mondol, a SHUP leader, "drugs are another major problem in this area. Schoolchildren take various types of drugs and leave school. Addiction is a real social problem.”

“One can find all sorts of drugs here,” he adds. “Ya Ba* tablets are in widespread use among students. Young generations have a dark future.”

Habibur Raoaman, a Muslim, agrees. “Drugs are a serious problem,” he notes. “We should all work against the pushers.” For this reason, he was happy to see the rally take place.

* Ya Ba or Yaba, literally "mad drug", are tablets containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine made in Myanmar that cause euphoria, aggressiveness and hallucinations.

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