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Source: An editorial report taken from Daily Star dated:  August 21, 2000

The Daily Star Editorial on Santhal slaughtering

We find no word strong enough to deprecate the atrocities committed by armed hooligans upon the Santhals of village Vimpur at Mohadevpur upazilla under Naogaon district. It is all the more condemnable owing to a manifest lack of action on the part of the police or the local administrative authority to prevent it happening despite their having prior knowledge of a situation developing over a land expropriation bid by some vested quarters. The latter were seeking to evict the aborigines from a land. They had reportedly made their home for the last 15-years, on the pretext that it was a property abandoned by a Hindu landlord, a vested property, so to speak. In their land-grabbing greed the local influentials showed total disregard for the sensibilities of an ethnic minority which deserved to be treated with respect especially when these related to their habitat touching upon their fundamental right to live.

It appears that documents were forged by the terrorist godfathers Sitesh Chandra and former UP Chairman Hatem to fake a claim on the land which has been in continuous possession of the 19 santhal families. For the last two years the terror leaders had used hired goondas to raid the aborigine village with casualties inflicted on the tribals. The latter went to the police and even filed cases but to no avail, because the police neither charge-sheeted the accused nor made any arrests.

But the barbarity that the aborigines were subjected to last Saturday has surpassed previous records: the armed hirelings surrounded the village in broad daylight with their godfathers Sitesh and Hatem ordering the aborigines to huddle under the same roof which they did. Thereupon the house was set ablaze and as Biswanath and Jagannath wobbled out of the inferno they were put to flame and critically injured. Then tribal leader Alfred was caught while fleeing and chopped to death amidst chants of ‘victory’! Wounds were inflicted on several men and women. After the police came to know of the mayhem through a tribal errand boy, they reached the spot four and a half hours later, only to see wreckage. Despite the known notoriety of Sitesh and Hatem nothing was done to neutralise them in time.

Ethnic minority has a high place in our Constitution, philosophy and national ethos. What happened at Vimpur is a big shame to our civilised sensibilities. This was in ironic contrast to the Decade of Aborigines we are observing under the UN auspices. We want the atrocious tendency towards minority oppression nipped in the bud.

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