Fishermen taking refuge in Sundarbans during storm allege extortion

Published : 22 Aug 2022 08:30 PM

The forest guards of Supati station forcibly collected extortion from the fishermen who took shelter in the Sundarbans due to the storm in the Bay of Bengal. They collect that subscription money by developing 5 thousand per trawl. The fishermen complained that the helpless fishermen grabbed the legs of the station official and cried but none was spared. Fishermen and fishmongers have suffered severely due to the frequent disasters, but the issue of forced extortion by the forest guards, accusing them of illegal entry, is now a dead blow to the drought.

Aggrieved fishermen said that 28/30 fishing trawlers took shelter at Supati station ghat in Sarankhola range of East Sundarbans when the storm started in the Bay of Bengal under the influence of low pressure on Friday afternoon. At that time the station officer Md. Samsul Arefin accused of illegal entry into the Sundarbans and threatened to arrest the fishermen and file a case. Later, to get rid of the case, he forcibly collected 5 thousand rupees from each trawler. As the fishermen did not have money immediately, they were forced to contact their moneylenders and send the money through Bkash to the mobile phone number 01959224670 of the forest guards.

Azizul Islam, Rafiqul Islam, Abul Majhi, Badsha Majhi of Padma village of Patharghata upazila of Barguna district, Ismail Majhi of Haritana village, Ah Haque Majhi, Zakir Majhi of Charlathimara village said that the forest guards of Supati have extorted Rs 5,000 from each of them by showing various forms of intimidation. . At that time, they collected the fee from 28/30 fishing trawlers stationed at that ghat. Even when a trawler in Telikhali area of Pirojpur, which disappeared in the storm, took shelter at Supati station, the forest guards forcibly recovered 10 hilsa fish and four thousand taka from them. They said that a jailer was severely beaten for not being able to pay money. On the other hand, the forest guards of Cuttack Sanctuary have collected extortion from the fishermen of 13 fishing trawlers, including FB Rabbi of Hatia area and FB Omar of Bhola, who have taken shelter there, by developing the number 01759925151.

When asked about this, Supati Station Officer Md. Samsul Arefin said over the phone, "We did not even go on patrol that day due to the storm and no fees were collected from any fishermen." Sharankhola Range Officer (ACF) Md. Shahidul Islam said that if the truth is found after investigating the matter, departmental action will be taken against the accused.