We hope that we can re-think about its policy. We just want to prevent mangrove forest from destruction for the better future because it can keep our generation from the suffering to reach their prosperity. This sad story was written by Asa Wistran - Nijera Kori and published in World Rainforest Movement (WRM) Bulletin N° 51, October 2001.
In Bangladesh the remaining virgin rainforest are near to extinction. The whole Bangladesh mainland and its off-shore areas are gradually being leased for oil/gas explorations. Even the Sundarbans, considered a world heritage and the largest mangrove forest of the globe and only remaining habitat of royal Bengal tiger is being occupied by the exploration activities of oil/gas companies (WRM Bulletin N° 15, September 1998).
Not only for oil/gas explorations, there were place called Horinkhola Polder 22 which had been used as shrimp farming industry. In this area, there were sad story about brave woman Korunamoyee. On November 7 1990, Korunamoyee was killed by an armed gang of hired thugs whose aim was set up a shrimp farm at Horinkhola Polder 22. The local villagers, led by Korunamoyee, resisted this invasive force. On that fateful day, Korunamoyee be came a martyr for her cause, and in the eyes of her people she remains heroin in their decade long ongoing struggle against the surrounding oppressor.
The supreme sacrifice of Korunamoyee is not forgotten. Every year, on November 7th, there is a great celebration at Polder 22, where thousands of resisters peacefully gather to commemorate this brave woman who led a successful movement of the people against a powerful, unscrupulous industry. Today, Horinkhola Polder 22 is the only remaining shrimp farm-free village in the shrimp farming district of Khulna. A great battle was won, but the war continues.
Every November 7th, the Korunamoyee Memorial day takes place in Harinkhola. I asked some people to tell me what happened that day, ten years ago. On that 7th of November in 1990, a rich man, called Wazed Ali Biswash (WAB) with some guards landed by boat in Horinkhola in Polder 22. He had planned to clear land for shrimp cultivation. It was 10 o’clock in the morning when we heard the news. We organized ourselves and together we went to Horinkhola. When we reached Horinkhola the shrimp owner shot and hurdled bombs at our procession.
Korunamoyee was hit by a bullet in her head and died immediately. Another 46 of our people were seriously injured and were hospitalized in Khulna or Dhaka. The incident lasted for one hour before WAB and his men took all boats and left. Before leaving, however, they had cut up Korunamoyee’s body into pieces and thrown these into the river to clear all the evidence.
We found it hard to reach hospital because WAB and his men took all the boats but when we finally reached it, the musclemen had advised the doctors against helping us. After two months all of us were back in Polder 22, but some of us still have disabilities as a reminder of that day. Anuaria for example lost her eye.
The case has been taken up in Paikgacha union Parishad, the district administration office in Khulna and at government level in Dhakam but without result. There yet 45 unsolved cases and WAB is still free.
The 7th of November 1991, the shrimp farm owners came to disturb the Memorial Day, but since then they have honored her in peace. A mosaic monument and a stone have been erected in Korunamoyee’s honor in Horinkhola. The script of the stone is life is struggle, struggle is life.
The 7th of November this year I will participate to show my respect for the landless people in Bangladesh who suffer from violence caused by the land conflict and the shrimp farms. We at Nijera Kori would appreciate if all of you in your own way give this strong woman a thought on this Memorial Day, so that international support can be felt within Bangladesh.
The landless people have built a beautiful mosaic monument in Horinkhola in respectful memory of Korunamoyee. This is really a monument to all the countless victims for their continuing struggle against the greed and the violence which has too often been a tragic associate of the shrimp aquaculture industry.