La Via Campesina strongly denounces the murder of Abdul Karim, a leader of the Bangladesh Krishok Federation (Bangladesh Peasants Federation) who was brutally killed by a man named Addur Rahim. The killer was patronized by local elite and powerful groups who had vested interest in a stretch of abandoned railway land that had been occupied by hundreds of landless men and women in 2004. Karim bhai as he was lovingly called, had led this movement of landless peasants to occupy this land to farm and live in dignity. Karim bhai was 63 years old.
His comerades in struggle recall that, “His dedication knew no bounds when it came to the struggle for land”. 3000 landless families are still living on that piece of land. It is because of their struggle that they were able to fulfill their fundamental human right to shelter, food and life. When our governments and economy exclude the poor, movements like BKF and dedicated members like Karim bhai ensure that the poor can walk with their heads up high.
Bangladesh Krishok Federation and Bangladesh Kishani Sabha are planning to have a series of actions to denounce this murder. They include – a silent procession, a condolence meeting, protest rallys demanding exemplary punishment to the assailants and a national level discussion on the current trend of criminalization and murder of those who are the defenders of peoples rights to land.
He is survived by his wife, two sons and one daughter along with a host of relatives and friends.