Oct 27, 2009

Chittagong Hills Tract: CHT Accord May Be Reviewed, if Needed: Sajeda

Active ImageDeputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury has said the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord regarding the rehabilitation of displaced people may be reviewed, if necessary.



Below is an article published by bdnews24 :


Hill Tracts leaders on Monday met Sajeda, also the convenor of the National Committee on Implementation of the CHT Peace Accord, on aspects of the accord, including an existing list of displaced people.

The government has initiated a fresh move to list the indigenous people, displaced during the decades-old ethnic conflicts in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, to rehabilitate them in their original homesteads.

The CHT Peace Accord assures the Parbattya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity that the government will make a list of displaced people who went to India as refugees during the ethnic violence between the indigenous people and the Bengali settlers flared up in late 1970s and 1980s.

Soon after the accord was signed in 1997, a list was made that ran to over 112,000 names.

Some groups opposing the peace deal reject the existing list of refugees saying many Bengali settlers have been included in it.

"We have a list of refugees. Some of the displaced people have not been included," Santu Larma, Jana Sanghati Samity chief, told reporters at parliament media centre after the meeting.

"We have been trying to make a list of the people who are yet to be settled," said Larma, a former guerilla leader.

The Awami League government signed a deal with Santu Larma's Jana Sanghati Samity in December 1997 to bring peace to the troubled hilly region.

As per the agreement, the government was supposed to dismantle hundreds of makeshift army camps, give the tribal people the rights on their land, remove Bengali settlers from the homestead of the tribal people and others.

The government on Aug 7 this year started army pullout from the Chittagong Hill Tracts as part of implementing the peace treaty.

"We have already withdrawn 36 army camps. Rests will be rolled back in phases," Sajeda said, also speaking to reporters after the meeting.

"But six permanent cantonments will remain," she said.

"The cantonments are necessary to protect the area from external enemies".

Questioned about dissatisfaction and opposition from some quarters over the existing accord, she reiterated that this government must implement the peace process.

When pressed further by reporters on whether the accord might be reviewed, she said, "If necessary, it might."