Chittagong Hill Tracts: Report on Recent Government Meetings
Below is an article published by PCJSS CHT:
Besides, among others, State Minister for Ministry of the CHT Affairs (MoCHTA) Mr. Dipankar Talukdar, MP; Chairman of the CHT Development Board Mr. Bir Bahadur, MP; Chairman of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Mr. Khademul Islam; Secretary of MoCHTA Mr. Masud Ahmed and Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong division were also invited in the meeting.
The main agenda of the meeting was to assess the progress of the implementation of the CHT Accord. Among others, amendment of CHT Land Dispute Resolution Act 2001 as per recommendation of CHT Regional Council, transfer of subjects to the three Hill District Councils (HDCs), approval of Rules of CHT Regional Council and three HDCs; setting up of separate offices for CHT Accord Implementation Monitoring Committee, CHT Land Commission and Task Force and appointment of adequate staffs for proper functioning of these offices, withdrawal of all temporary camps and de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’ etc were discussed in the meeting.
In particular, transfer of subject to the HDCs prioritizing law and order, police (local), land and land management, secondary education, environment, youth development, local tourism etc through office order instead of the agreement between the HDC and concerned ministry were discussed.
Finally, decisions were made to set up three separate offices for the CHT Accord Implementation Monitoring Committee, CHT Land Commission and Task Force and to take effective measures for appointment of adequate staffs and providing logistic support for proper functioning of these offices.
In the meeting the issues of Land disputes and land survey were emphatically discussed. The Chairman of Land Commission emphasized for the land survey at the moment. Mr. Bir Bahadur, MP and J B Larma, President of PCJSS in particular explained that unless land disputes were resolved through the Land Commission land survey could not be arranged in CHT.
Coordination Meeting of MoCHTA Held
On 20 October 2009 a coordination meeting was held by the Ministry of the CHT Affairs (MoCHTA) at the conference hall of MoCHTA in Dhaka. Presided over by Mr. Dipankar Talukdar, State Minister of MoCHTA, the following persons were present in the meeting-
(1) Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, Chairman, CHT Regional Council
(2) Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura, MP and Chairman, Task Force on Rehabilitation of the Returnee Refugees and IDPs
(3) Mr. Bir Bahadur, MP and Chairman of the CHT Development Board
(4) Mr. Kyashwehla Marma, Chairman, Bandarban Hill District Council
(5) Mr. Nikhil Kumar Chakma, Chairman, Rangamati Hill District Council
(6) Mr. Ruithi Marma, Chairman, Khagrachari Hill District Council
(7) Mr. Khademul Islam, Chairman, CHT Land Dispute Commission
(8) Mr. Masud Ahmed, Secretary and other Officials of MoCHTA
(9) Secretary of Land Ministry
(10) Dr. Aslam Alam, Director General of Directorate of Land Survey and Settlement
(11) Three Deputy Commissioners of three Hill Districts
(12) Superintendent of Police, Bandarban Hill district
(13) Mr. Jafar Ahmed, Additional Superintendent of Police, Khagrachari Hill district
(14) Additional Superintendent of Police, Rangamati Hill district
Discussion was held on the matters of law and order situation, land issues, brick field, development projects etc. of CHT in the meeting.
CHTRC Chairman Mr. J B Larma raised the issues of the implementation of the CHT Accord, transfer of subject to the HDCs prioritizing law and order, police (local), land and land management, secondary education, environment, youth development, local tourism etc; withdrawal of all temporary camps and de facto military rule ‘Operation Uttoron’; approval of Rules of CHT Regional Council and three HDCs; setting up of offices for the Task Force and Land Commission etc.
Jatindra Lal Tripura and Mr. Bir Bahadur said that Land survey should be, as per CHT Accord, conducted after resolution of the land disputes and rehabilitation of Jumma Refugees and internally Displaced Jumma Families.
In the meeting the Deputy Commissioners spoke about the law and order situation. Sourendranath Chakraborty, DC of Rangamati told that the law and order situation in the district was well. Incidents compared to Plain districts were less. But there were elements, who all the time made attempts to highlight the situation the worst just to create chaos. He explained how based on a rumour some elements (Bengalee muslims) got fullest preparation to set fire on the houses (of Jumma People) at Tribal Adam of Banarupa Area of Rangamati District Headquarter at deep night around 1.30 am on 01 September 2009. He personally went the spot and stopped the incident.
It is noted that there was instigation from the Settlers’ leaders in collaboration with some local army commanders. The Jumma people too were ready to resist the communal rioters.
DC of Bandarban reported that in the recent months 19 persons of Neighbouring Myanmar were killed and 11 arms were captured including three persons of so-called CHTNF (Chittagong Hill Tracts National Liberation Front), a small band of extortionists.
DC of Khagrachari reported the incident of arrest of Islamic terrorists on 3 October 2009 in Matiranga Thana Area.
Additional Superintendent Police (SP) of Khagrachari blamed UPDF (United Peoples Democratic Front) for extortion of money and creating chaos through holding rallies recently and he demanded banning of it.
In the meeting Mr. Khademul Islam, Chairman of the Land commission opined that he was a Justice and would function independently and would start land survey in CHT at the moment.
Mr. J B Larma told that Chairman of Land Commission is not independent rather a member of the Commission. CHT Accord says that land survey will be conducted after the completion of the rehabilitation programme and resolution of land disputes. He said that land problem in CHT should be resolved as per CHT Accord.
Dr. Aslam Alam, Director General of Land Records and Survey Department said that fund allocation should be made first and logistic supports should be provided for land survey in CHT. He added that if land survey were held that would take about 15 years and proper funding as well. So, that would not be possible at the moment.
Mr Dipankar Talukdar said that quoted the provision of the CHT Accord about the land survey and opined to have stern action against the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in CHT. He reiterated to have implementation of the CHT Accord.
In fact, there was held discussion only and no specific decision was made in the meeting.
Meeting between CHTRC Delegation and Education Minister Held
On 27 October 2009 a 3-member delegation of CHT Regional Council (CHTRC) led by Mr. Goutam Kumar Chakma called on Education Minister Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid at his office of Bangladesh Secretariat in Dhaka. The other members of the CHTRC delegation were Mr. Raktotpal Tripura and Mr. K S Mong Marma.
CHTRC delegation proposed to transfer subjects of secondary education, primary education in mother tongue and vocational education through office order and to include recommendation of the CHTRC in the draft Education Policy.
The Education Minister assured that he would see the points and try to do so. He also said that he would go to Rangamati for opinion sharing with the mass people on setting up a Science and Technology University in Rangamati. In replaying the query about setting up said university, CHTRC delegation said that they had reservation on this issue considering backward socio-economic condition of indigenous Jumma peoples and other related realities and circumstances. However, the CHTRC delegation invited Education Minister to visit Rengamati for opinion-exchange with residents of CHT and concerned authorities for the same.
Meeting between CHTRC Delegation and Law Minister Held
On 25 October 2009 a 4-member delegation of CHT Regional Council (CHTRC) led by Mr. Goutam Kumar Chakma called on Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry Mr. Shafique Ahmed at his office of Bangladesh Secretariat in Dhaka. The other members of the CHTRC delegation were Mr. Raktotpal Tripura, Mr. Mahbubur Rahman and Mr. K S Mong Marma. Secretary of the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry was also present in the meeting.
CHTRC delegation submitted following points for implementation before Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry-
(a) to enact or amend any law related to CHT in consultation with CHTRC as per CHT Accord and CHTRC Act 1998;
(b) to synchronise CHT Regulation of 1900 with the CHT Accord, CHTRC Act 1998, HDC Acts 1998 and Rules of Business of MoCHTA;
(c) to transfer all subjects to the HDCs through office order instead of agreement between concerned HDC and concerned ministry;
(d) to appoint permanent residents giving priority to indigenous Jumma peoples to all jobs in CHT;
(e) to include recommendation of the CHTRC in the Education Policy;
(f) to conduct land survey in CHT after the resolution of land disputes and completion of rehabilitation programme;
(g) to amend the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001 as per recommendations of CHTRC;
The Law Minister assured that he would go through the points. In replying to the amendment of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001, he told that he would do so in consultation with Land Ministry. He also suggested the CHTRC delegation to send detailed proposal on issues of (a) and (b) items mentioned above from CHTRC soon and then he would take necessary action as per recommendation. He agreed to hold next meeting on these issues formally.