Chittagong Hill Tracts: Government blasted for delaying accord execution
Speakers at a seminar yesterday asked all to take the problem of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) as a national issue, blaming rulers' communal attitude for not implementing the CHT accord.
The seminar was jointly organised by the PCJSS and Bangladesh Forum for the Indigenous People at a hotel in Gulshan on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of signing the CHT accord.
The CHT peace accord was signed on December 2, 1997 that ended a two-decade-long bush war in the region.
The speakers said indigenous people are fighting for their rights and the government should meet their demands for betterment of the country.
Our correspondents report the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghaty Samity (PCJSS) brought out processions and rallies in the three hill districts demanding full implementation of the accord.
PCJSS chief Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma alias Shantu Larma alleged the government is emphasising rights of Bangalee settlers and people of a certain religion rather than those of the indigenous people.
Presiding over the seminar, he claimed, "The government is dragging its heels on the treaty and the army ruling in the CHT is violating human rights."
Eminent lawyer Dr Kamal Hossain, president of Gono Forum, said not only the CHT people, no-one in Bangladesh is enjoying their rights.
"Those who act as anti-forces of the peace accord are traitors. Someday the prime minister must be held responsible for not implementing the accord," he added.
Moni Swapan Dewan, deputy minister for the CHT affairs, said the CHT leaders have to be more strategic and have patience.
"The government has implemented some of the clauses and is trying to do the rest. But it needs time to meet such a complicated issue," the minister added.
Awami League presidium member Tofail Ahmed said they gave top priority to the accord after signing it while in office. "Now the fundamentalist government has stopped everything about it," he said.
Terming the CHT issue a national problem, Rashed Khan Menon, president of Workers Party Bangladesh, said the CHT has been being used as the outpost of neighbouring countrys' rebels.
Mujahidul Islam Selim, secretary general of Communist Party of Bangladesh, said some forces outside the country are keen on not resolving the CHT issues.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Haq Inu said a force inside the government wants to cancel the accord. He described the government as fundamentalist and asked all to launch an oust-government movement.
PCJSS Organising Secretary Shaktipada Tripura read out a keynote speech at the seminar. He said ruling a small ethnic community by the army is nothing but a sign of racist mentality.
Eminent playwright and actor Mamun Ur Rashid, Dilip Barua of Samyabadi Dal, Razekuzzaman Ratan of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal, Rokeya Kabir of Nari Pragati Sangha, Nazmul Haq, Rabindranath Soren, secretary general of Bangladesh Adivasi Parishad, Golam Murtaza of weekly 2000, among others, addressed the seminar.
Sanjeev Drong, secretary general of Bangladesh Forum for the Indigenous People, conducted the seminar.