Chittagong Hill Tract: Protest over Rangamati University Plans
Chittagong Hill Tracts groups are furious after claims have emerged suggesting that the government has begun implementing plans for the establishment of Rangamati Science and Technology University and Medical College. The implementation of such plans prior to the full implementation of the CHT Accords of 1997 could reignite Jumma-Bengali tensions and violence. In response to this, the Pahari Chatra Parishad and Hill Women’s Federation protested outside the Rangamati hill district Deputy Commissioner’s office on 14 October 2015. These protests are a continuation of the struggle against the establishment of Rangamati Science and Technology University and Medical College which UNPO witnessed earlier this year [26 January 2015], follow the story here.
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The below article is from the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti:
Pahari Chatra Parishad (PCP) (Hill Students Council) and Hill Women’s Federation (HWF) expressed deep concern over fresh conspiracy of starting academic program of Rangamati Science & Technology University and warned the government to bear responsibility for any undesirable situation that might spring up.
PCP and HWF uttered this grave concern at a procession and protest gathering held on 14 October 2015 at 10:30 am in front of Deputy Commissioner’s office of Rangamati hill district. Presided over by Bachchu Chakma, president of PCP central committee, the demonstration was addressed by Udayan Tripura, central member of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati (PCJSS); Toyen Chakma, president of of Rangamati district branch of CHT Youth Association; Adhiram Chakma, central office secretary of PCP; Ms. Sui Nue Marma, central member of HWF; Pulak Chakma, organising secretary of Rangamati district branch of PCP et al.
PCP and HWF said that while the Non-Cooperation Movement of Jumma Peoples of Chittagong Hill Tracts led by PCJSS, with an aim to accelerate the CHT Accord implementation process and to resist and address the Anti-Accord and Anti-Jumma-interest programs of the government advances unabatedly and on the other end, while the government exhibits its continued utter indifference stanch in implementing the Accord over which extreme discontent exists in the Jumma peoples; at this juncture, the quarter of vested interest in the rulings has gone mad with a fresh conspiracy by starting academic program of Rangamati Science & Technology University. As a part of the conspiracy, a Human Chain Program was organized on 11 October 2015 in Rangamati with some of the outsiders styled as students under the patronisation of Chatra League – the students’ wing of the ruling party and several upstart communal organizations in demand of starting academic program of Rangamati Science & Technology University.
PCP and HWF also mentioned that the government has stepped up initiative to establish a Science & Technology University and a Medical College in Rangamati while leaving the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education stranded, making the rights and existence of Jumma people endangered and pushing the political situation of CHT into instability and above all, drawing a total closure to the implementation process of the Accord. It is noteworthy that no room has been spared for the local permanent residents including the CHT Regional Council, Hill District Councils and the traditional institutions for participation and playing any decision-making role in the cases of running the University and Medical College, concerned decision-making board, admission of students, appointment of teachers and staff, etc. In this circumstance, since, if these two educational institutions had been established, in place of being beneficiary, it would have stood as the reason of ultimate damage in political, economic, social, administrative and cultural spheres, for which the PCP and HWF have been demanding postponement of establishing the program of the two institutions until full implementation of the CHT Accord.
PCP and HWF again added that a deadly violence broke out on 10 January 2015 while going for inauguration of the academic program of Medical College against opinion of the mass people. At present, while ignoring the mass opinion, the academic program of the Medical College is being run by day and night under police and army guard the posture of which is gradually turning the holistic situation to become unstirred. In such situation, the quarters of vested interest in the power has turned mad in hatching fresh conspiracy of starting academic program of Rangamati Science & Technology University with several outsiders styled as students. Through the source reference Pradanendu Chakma, the said Vice-Chancellor of the Science & Technology University, it has been also learnt that the class activity of the University will be begun towards the end of October or in early November at the new building of Rani Dayamoyee High School located in Rangamati.
Ignoring the great opposition, if the government, with muscle power, forcefully starts the academic program of Rangamati Science & Technology University, the result can never be of auspicious. The Jumma students and masses will oblige to undertake hardened step against beginning of the academic program of Rangamati Science & Technology University at the cost of any sacrifice. Hence, The PCP and HWF, once again, desire to make the government informed that the Jumma students and the Jumma people of all walks of life will never accede to the programs of Rangamati Science & Technology University until full implementation of the CHT Accord. For this, the PCP and HWF want to remind the government that it will be the government to bear responsibility for any undesirable situation that might spring up.
PCP and HWF said that in the first batch, 73 students have been admitted in Computer Science and Management Departments for the Academic year 2014-2015. After conclusion of the human chain event on 11 October 2015, a memorandum, with demand for immediate start of classes, signed by 20 students already admitted for the session 2014-2015, was submitted to the Prime Minister. The PCP and HWF want to make a humble call to those students who have admitted in the controversial Science & Technology University for the session 2014-2015, the government is plotting to make the simply innocent students like you a human-shield in implementing the controversial Science and Technology University. The government is playing the game of ‘ducks and drakes’ with the future life of simple-minded students. This is a flat mockery of the government in the name of education – a conspiracy to bring extinction to the national entity of the Jumma peoples of CHT. It is for this reason, the PCP and HWF, having evaluated the holistic reality of CHT, call upon you with open heart not to join the government conspiracy and to abstain from Rangamati Science & Technology conspiracy. Please, do not throw your potential education life in the uncertainty. You are the helms men of the country. Please, do try to understand the existing crisis of CHT at heart. Do study righteously the mean conspiracy of the government with CHT. Do try to know, understand and realize the current deprivation and discontentment of Jumma peoples. Hence, the PCP and HWF call upon you to move away from the conspiracy of establishing the controversial University and come forward in exhibiting the solidarity and oneness, including implementation of the Accord, with the rightful demand of Jumma students and also the hill dwellers.