Chittagong Hill Tracts: PCJSS Responds to PM’s Evasion of Questions on CHT Accord.
Photo courtsey of PCJSS
The PCJSS has published an open letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, accusing her of totally failing to answer a line of questions regarding the progress, or lack thereof, of the implementation of the CHT Accord. What’s more, the PCJSS found her claims of ‘complete’ or ‘partial’ implementation of many of the Accord’s provisions to be both untrue and alarming. The letter further draws attention to the lack of resolution of land disputes, the government’s lack of numerical consistency, and misappropriation of funds among other things. The letter ends with a call for the Prime Minister to stop the dissemination of false or misleading information, produce a clear roadmap detailing the exact plans for the full implementation of the CTH Accord, and to proceed with ‘sincerity, good will and political steadfastness’.
Below is an article taken from Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti.org
In context of the speech delivered by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the Jatiya Sangsad (Parliament) while answering to the starred question relating to implementation of the CHT Accord raised by Mr. Ushatan Talukder, Member of Parliament of 299 Parbatya Rangamati constituency on 10 February 2016, an Open Letter has been made to public on part of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS).
In a press release signed by Pranati Bikash Chakma, General Secretary of PCJSS on 16 February 2016 PCJSS said that the Prime Minister has spelled abject failure in presenting the existing scenario of implementation of the CHT Accord in her oral answer to Ushatan Talukder’s starred question that goes: “What is the present picture of CHT Accord implementation? Whether a time-frame-based step would be adopted aiming at full implementation of the unimplemented provisions of the CHT Accord? If not, what is the reason thereof?” The Prime Minister has resorted to making untrue statement in her oral speech as before by claiming 48 out of 72 sections of the Accord to have already been implemented. Despite lying many provisions of the Accord unimplemented as yet, her claim of ‘complete’ or ‘partial’ implementation of the provisions has made the PCJSS to treat the pronouncement to be of highly alarming. A quarter of vested interest dwelling in the government has been catering wrong and manufactured information on implementation of the CHT Accord quite deliberately. Even more, they are at their efforts to flow the adopted provisions of the Accord in different directions by producing wrongful interpretations. This quarter is employing ill-efforts quite deliberately with a mean objective to obstruct the implementation process of the Accord. As a result, a kind of mistrust, confusion and distance on implementation of the CHT Accord is getting generated.
Indeed, two-third sections including the core issues of the CHT Accord have remained unimplemented. It can safely be said that especially, it is due to leaving the core issues of the Accord unimplemented, there exists suffocating situation in CHT as it has been earlier. Hence, PCJSS has been in expectation that the Prime Minister’s speech would contain a guide-line indicating a way to overcome the moribund situation. But there is none who could find out the guide-line or hope of ray throughout the deliberation of Prime Minister. As it has been earlier, she has held out only the particulars of developments; she has repeated the old stock of confusing statements and on top of all, expressed her sincere attitude towards implementing the accord as usual manner by the words of which, as the people have landed in despair in one hand while they are getting resented on the other.
The Prime Minister has though mentioned in her speech that "the Accord could bring an end to the prolonged bloody war of 22 years and that there flows breeze of peace"; she carefully skipped the post-accord dark chapter that includes, among others, communal attacks upon the Jumma people, forcible land occupation, violence upon Jumma women by the Bengali settlers with support of the local administration and security forces and army atrocities ─ all of which are being perpetrated unabatedly. The post-accord era has witnessed 18 communal attacks carried out by the Bengali settlers upon the Jumma people. But so far, none of the culprits involved in the crimes was brought under the trial.
Various decisions relating to general administration, law & order and developments are being adopted and implemented without knowledge of and discussion with the CHT Regional Council and the three Hill District Councils. The narrative statement that contained in the speech of the Prime Minister all about formation of Guimara Upazila, Sajek police station and Borthali Union during the post-accord era has been significant decisions about which no discussion and consultation with Regional Council and the concerned Hill District Council were held before taking decision for the final. Furthermore, the significant public programs, such as, construction of border roads and land-port, establishment of luxurious tourist centers under local army authorities and Tourism Corporation, declaration of reserved and protected forests, establishment of BOPs of Boarder Guard Bangladesh (BGB), etc. are being constructed without having discussion and consultation with the Regional Council and Hill District Councils. Despite strong opposition of the hill people, the academic programs of controversial Rangamati Science & Technology University and Medical College are being conducted under guarding of police and army personnel. Though the CHT Regional Council and Hill District Councils were constituted as to determine their own development by themselves, the top-down development approach has been being maintained as before.
However, nothing as such has been mentioned in the Prime Ministers speech relating to undertaking of ‘time-frame-based measure’ as to fullest implementation of the unimplemented provisions of the CHT Accord. She has completely avoided that question to answer. Even, she has not given explanation about the reason of why the ‘time-frame-based measure was not undertaken. It is through such attitude it is proved that the government has no ‘work plan’ on implementation of the CHT Accord.
It is worthy to be mentioned that the ‘Non-Cooperation Movement’ of the Jumma people is undergoing on demand for implementation of the CHT Accord by peaceful and democratic means. The Jumma people are fearless and determined to combat any situation to protect and preserve their national entities and entity of their dwelling land. With this, PCJSS makes it clear that instead of implementing the Accord, if the government pushes the hill people to harder movement, as such, the government shall remain responsible for any undesirable situation that might crop up consequently.
Under this circumstance, in place of highlighting confusing and untrue statistics on implementation of the CHT Accord, PCJSS calls upon the government to implement unimplemented issues of the Accord identifying as per the report titled: “Statement on the Unimplemented Provisions of the CHT Accord” that was submitted to the Prime Minister on 1 April 2015; to declare a timeline (roadmap) for proper, speedy and proper implementation of the CHT Accord and to come forward with genuine sincerity, good will and political firmness for implementation of the CHT Accord.