Sep 28, 2016

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Bangladeshi Government Expresses Condolence for Jumma Representative After 33 Years

Photo Courtesy of Sajeeb Ahmed Photography 2014 @Flickr

Thirty-three years later, the supreme legislative body of Bangladesh, Jatiya Sangsad, has accepted a condolence motion over the death of pioneer of the indigenous Jumma people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Manabendra Narayan Larma. Larma, founder of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and former member of Parliament, was killed in an attack by an armed group in 1983. Parliamentary tradition dictates that when a member of parliament dies, the condolence motion is passed on the very first day of the next session of parliament. Despite the 33-year delay, PCJSS welcomes this parliamentary condolence motion and thanks the government for correcting its mistake and commemorating the life of the distinguished politician.


Below is an article published by Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti:

Jatiya Sangsad (JS) adopted the Condolence motion over the death of Manabendra Narayan Larma (M N Larma) − the pioneer of awakening of Jumma nationalism, founder of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and former member of Jatiya Sangsad (Parliament), after 33 years. The house nodded to the condolence motion soon after it was raised by the Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury at 5:00 pm on Sunday, the 25th September 2016 during the 12th Session of the 10th National Parliament.

PCJSS welcomed the parliamentary condolence motion and thanked to the Parliament and the government as well, though it took as long as 33 years to pass it. Thus, the historical wrong was undone through consensus.

It is mentioned in the condolence motion: "With the death of Manabendra Narayan Larma, the country has lost a distinguished politician, lawyer, teacher and a devoted social service provider. The house expresses deep condolence; wishes peace for his departed soul and shares equal grief with the bereaved family members at heart."

It is also mentioned in the condolence motion that M N Larma was killed in an attack of an armed group named ‘Giri-Prakash-Deben-Palash’ gang at the upper reaches of Khedarachara under Panchari Upazila of Khagrachari hill district on 10 November 1983. He was killed at the age of 44 years. As an independent candidate, he was elected as member of the then Provincial Assembly of the then East Pakistan in 1970 and as Member of the Parliament from Chittagong Hill Tracts-1 constituency in 1973.

M N Larma was born to a middle-class family in Mahapurum village (now submerged under Kaptai Lake) of Burighat Mouza under Naniarchar Upazila of Rangamati Hill District, on 15 September 1938. His father Chitta Kishore Chakma was the Head Teacher of the Junior High School in that village. His mother Shubhashini Dewan was also a pious lady and known as a well-wisher of the community society. M N Larma was the third among four brothers and sisters. His sister Jyoti Prabha Larma (Minu) is the eldest, elder brother is Shubhendu Prabhas Larma (Bulu) while the immediate younger brother is Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma (Santu) who is one of the signatories of the historical CHT Accord signed on 2nd December 1997 and at present serving as Chairman of CHT Regional Council and President of PCJSS. M N Larma is also known as ‘Manju’ by nick name.

As the parliamentary traditional practices, whenever a member of the parliament dies, the condolence motion over the demise is passed in the session on the very first day of the following session of the parliament. But after the death of M N Larma, no condolence motion was passed for which the issue of his death is found to be nowhere with the documentary records of the house. The issue was brought to the attention of the parliament by Ushatan Talukder – an independent member of the parliament from Rangamati constituency. Later on, the death issue of M. N. Larma was passed in the form of condolence motion.            

During his student life, M N Larma joined the Students Union in 1958. He strived to organize a movement against construction of the Kaptai Hydr-electric Dam in 1961. The Hill Students Conference was held at his initiative in 1962. He organized Parbattya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (The United Peoples’ Party of CHT) and became the General Secretary. Later, in 1973, he took over the responsibility of the organization as the President. Under his leadership, a group of representatives from CHT placed 4-point demand for autonomy to the then Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 15 February 1972. M N Larma joined BAKSHAL in 1975. He also became President of PCJSS in 1977 and 1982.

As per the traditional practices, copy of the condolence motion would be sent to the family of M N Larma.

PCJSS expressed its gratification over the passing of condolence motion in the parliament. Mangal Kumar Chakma, Information and Publicity Secretary of PCJSS thanked the parliament and government for coming up with mourning over demise of M N Larma after so long. He said that M N Larma was not only a leader to the inhabitants of CHT but also a leader to all the working people of the country. Alongside fighting for the Jumma people in and outside the parliament, he did also fight for the rights of working people of boatmen, peasantry, laborers, rickshaw pullers, slam dwellers, street fellows, women and children in distress and even women entrapped in red-light areas.

It is to be mentioned that the parliament also adopted condolence motion over the death of Abdur Rahim, former MP and one of the members of Constitution Draft Committee; Abdul Mannan, Ali Reza Raju, Kurban Ali, Fazlur Rahman Patal and Abdur Razzak all were members of the parliament on that day. Besides, the parliament also passed condolence motion over the death of poet Shaid Kadri, A F M Mahitul Islam, witness of Bangabandhu Murder Case, Awami League leader Nazma Rahman, Shirin Banu Mitil, freedom fighter, Mohammed Ali, the legend boxer, Sydney Shawnburg, friend of liberation war and comedian Farid Ali.