Vol. 5 Num 195 Fri. December 10, 2004  

Call to implement CHT accord

Implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) accord is impossible without establishing a democratic and progressive government, said the speakers at a discussion yesterday.

They urged all to come forward to create pressure on the government to implement the accord immediately in the greater interest of the country.

The discussion on 'CHT accord and indigenous right: Role of citizens' society' was organised by Bangladesh Adibasi Odhikar Andolon at RC Majumdar Auditorium of Dhaka University.

The government has no intention to fully implement the accord, rather it is 'supporting anti-indigenous forces' in the hill region, Chairman of the CHT Regional Council Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma alias Shantu Larma alleged.

The objectives of the peace accord signed seven years ago on December 2, 1997 is yet to be fulfilled, said Larma, also chairman of the Parbatya Chattagram Janasanghati Samity (PCJSS).

He said the number of army camps is increasing day by day and the repression by army personnel on indigenous people is continuing but the government is not taking any steps to stop them.

"People in the hill region are frustrated as the accord has not been implemented fully. If the government does not fulfil our demand, it will be responsible for any consequences," said Larma who signed the agreement on behalf of the PCJSS.

He urged the government to appointment an indigenous person as a cabinet minister for CHT affairs to run it perfectly.

He also demanded of the government to set up CHT land commission and take proper steps for preparation of a voters' list comprising permanent residents of the CHT.

The hill people are unhappy at the presence of army in the region despite the peace accord, said Prof Borhanuddin Khan Jahangir.

After the signing of the accord, many Bangla-speaking people moved to the CHT and settled there with the support of the administration, said Hasanul Haq Inu, president of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal.

The number of Bangalee settlers is increasing day by day and now the ratio of indigenous people and the Bangalees is 55: 45, said Dr Harun-ur Rashid, dean of social science faculty of DU.

Robayet Ferdous, assistant professor of Mass Communication and Journalism Department, moderated the discussion where Gobinda Chattergee, director of Centre for Human Security, presented a keynote paper.