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After 21 years of CHT deal, future of hill people uncertain: Santu Larma
Despite passing 21 years after the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord, the future of hill people remained insecure and uncertain, said Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti president Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, popularly known as Santu Larma.
Speaking at a news conference on the 21st anniversary of CHT Accord at a city hotel on Thursday, he said the hill people are grimly dismayed and angry over the ruling quarters for failing to implement the accord but carrying out unabated repression and misrule on them.
‘Standing before the insecurity and uncertainty of the future, hill people are now bound to think about the next course of their doings for the days to come,’ said Santu Larma, who signed the landmark CHT Accord on behalf of PCJSS, the political organisation that controlled the Shanti Bahini militia, with the government on December 2, 1997.
Santu Larma came up with over a dozen of allegations in his news conference, including state-sponsored repression, army rule, patronisation of armed goons who works against the interest of hill people and effort to change demography of CHT reducing the non-Muslim national minorities and replacing with Muslim majority settlers.
‘Today, CHT region is full of exploitation, repression, injustice, frustration, and despair and wailing,’
‘Every day the Jumma people are losing their lands, they are being betrayed, humiliated and repressed and the women and children are being tortured,’ he said.
‘The ruling class and the government in fact want to annihilate the existence of 14 indigenous nationalities in CHT,’ he said.
Santu Larma said that the two-third of the CHT Accord remained unimplemented despite passing 21 years since the treaty and even the political party, ruling Awami League, which was in power during the treaty, did not take any initiative to implement the treaty despite staying in the power in the last 10 years.
Santu Larma alleged that the government resorted to different propaganda that most of the CHT Accord has been implemented.
In reality, he said, the basic issues remained unimplemented and only 25 among 72 sections of the accord have been implemented so far.
Santu Larma said the CHT Regional Council and special governance in three CHT districts were not implemented yet.
He said the ongoing ‘army rule’ in CHT in the name of ‘Operation Uttaran’ is violation of the CHT Accord and the army are now ruling the CHT people with ‘colonial style’ of repression.
He said the land dispute settlement in CHT area was tasked with a separate land commission but the commission did not settle a single land dispute in last 21 years.
‘Rather, grabbing lands of indigenous people are going on unabated,’ Santu Larma said.
He alleged that communal attacks and habitation of Bengali settlers were going on to change the demography of the CHT region to make it Muslim majority region annihilating the non-Muslim national minorities.