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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rangamati Headman-Karbari conference demands autonomous status for CHT

Rangamati Headman-Karbari conference demands autonomous status for CHT

News No. 134/2010, September 03, 2010

A conference of Headmen and Karbaris (village heads) of Rangamati
district has called upon the government to declare the Chittagong Hill
as an autonomous region.

The conference was held today, Friday, at Giriphul Shishu Sadan in
Perachara under Khagrachari district with the slogan “Unite for the
demand of constitutional recognition of the national minorities and
autonomous status of CHT”.

Presided over by Amal Chakma, headman of Doluchari Mouza under
Rangamati District, the conference was addressed among others by Kali
Ratan Chakma, headman of Mubachari Mouza under Kaokhali Upazila, Sunik
Joti Chakma, headman of Keronchari Mouza under Belaichari Upazila,
Milon Shankar Chakma, headman of Midingachari under Barkal Upazila,
Subol Chakma, Karbari of Toimedung Para under Rangamati Sadar Upazila,
Chuithoai Prue Marma, Karbari of Dabua under Kaokhali Upazila, UPDF
leaders Animesh Chakma and Dhrubo Joti Chakma.

The declaration and demands of the conference was read out by Rup
Kumar Chakma, Karbari of Keronchari village under Barkal Upazila.

The speakers welcomed the institution of a special parliamentary
committee headed by the Deputy Leader of the House Sayeda Sajeda
Chowdhury to propose amendments to the constitution of Bangladesh, and
urged the committee to incorporate the demands of the CHT people in
its amendments.

“Although we are citizens of this country, our national identity is
different; we are not Bengalees. We want this identity of ours
recognized in the constitution.” Amal Chakma said in his address.

He said “We had to suffer so much in terms of military repression,
land alienation and genocides and we still continue to do so because
the framers of the constitution had refused to acknowledge our
separate identity in it.”

“We don’t want it to be repeated this time around.” he added.

UPDF leader Animesh Chakma said, “The demand of autonomy is something
that we all the Jummas hold dear to us. It was first raised in the
national parliament in 1972 by M. N. Larma, the then MP from
Chittagong Hill Tracts. But the demand fell on the deaf ears of the
ruling elites of the country.”

He further said, “There are many countries in Europe and Asia -- such
as UK, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Greenland, Indonesia,
Philippines, China, India to name a few – where the regions inhabited
by national minorities have been granted autonomous status, and the
people of these areas enjoy a wide range of powers.”

The government of Bangladesh should learn from these countries and let
the people of CHT live the way they want, he added.

The conference unanimously endorsed a set of 11 point demands and the
constitutional amendment proposals articulated by UPDF.

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