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3rd Meeting of Task Force on Rehabilitation of Returnee Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) held in Chittagong
3rd Meeting of Task Force held in Chittagong
On 26 January 2011 3rd meeting of Task Force on Rehabilitation of Returnee Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) was held in Chittagong circuit house. The meeting was started at 11.00 am and ended at 02.30 pm.
Presided by Chairman of Task Force Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura, following members of the Task Force attended the meeting-
1.Mr. Nikhil Kumar Chakma, Chairman of Rangamati Hill District Council,
2.Mr. Kyashoihla Marma, Chakma of Bandarban Hill District Council
3.Mr. Bira Kishore Chakma, representative of Chairman of Khagrachari Hill District Council
4.Mr. Laxmi Prasad Chakma, representative of PCJSS
5.Mr. Santoshito Chakma Bakul, representative of returnee Jumma refugees
6.Md. Shafi, representative of Bengali population
7.Md. Sirajul Haque Khan, Member-Secretary of Task Force and Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong Division
8.Major Khushid, representative of GOC of 24th Infantry Division of Chittagong Cantonment
9.Md. Nurul Alam, Senior Assistant Secretary of CHT Affairs Ministry
Besides, three Deputy Commissioners of three hill districts were also present in the meeting.
Among others, the identification and inclusion of unlisted IDPs, evaluation of implementation of 20 point package facilities, formation of sub-committee for investigation of ground situation of returnee refugees and IDPs, review of the fund received for rehabilitation of returnee refugees etc were discussed in the meeting.
Chairman of Task Force Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura started the meeting by welcoming all the members of Task Force and officers. Then he requested to member-secretary of Task Force to place resolution of earlier meeting for approval of the members of the Task Force.
During the discussion, Member-Secretary of the Task Force Md. Sirajul Haque Khan proposed to include Bengali settlers as IDPs for rehabilitation in CHT and to appoint the DC as member of the Task Force. However, representative of PCJSS and returnee refugee Mr. Laxmi Prasad Chakma and Sontoshito Chakma Bakul respectively protested against proposal to include Bengali settlers as IDPs. They argued that CHT Accord authorises Task Force to rehabilitate only Jumma IDPs. They also opined that definition of IDPs and format for identification of IDPs adopted by Task Force meeting held on 27 June 1998 recognises only tribal IDPs. They rather proposed to rehabilitate Bengali settlers outside CHT. They also protested to co-opt DC as a member of the Task Force. In regard to definition of IDPs, member-secretary of Task Force Md. Sirajul Haque Khan proposed to redefine the IDPs with an aim to include Bengali settlers as IDPs.
Chairman of Rangamati HDC Mr. Nikhil Kumar Chakma said that IDPs should be rehabilitated as per CHT Accord. On the other, Chairman of Bandarban HDC and representative of Khagrachari HDC did not pass any comment in this regard. However, Chairman of Task Force Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura did not oppose the proposal, but said that this issue should be taken to higher authority for final decision. Referring the opinion of Chairman of Task Force, member-secretary of Task Force dictated his secretary to note down the issue to send letter to the Ministry of CHT Affairs asking directive regarding co-opt of DC as member and inclusion of Bengali settlers as IDPs.
Regarding the resolution of land dispute of returnee refugees, Deputy Commissioner of Bandarban made question how can resolve land dispute without land survey. In reply to this, of Rangamati HDC Mr. Nikhil Kumar Chakma said that land dispute will be settled in accordance with customary system of indigenous peoples.
Conclusion: It is clear that government side is still following the previous policy to rehabilitate Bengali settlers in CHT identifying them as IDP which is contradictory to the CHT Accord and the spirit of the movement of the indigenous people.