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Monday, April 25, 2011

Editorial: Unsettled hill people: They need roofs to live under

They need roofs to live under
April 24, 2011 

SINCE last week's violent clashes between the Bengali settlers and the indigenous people in Ramgarh some of the latter have become homeless as reports suggest. More than fifty eight families were affected. Many of these people are now reportedly starving and living in open due to loss of abodes and belongings.

The foremost task of the administration is to settle these affected people. Why must the processes of rehabilitation face delay because the district administration is yet to prepare the list of affected families? We understand the authorities received varying figures of victimization, casualty and demands for compensation from different local union parishads. The authorities must independently verify the status of the affected families and individuals without being influenced by any quarter.

After what happened in Khagrachari should be a sufficient eye-opener to come to grips with the land disputes as early as possible in order to remove the portents of conflicts between the plainland settlers and the indigenous population.

How well the minorities are treated is increasingly becoming a test of good governance. It is the responsibility of the government and the hill tracts administration to find a durable solution to this social friction rooted in disputes over land. Resolution of the problems is a necessary precondition to all round development in the resourceful CHT region.

The CHT Land Commission should immediately devise ways and means to settle the land disputes on mutually acceptable basis. Overall, an inclusive, transparent and fair minded policy should be adopted so that the indigenous communities' rights to landownership and pursuit of happiness are provided for.
Courtesy: The Daily Star

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