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Friday, December 2, 2011

Santu Larma accuses govt of breaching trust

Santu Larma accuses govt of breaching trust


The Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti president, Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, on Wednesday accused the government of breaching trust by not implementing the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord of 1997.

Jyotirindra, widely known as Santu Larma, asked the government to announce a road map for the implementation of the 1997 deal, placed 19-point demands, announced three-month programmes to push for demands and threatened a tougher movement if they were not met by March.

At a news conference in Dhaka narking the 14th anniversary of the signing the 1997 deal, Santu said, ‘The government had done nothing to implement the deal in 14 years and there
is military control everywhere in the hills as it was before the signing of the deal. The state keeps carrying out oppression on hill people as it did in the past… This is undoubtedly a breach of trust.’

Santu Larma said that the government on the one hand was continuing with rhetoric of its goodwill for the implementation of the deal and a number of ministers and bureaucrats were, on the other hand, making confusing statements just to bury the deal.

‘The ministers are claiming that the implementation of the deal is a lengthy process, often accusing the hill leaders of not extending cooperation and concluding that hill leaders do not want development in the region,’ he said.

The former insurgency leader also accused the government, a section of politicians and the media of spreading an idea that there were conspiracies to make the CHT an independent state in the style of East Timor or South Sudan aimed at legitimising the oppression unleashed on the hill people.

He also rejected the idea that international agencies were concentrating much on the hill districts with development programmes to patronise such ‘imaginary conspiracies.’

Santu Larma questioned the competency of the minister for foreign affairs, Dipu Moni, holding such an idea and talking about it in international forums.

He said that the disputed clauses of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001 which were ‘contradictory’ to the accord were yet to be amended and asked the government to move a bill in the next session of the parliament in this regard. He also demanded removal of the ‘controversial’ chairman of the commission.

‘This government is neither non-communal nor people-oriented. The 1997 deal required constitutional guarantee and the Awami League then said that as it did not have two-thirds majority in the parliament, it could not do it right at the moment. This time, it amended the constitution without keeping such a guarantee and demeaned all ethnic and linguistic groups terming then all ‘Bengalis,’ he said.

He also criticised the provision for state religion and Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahmin in the constitution in violation of a court order.

Santu resented the government’s indifference towards resolving the appeal against a High Court verdict that had declared unconstitutional some sections of the CHT Regional Council Act and three hill district council acts.

In reply to a question, Santu declined to consider the 1997 treaty a ‘failed’ one. ‘It is the government which is liable for the implementation of the deal. We cannot speak in the language you are speaking in,’ he said.

He also rejected the existence of fratricidal conflict in the hills. ‘The United People’s Democratic Front is a terrorist organisation… People in some places took up arms to resist its terrorist activities. The term fratricidal could apply when it takes place in a family or an organisation. No such things exists in the hills,’ he said, demanding a ban of the UPDF.

He also accused the Awami League government of float the UPDF after the 1997 deal and pitting it against the PCJSS to hinder implementation of the deal.

Santu announced that marking the 14th anniversary of the CHT Accord, signed on December 2, 1997, the PCJSS would hold a rally at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka and processions and rallies in every district and upazila headquarters in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

The PCJSS organising secretary, Shakti Pada Tripura, Gana Oikya organiser Pankaj Bhattacharya, researcher Syed Abul Maqsud, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum general secretary Sanjeeb Drong, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad general secretary Rabindranath Soren, MN Larma Memorial Foundation convener Bijay Ketan Chakma and Bangladesh Adivasi Odhikar Andolan general secretary Mesbah Kamal also attended the news conference.

courtesy: New Age

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