Santu threatens movement over peace deal
Former guerrilla leader Jyotirindra Bodhipriya (Santu) Larma has threatened to wage a tough movement to force the government to fully implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord by forging an alliance with the ethnic minorities, pro-peace accord forces and progressive Bengalees.
Santu, also the chairman of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS), made the announcement at a rally at the Central Shaheed Minar on Friday marking the 14th anniversary of signing the peace deal.
PCJSS and Bangladesh Adibasi Forum, a forum of indigenous people, jointly organised the rally.
Santu said, "We've been complaining of repression and torture on us to the government policymakers for the last 14 years. Many governments have completed their terms by the time, but none of them has shown any positive, democratic and non-communal attitude."
After coming into office in 1996, prime minister Sheikh Hasina made efforts to establish peace in the hill tracts by ending the violent clash, which started at the end of 1980s between PCJSS's armed wing Shanti Bahini and Bengali settlers in the region.
The peace agreement was signed on Dec 2, 1997 between the then Awami League government and the PCJSS
After the deal was signed, PCJSS emerged as a mainstream political party. The Shanti Bahini insurgents formally laid down their arms and received monetary compensation from the government.
The PCJSS chief claimed that the government is not sincere in making the pact operational.
Also the Adibasi Forum president, Larma denounced the passage of the bill on the 15th amendment to the constitution in parliament 'without giving due constitutional recognition' to the Juma people.
He demanded that the small ethnic minorities living both in the hill tracts and plainlands be recognised as 'adivasi' or indigenous people.
"There are 54 ethnic groups across the country and the government has shown its rude nationalistic attitude by not recognising them. It also has shown its communal nature by making Islam as the state religion."