Speakers demanded at a discussion meeting of BIPF and CHTCC
On 28 June 2014, the Chittagong Hill Tracts Citizen’s Committee (CHTCC) and the Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF), CHT Chapter organised a discussion meeting at Azimur Rahman Conference Hall, the Daily Star, Dhaka demanding immediate suspension of the process of setting up of Rangamati Medical College (RMC) and Rangamati University of Science and Technology (RUST).
The discussion meeting was presided over by Prakriti Ranjan Chakma, president, BIPF, CHT Chapter while it was moderated by Binota Moy Dhamai, assistant general secretary, BIPF. The keynote of the meeting was presented by Goutam Dewan, president, CHTCC.
Ushatan Taludkar MP; Pankaj Bhattacharya, eminent politician; Syed Abul Maksud, eminent writer and researcher; Rowshan Jahan Moni, Director, ALRD; Abu Sayeed Khan, eminent columnist and journalist and Shakti Pada Tripura, organising secretary, BIPF were present at the discussion meeting as honourable discussants.
In the meeting, the speakers claimed that indigenous peoples of the CHT have been suffering from development aggression since Ayub Khan regime of Pakistan period when Kaptai dam was built that displaced tens of thousands of Indigenous peoples from their homeland. Many such development initiatives undertaken as of now in the CHT turned into disasters since proper consultations were not done with the locals. The planned educational institutes might also be disastrous.
The speakers mentioned, the CHT Accord of 1997 requires government to consult with the CHT Regional Council prior to any kind of development initiatives in the CHT region. Therefore, the government is legally bound to consult with the CHT Regional Council prior to setting up these educational institutions.
The speakers opined that they are not against higher education, rather they feel the importance of it very deeply. However, they do not want these educational institutions to be established prior to the development of the political, cultural and educational situation of the CHT. The development of the situation requires implementation of the CHT Accord. If the CHT Accord is implemented right now, they want the Medical College and University right now.
The speakers demanded/recommended inter alia: postponement of the process of setting up of Rangamati Medical College and Rangamati University of Science and Technology; proper consultation with the CHT Regional Council and indigenous peoples’ leaders of the CHT prior to setting up of the above-mentioned educational institutions; forming of a high-level committee composed of eminent educationalists, scholars and IP leaders from the CHT for the purpose of setting up of above-mentioned educational institutions; ensuring quality education at primary, secondary and higher secondary level educational institutions in the CHT; and full and proper implementation the CHT Accord.