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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Military operations in Laxmichari, Kaokhali

Military operations in Laxmichari, Kaokhali

THE army has begun combing operations in Laxmichari of Khagrachari
district and in Kaokhali of Rangamati district, sources said.

On 26 January, soldiers in nine military vehicles from Guimara brigade

and Laxmichari zone entered Bormachari union, split into small groups
and then carried out raids in different areas including Bormachari
Mukh Para, Boroitali, Binajuri, Tonuram Karbari Para.

Besides, the army also took positions at Dudya Para and Holdiya Para

in Laxmichari Sadar Union.

“The soldiers are still there and the operation is ongoing.” a

villager told chtnews.com on condition of anonymity.

He said a sense of insecurity and panic was prevailing in the area.

According to sources, the army last night surrounded the house of Ula

Aung Marma and Laxmi Sen Chakma in the village of Kudukchari para in

They woke up the inmates and interrogated about UPDF activists.

In Bormachari Mukh Para, the soldiers twice surrounded houses

belonging to Nabin Dhar Chakma and Chandra Chakma and quizzed them
about UPDF leaders Alakesh Chakma and Pradeep Chakma.

Military operations have also been reported from Rajstali in Rangamati district.

The army set up a makeshift camp at Taithong Para yesterday, according

to sources.

source: chtnews.com

Four UPDF activists arrested in Subolong

 Four UPDF activists arrested in Subolong
THE army arrested four members of the United Peoples Democratic Front
(UPDF) in Subolong under Barkal Upazila of Rangamati district, UPDF
and other sources said.

The arrested have been identified as Sumonto Chakma, 28, son of Guno
Dhar Chakma of village Morachengey Bakchari of Naniachar Upazila,
Samiron Chakma, 25, son of Hossyo Chakma of village Maischari under
Barkal Upazila, Doyaron Chakma, 27, son of Sotyojit Chakma of village
Headvoria under Barkal Upazila and Tar Chakma, 25, son of Shubha Dhan
Chakma of village Gobchari under Jurachari Upazila.

According to sources, on 25 January, at about 7pm, a group of army
personnel led by Nazmul, commander of Subolong camp, carried out an
operation in areas adjacent to Subolong bazaar and arrested the UPDF
men from a house.

The army took them to the camp and tortured them severely.

The next day, 26 January, the army placed rickety arms in their hands
and then handed them over to the police.

A false case has been filed against them under Arms Act.

Sona Moni Chakma, a UPDF leader, condemned the arrest, saying: ‘It was
a part of a government plan to weaken UPDF.’

‘The claim that arms and ammunitions were recovered from them is a
total lie. Why on earth would they roam near an army camp with weapons
in hand?’ he asked.
source: chtnews.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

Admission of Bengali Muslim student under tribal quota is under process in Kustia Islamic University

Admission of Bengali Muslim student under tribal quota is under process in Kustia Islamic University
It is learnt that a Bengali Muslim student named Abu Siddique is going to get admission in Kustia Islamic University under tribal quota.
Abu Siddique submitted a tribal certificate collected from circle chief of Bohmong circle (certificate no. 17167) of Bandarban district along with his admission application. The tribal certificate stated that Abu Suddique is from Naikhyongchari upazila in Bandarban and belongs to tribal Pangon community. However, there is no such tribal Pangon community in three hill districts in CHT including Bandarban district.
On the other hand, certificate register of Bohmong circle was checked by reliable source. The source confirmed that the certificate with no. 17167 was issued to Abu Siddique only stating that Abu Siddique is a resident of Naikhyongchari upazila and belongs to Muslim community. Neither ‘tribal’ nor ‘Pangon community’ was mentioned in the certificate issued by circle chief of Bohmong circle.
Indigenous tribal students met vice chancellor Prof. Dr. M Alauddin and head of the Convening Committee on Quota on this issue. Vice chancellor Prof. M Alauddin assured indigenous tribal student to look into the matter. He also asked indigenous tribal students to supply government documents regarding tribal quota so that the Islamic University authority can consider enough for tribal quota as per government policy.
courtesy: Kapaeeng Foundation.

3000 education centres of indigenous peoples about to stop in CHT

3000 education centres of indigenous peoples about to stop in CHT

Four residential schools and three thousand and five hundred education centres of indigenous peoples across the CHT are about to stop due to non-extension of the ongoing project or non-approval to any new proposal. 
Under this circumstance, in the current academic session around 150 SSC candidates’ future is about to end up in uncertainty. Due to non-extension of the project’s period, the education for more than 700 students, who are living in the residential hostels and 68000 children in the remote areas, is under severe threat. 
The period of the Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP) expired on the 31 December 2011. Following this situation, the residential students were asked to leave hostels and stay at their homes until the further instructions. The supply of food for the SSC candidates had been stopped, as the food supply order from the contractor was suspended.
The officials of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board (CHTDB) and the ICDP reported that a new project with the total expenditure of Tk. 34.8 million was submitted to the government. They also added that as an interim arrangement a request was made to the Planning Minister for no-cost extension up to six months in order for keeping the project operational.  Until 15 January 2012 none of the said proposals got approval.   
This five year project was initiated in 1985, when it was revised twice. The project’s period also was extended twice, and the duration ended in 31 December 2010. With a special grant support from UNICEF, this project was implemented until 31 December last year, but no prior approval was received for the further extension of it.     
The Project Director of ICDP S M Zakir Hossain tells that it takes only three months for extension of a project under the “no-cost extension” provision. A few days back, a proposal was sent to the Planning Ministry; however, no initiative was taken yet.
Zakir Hossain also added that a Core Committee has been formed comprising a few officials both from the Ministry of CHT Affairs (MoCHTA) and the CHTDB to formulate a new proposal under the ICDP. Following several rounds of meetings, on last 29 December, a 5 year project proposal with Tk. 34.8 million was submitted to the concerned ministry. Tk. 18.6 million from the government and Tk. 16.2 million from UNICEF are expected to finance this project.  He also says that UNICEF in principle has agreed to support the project, although no memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with it yet. Co-financed by the government and UNICEP, the CHTDB has been implementing activities under the ICDP on education, and maternal health and child care in Bandarban, Rangamati and Khagrachari Hill districts.    
The additional Project Director Jane Alam tells that 116 teaching and non-teaching staff for 700 indigenous students in the residential schools, 228 project employees, and 3500 village workers are employed in this project. Jane Alam also says, through the village centres more than 68000 children are provided with pre-school education. Alongside these centres are providing the maternal health and primary child care facilities including Vitamin A and iron tablets for children.   
It was alleged that such uncertainty with the project extension resulted from the lack of preparation well before on the side of the concerned officers. However, S M Zakir Hossain denied this allegation.  
Zakir Hossain says, although the project period has been over, still there remains Tk. 3.4 million unspent from the total budget allocation. Subject to the approval from the Planning Ministry, all project activities can be continued for next 6 months without any support either from the government or UNICEF.
In the meantime, news spreads around that no students will be admitted for the next year intake in several schools such as Mro Residential School in Sualok Upazila, Ruma Tribal Residential School in Ruma Upazila, Alikadam Tribal Residential School and Rajasthali Tribal Residential School in Rangamati, while residential students were also asked to leave the hostel. In this situation, indigenous leaders and concerned guardians are now anxious about the fate of their children’s education.
(This report has been prepared as per the news published in the Bangla daily ‘Kaler Kantho’ on 15 January 2012).
courtesy: Kapaeeng Foundation

4th meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation Committee held in Dhaka

 4th meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation Committee held in Dhaka

On 22 January 2012 4th meeting of the Committee was held at the office of Deputy Leader at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban in Dhaka with its convenor Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury in the chair. Other two members of the Committee president of PCJSS Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma and chairman of the Task Force on Rehabilitation of returnee refugees and IDPs Jatindra Lal Tripura MP attended the meeting. Besides, Gowher Rizvi, advisor on international affairs to the Prime Minister was also present in this meeting.
Among others, it was decided to amend the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001 as per recommendations of CHT Regional Council and CHT Affairs Ministry in the next winter session of the Parliament. Besides, the implementation of other issues of the Accord was also discussed in this meeting.
It is mentionable that this year earmarks the passing of 14 years since the signing of the CHT Accord. Meanwhile, the present Grand Alliance Government led by Awami League that signed the Accord has already consumed almost 3 years of its tenure. But as of today, except reconstitution of some committees and appointment to the some posts, the government has not stepped up any measure that is effective towards implementation of the Accord. Despite its prioritized commitment in the Election Manifesto and continued strong demand of the Jumma peoples and the civic society of the country, the government has not come up with a time-framed ‘Road Map’ directing to implementation of the CHT Accord, 1997.
Very recently government started up dialogue with the PCJSS for ways forward of implementation of CHT Accord. Earlier, two meetings were held recently between Mr. Larma, president of PCJSS and chairman of CHT Regional Council and Mr. Rizvi, advisor on international affairs to the Prime Minister. Lastly on 16 January 2012 meeting between Mr. Larma and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was held.

courtesy: PCJSS

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Human Rights Report 2011 on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh published

Human Rights Report 2011 on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh published

On 9 January 2012 “Human Rights Report 2011 on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh” has been published by Kapaeeng Foundation, a national human rights organisation for indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, with the support of Oxfam. The report was unveiled by eminent educationist and former Vice Chancellor of Jahangirnagar University Professor Zillur Rahman Siddiqui.
A launching programme was held by Kapaeeng Foundation on 9 January 2012 at 10.00 am at Auditorium of National Planning and Development Academy in Dhaka with chairperson of Kapaeeng Foundation Rabindranath Soren in the chair. Professor Zillur Rahman Siddiqui, former Vice Chancellor of Jahangirnagar University was present as chief guest in the programme. Sultana Kamal, Co-chair of International CHT Commission; Nawab Ali Abbas Khan, MP and Member of Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous Issues; Barrister Sara Hossain, Honourary Director, BLAST; Mr. M B Akhter, Programme Manager, Oxfam; Dr. Dalem Chandra Barman, Professor of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies of University of Dhaka and Mangal Kumar Chakma, Advisor, Kapaeeng Foundation spoke in the launching programme. Coordinator of KF Mong Sing Neo presented human rights situation of indigenous peoples 2011 while Saikat Biswas, programme officer of Oxfam delivered welcome speech. Vice chairperson of KF Dipayon Khisa conducted the launching programme. Hundreds of indigenous activists and civil society members were present in the launching programme.
Besides, member of International CHT Commission Swapan Adnan, teacher of Dhaka University Robaet Ferdous, national coordinator on indigenous peoples of ILO Abhilash Tripura, Tandra Chakma of Manusher Jonno Foundation, Ramanath Mahato and Subin Chandra Munda of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Eujin Nekrek of Joyenshahi Adivasi Unnayan Parishad, Tuli Labanya Mrong of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, Daniel Dokhar from Sylhet, Harendranath Sing of Adivasi Juba Parishad, Trimita Chakma of Coffey International Development et al.
The report has been edited by Dr. Dalem Chandra Barman, Professor of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies of University of Dhaka and Mong Sing Neo, Coordinator of KF with the contribution of a team of indigenous rights activists, namely, advisor of KF Mangal Kumar Chakma, Project-in-Charge of Caritas Barisal office Myentthein Promila, Executive Member of KF Lina Jesmin Lushai, Executive Member of KF and Correspondent of The Daily New Age Muktasree Chakma Sathi, Student of Curtin University (Australia) Bablu Chakma, Editor of adivasinews.com Manik Soren, Human Rights Activist Daniel Dikhar and Indigenous Rights Activist Laya Lata Murmu

Despite strengthening solidarity and unity among indigenous peoples and civic groups of mainstream Bengali population with strong media support, the Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh passed 2011 amidst numerous victims facing gross abuses of human rights without access to justice. The perpetrators, irrespective of state and non-state actors, enjoyed with full impunity. Land dispossession of the Indigenous Peoples and massive communal attack on them in order to occupy their land continues unabated. Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Peoples and implementation of CHT Accord of 1997 remain unfulfilled, due to continuous following of policy-neglect by the Government of Bangladesh.
I. Introduction
It is encouraging that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) adopted strategic planning for the promotion and protection of the rights of the indigenous peoples. However, the NHRC still lacks institutional capacity due to lack of government support and strong democratic processes.
The Government mentioned in the Sixth Five Year Plan (FY2011-FY2015) that it would consider implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007 and ratify the ILO Convention 1969. The Sixth Five Year Plan also mentioned that an appropriate land policy will be formulated which can deal with land disputes involving indigenous peoples.
Indigenous Peoples raised their voice for adequate budgetary allocation to eliminate disparity and discrimination between them and the mainstream Bengali people. It is observed that about 2 per cent of the country’s population is indigenous peoples, but the allocation for them is below 0.5 per cent of the total budgetary allocation.
II. Identity of Indigenous Peoples
Ignoring strong demands of the indigenous peoples and civic groups of mainstream population of the country, the present Awami League-led government has denied the constitutional recognition of fundamental rights of indigenous peoples in the 15th amendment of the Constitution in 2011. Despite very specific demands, the government did not ensure constitutional recognition of CHT Accord of 1997 and acts and laws enacted as per the Accord, in that new constitutional reform. Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous Peoples proposed to enact a “Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act” and to set up a “National Commission on Indigenous Peoples” under an act to ensure the rights of indigenous communities on their ancestral lands. According to the Caucus, the existing laws are not adequate to ensure the rights of the indigenous peoples.
III. Land Rights and Land Dispossession
The major problem for all adivasis is land grabbing by influential people from the mainstream population. There are no adequate policies to protect the land of indigenous peoples. The traditional land rights of indigenous peoples are being ignored. The incidents of forcible land-grabbing by Bengali land grabbers and eviction of indigenous peoples from their ancestral land were also seen as common scenario in 2011.
In the year 2011 at least 111 houses of indigenous Jumma villagers were completely burnt to ashes in the CHT while 12 houses (6 houses each in the CHT and the plain lands) were looted and ransacked due to land-related communal conflicts. In addition, at least 146 Jumma families in the CHT were attacked by Bengali settlers while 19 indigenous families in the plain land were attacked. Besides, 21 indigenous persons including 1 from plain lands were assaulted while 3 indigenous persons (2 from CHT and 1 from plain lands) were brutally killed. On the other hand, at least 7,118 acre of land belonging to indigenous Jumma people were grabbed by Bengali settlers in the CHT in 2011. Several attempts have also been made to occupy Jumma’s land by the Bengali settlers.
IV. Main Human Rights Issues
The failure to thoroughly investigate human rights violations by Bengali settlers with the support of the law enforcement agencies in the CHT and by influential land grabbers and criminals with the support of local administration including police in the plain lands remained a matter of serious concern. The perpetrators, irrespective of state and non-state actors, acted with full impunity.
In 2011, 7 indigenous people, 3 from CHT and 4 from plain lands, were killed while 13 persons were arrested or detained. In addition, 30 indigenous persons, 29 victims are from CHT out of them, were tortured, harassed and threatened. At least 8 massive communal attacks were made upon Indigenous Peoples across the country. Of them, 4 attacks were made in the CHT. All the the communal attack in the CHT were committed by Bengali settlers and in these attacks security forces played either a passive role or collaborative role. At least 3 indigenous persons were killed in these communal attacks while 70 were injured. Besides, 137 houses of Indigenous Peoples were completely burnt to ashes while 47 houses were looted or ransacked.
Religious persecution on Indigenous Peoples also continued, particularly in the CHT.  This includes destruction of Buddhist temple with the aim to occupy temple’s land, harassment of Buddhist monks, destruction of Buddha statues, prevention to construction and repairing of temple etc.
V. Women’s Rights
The biggest concern in rape and other violence against indigenous women is the lack of access to justice and absolute impunity that perpetrators enjoy. In 2011, 5 indigenous women, of them 3 from the CHT and 2 from the plain lands, were killed after rape while 11 indigenous women were raped. Except 1 woman from the plain lands, the rest of the raped women were from the CHT region. In addition, attempts to rape were made on 8 indigenous women including 1 from the plain lands while 5 women (4 from the CHT and 1 from the plain lands) were abducted. Almost all violence against indigenous Jumma women in the CHT have allegedly been committed by Bengali settlers. Only one incident of attempted rape was reported to have been allegedly committed by a security personnel.
VI. Education and Children
Deprivation of access to quality education is a major factor contributing to social marginalization, poverty and dispossession of Indigenous Peoples. With regard to the admission quota for indigenous students, there is no coherent policy and the entire issue is often embroiled in bureaucratic interventions. In some cases, it is totally dependent on the discretion of the authority of the concerned educational institutions. In regard to quota in government jobs, the recruitments in the last six BCS examinations (24th-29th) show a diminutive representation of indigenous community’s candidates. Studies show that merely 1%-2% of tribal quotas were fulfilled since the policy was adopted and unfortunately such vacant seats till the 27th BCS were filled by non-tribal candidates.
VII. Present State of Implementation of the CHT Accord
This year marks the passing of 14 years of signing of the CHT Accord. In the meantime, the present Awami League-led grand alliance which signed the Accord has already consumed 3 years of its tenure. But except for reconstitution of some committees and appointment to the some posts, the government has not taken any effective measures towards implementation of the Accord. Despite making it a priority commitment in the election manifesto and strong demands from the Jumma peoples and the civic society of the country, the government has not come up with a ‘Road Map’ with a time-frame to implement the 1997 CHT Accord. Hence, dissatisfaction and grievance has been mounting among the Jumma peoples and permanent Bengali residents in CHT over the years.
VIII. Recommendations
(1)   To end all intimidation and harassment of Indigenous Peoples and to prosecute all those responsible for attacks and intimidation against Indigenous Peoples.
(2)   To take all measures to fulfill Awami League’s election promises by fully implementing the CHT Accord with a declared time-frame for a road map and providing a forum for solving land disputes of Indigenous Peoples in CHT and plain lands.
(3)   To implement ILO Convention No. 107 and ratify ILO Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples and relevant to the situation in Bangladesh.
(4)   To recognize, more categorically, the collective and individual rights of Indigenous Peoples over land and natural resources, in accordance with international human rights standards and in congruence with their customs and traditions.
(5)   To stop the systematic and forcible displacement of Indigenous Peoples from their ancestral lands and to develop legal mechanisms to save the illegal land dispossessions of Indigenous Peoples.
(6)   To form a separate land commission for plain land Indigenous Peoples for restoration of dispossessed land.
(7)   To stop communal violence and physical abuse against indigenous women and to conduct judicial inquiries into the communal violence and abuses against indigenous women.
(8)   To implement 5% quota in government jobs and education institutes for Indigenous Peoples.
(9)   To allocate adequate budget for Indigenous Peoples and to ensure full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in major decision-making processes in all development programmes.
(10)           Amendment of the Constitution-
a)      To incorporate the CHTRC Act 1998, and Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban HDC Acts of 1998 (Amendment), which were enacted in congruence with the CHT Accord signed on 2 December 1997, in the First Schedule of the Constitution as ‘existing laws’;
b)      To replace ‘tribes, small nationalities, ethnic groups, and communities’ with ‘Indigenous Peoples’ in ‘Article 23A’ of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution;
c)      To enshrine the list of more than 54 different indigenous ethnic groups by adding a new schedule in the Constitution, and ensuring constitutional recognition of the Indigenous Peoples;
d)     To remove the phrase - ‘…people of Bangladesh shall be known as Bengali as a nation and…’ from Article 6 of the 15th  Amendment to the Constitution;
(11)           The NHRC should investigate human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples.

courtesy: Kapaeeng Foundation

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Invitation to launching programme of Human Rights Report-2011 on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh

Invitation to launching programme of Human Rights Report-2011 on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Greetings from Kapaeeng Foundation!

Kapaeeng Foundation with the support of Oxfam is going to organise a launching programme of “Human Rights Report 2011 on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh” on 9 January 2012 at 10.00 am at Auditorium of National Planning and Development Academy, Nilkhet, Dhaka. Professor Zillur Rahman Siddiqui, Former Vice Chancellor of Jahangirnagar University has given his kind consent to be present as the chief guest in the programme. Mr. Rashed Khan Menon, MP and Convenor of Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous Issues, Mr. Nawab Ali Abbas Khan, MP and Member of Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous Issues, Adv. Sultana Kamal, Executive Director of Ain O Salish Kendra, Barrister Sara Hossain, Honourary Director, BLAST, Mr. M B Akhter, Programme Manager, Oxfam and Mr. Mangal Kumar Chakma, Advisor, kapaeeng Foundation will be present as guest of honor and discussant. Several indigenous leaders, activists and civil society members will be present in the launching program.

You are cordially invited in the program.

Rabindranath Soren

courtesy: Kapaeeng Foundation

MoCHTA seeks opinion to change land-related section 64 & 65 of HDC Act in violation of CHT Accord

MoCHTA seeks opinion to change land-related section 64 & 65 of HDC Act in violation of CHT Accord
Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA), which was set up as per CHT Accord, sought opinion to change land-related section 64(1)(a) & 65 of three Hill District Council Acts of 1989 violating the provision of CHT Accord.
It is learnt that the MoCHTA sent a letter dated 29 November 2011 signed by Md. Nurul Amin, Assistant Secretary of the MOCHTA to the Chief Executive Officers of Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban Hill District Councils (HDCs) seeking opinion to alter or omit the land-related section 64(1)(a) & 65 of three Hill District Council Acts of 1989. The opinion was sought in accordance with the decision on MoCHTA adopted in the Deputy Commissioners Conference held on 26-28 July 2011. The decision on MoCHTA of the Deputy Commissioners Conference is as follows-
(1) To replace the words “prior permission of the Council” of the Section 64(1)(a) of the HDC Act of 1989 with the words “no objection of the Council” in order to avoid long process in changing the land record;
(2) To omit the Section 64 on Collection of Land Development Tax of the HDC Act of 1989.
The MoCHTA in its letter asked the Chief Executive Officers to send their opinions within 15 days. The decision in the Deputy Commissioners Conference was taken with an aim to strengthen the powers and functions of the Deputy Commissioners including responsibilities of the collection of land development tax.
The CHT Accord provides that “Section 64 shall be amended and enacted as follows: (a) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, no land and premises, including the leasable Khas lands, within the territorial limits of the Hill Districts shall be transferable by Ijara, settlement, purchase or sale except with the prior permission of the Council; Provided that this provision shall not be applicable in respect of the area of Reserved Forest, Kaptai Hydro-electric Project, Betbunia Satellite Station, State-owned in the industries and factories and the lands recorded in the name of the Government."
Further, the Accord stipulates that “Section 65 shall be amended and formulated as follows: "Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the responsibility of collecting the Land Development Tax of the district shall rest in the hands of the Council and the collected tax of the district shall be deposited in the fund of the Council."
In addition, as per the Accord, “Land and Land Management” is included in the First Schedule of the HDC Acts as a function of the HDCs. A proposal was sent to the government to transfer the responsibility of “land and land management” to the HDCs as per the CHT Accord. But till today, the subject has not been transferred to the HDCs. Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of the hill districts continue to exercise power of the land management in violation of the HDC Acts by misusing the 1900 CHT Regulation.
The letter sparks strong reaction among the people of the CHT. They said that the MoCHTA cannot issue this letter as it is direct violation of the CHT Accord. The hill people cannot expect such anti-accord role of the MoCHTA as it is set up as per the Accord with an aim to look after the interest of the CHT people.
Mr. Sajib Chakma, assistant secretary for information and publicity department of the PCJSS said that rather playing strong role to execute these land-related provisions of the HDC Acts of 1989 and to transfer the subject of ‘land and land management’ to the HDCs, the MoCHTA is seeking opinion to alter or omit the land-related section 64(1)(a) & 65 of three Hill District Council Acts of 1989. This is not acceptable at all. This is again proved that the MoCHTA is often found to take stands which go against the interest of the hill people.
Please find the letter of the MoCHTA attached below:


USA national expelled from Bandarban

An American citizen, Thomas Christian Eskildsen, left Bandarban town in the morning, on January 3rd, after he was ordered by the district administration to leave, Kaler Kantho and Suprobhat Bangladesh have reported.

On January 4th, the two vernacular dailies carried reports saying that Mr. Thomas was expelled on account of unwarranted activities.

The Suprobhat Bangladesh, published from Chittagong, quoted Md. Imtiaz Ahmed, officer-in-charge (OC) of Bandraban Thana, and Md. Mostafiz, a DB official, as saying: ‘American national Mr. Thomas held secret meetings with hill peoples at Tripura Kalyan Samiti office after entering Bandarban without prior permission from the district administration and the law enforcing agencies.’

‘As he failed to (show) any document giving him permission to visit Bandarban and as he failed to justify his visit, he was ordered to leave.’ it added.

The paper said that the police had earlier cautioned him after he was found involved in controversial activities with hill people in a Khumi village in Ruma.

However, according to Kaler Kantho, Mr. Thomas came to Bandarban on Monday at the invitation of Bibortan, an NGO, and with permission from Deputy Commissioner.

‘Members of the National Security Intelligence (NSI) picked him up in the evening while he was speaking with indigenous people at a tea shop in Ujanipara of Bandarban town.’ the national daily said.

‘He was interrogated intensely but the result of the interrogation could not be known.’ it added.

The paper further said that Mr. Thomas Christian had checked out of Royal Hotel on Tuesday morning and left Bandarban town.

source: chtnews.com