The government is not cordial, rather it possesses extreme nationalism regarding the implementation of the 1997 CHT Peace Accord, Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma alias Santu Larma, the chairman of a faction of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti, has claimed.
At a discussion yesterday, he also alleged that the government had been spreading wrong information about its execution process by claiming that 48 sections in the Accord, out of total 78, were implemented. “But actually only 25 sections have been implemented fully while 13 partially.”
Santu made the observations while addressing a discussion at a city hotel to mark the 17th anniversary of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord signed between the then Awami League government and the PCJSS, previously known as Shanti Bahini, to end a decade-long armed struggle in the hill region.
On Saturday, he warned the government of waging non-cooperation movement from May 1 if the Accord was not executed by that time.
“This government is not democratic, it does not keep promises. It has proved that it does not implement its policies. The government is reluctant to take any effective step to implement the Accord,” Santu said yesterday.
“No election was held to the CHT Regional Council and the three hill district councils even though 17 years have past since the signing of the Accord. The regional council is now name only; it is unable to implement anything despite having responsibilities to do so.”
He mentioned that at least 16 indigenous women had faced physical harassment and abduction in September and November. Moreover, he criticised the army for setting up tourism centres and the BGB for establishing camps in the region by evicting indigenous people.
Barrister Sara Hossain, executive director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, at the event said: “This is the month of victory. But it is a shame that we cannot talk about the victory of the hill tracts people. How can a government deny the rights of at least 13 races?”
She also criticised the government for not upholding secular practices. “It is said that people from the Bangalee race are top class citizens while the rest are second or third class citizens.
“We faced many attacks while trying to intervene. From settlers to law enforcers, all of them are grabbing land of the hill people.”
Other speakers talked against the government plan to establish a science and technology university as well as a medical college in Rangamati, terming the move “a technique to establish more Bangalees to the hill region” alleging that only the Bangalee people would get jobs there.
Sanjeeb Drong, secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, said: “The government has been applying different tricks for not implementing the Accord.” He hoped that the government would be honest from now on in executing the Accord.
Columnist Syed Abul Moksud claimed that the government was not implementing the Accord “responsibly” since there is no financial benefits.
“The government gets money by signing agreements with the international donors. But it is not happening here. So, the Accord exists only on papers.”
He demanded that all parliament members hold a special discussion in the CHT to decide about the issue before March 26 – the Independence Day.
Pankaj Bhattacharya, president of NAP; Ushaton Talukder, parliament member and vice-president of PCJSS; and Nilufar Banu, human rights activist, were also present among others.