16TH YEARS OF CHT ACCORD
Govt initiative goes against hill people: Sultana KamalStaff Correspondent
Rights defender Sultana Kamal on Saturday said that most of the intitatives taken by the government in the name of implementing the Chittaong Hill Tracts Peace Accord went against the hill people.
Sultana Kamal, also former adviser to caretaker government, made the remark while addressing a human chain formed in front of the National Press Club marking the 16th anniversary of inking the deal.
‘We have not seen enough activities of the government to implement the accord,’ she said.
A civic forum organised the human chain and a roundtable at Dhaka Reporters Unity.
The organisers asked the polls-time government to implement the CHT agreement and amending the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001 as they fall under routine works of the government.
They apprehended that there might be unusual situation in hills again if the government ignored the demands.
Kapeeang Foundation vice-president Dipayan Khisa said that the state would face another armed insurgency in the CHT region if it continued to delay the implementation of the 1997 deal.
He said, ‘The government is claiming that it has already implemented 80 per cent clauses of the deal and now they are seeking vote again for the full implementation. It is nothing but deceiving the hill people.’
He said that the government’s assurances made in its election manifesto in 2008 regarding the CHT accord remained in papers only and there was no implementation of those commitments.
Bangladesh Adivasi Forum general secretary Sanjeeb Drong said that after few years 80 per cent of ethnic minorities in the CHT would lose their lands, house and everything for the negligence of the government.
Dhaka University teacher Sourav Sikder read out a statistics on population in the CHT.
Five per cent of the CHT population were settlers in 1901, he said adding that the ratio was increased to 15 per cent in 1951, 30 per cent in 1981 and 51.4 per cent in 2001.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal general secretary Sharif Nurul Ambia, journalists Sohrab Hossain and Saleem Samad, Association for Land Reform and Development executive director Shamsul Huda and CHT Commission coordinator Hana Shams Ahmed, among others, addressed the programme while Dhaka University teacher Robaet Ferdous moderate the discussion.
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