AL-led govt unwilling to implement CHT accord: Santu LarmaStaff Correspondent
Parliamentarians, lawyers, rights activists, academics and minority leaders on Tuesday blamed the army for playing the main role in hindering the constitutional recognition of the national minorities as ‘indigenous people’, which is necessary to enable them to establish their rights.
They also said that the country, which was supposed to be a secular democracy after the War of Independence in 1971, still remains ‘communal and Islamic’ because the military, which is now a ‘state within a state’, is taking final decisions.
Ten different rights bodies organized a discussion on the eve of the International Day of World Indigenous Peoples at CIRDAP auditorium.
Parbattya Chattagram Janasanghati Samity’s president Jyotirindra Bodhipriyo Larma, popularly known as Santu Larma, complained that the law enforcement agencies often distort the demands of the national minorities. ‘Regretfully, the present government accepts the distortions,’ Santu lamented.
He said that Awami League-led government not only failed to fulfil its election commitments but also expressed its unwillingness to implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord 1997.
‘Bloodshed could again begin in the Chittagong Hill Tracts if the accord is not fulfilled immediately,’ added Santu, also the chairman of the CHT Regional Council.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal’s president Hasanul Haq Inu said, ‘Unfortunately, communal and military forces still take final decisions on many national issues. Constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples is one such issue.’
Workers Party of Bangladesh’s president Rashed Khan Menon, also convenor of the parliamentary caucus on indigenous peoples, said that the national minorities were not constitutionally recognised in the 15th Amendment because of the ‘military’s control of the state and bureaucratic mentality of the government’.
‘As a result the minorities are mired in an insecure situation, and the state is trying to ensure that they remain in such a situation,’ Menon added.
Rights activist Sultana Kamal, also a former of caretaker government advisor, said the government should know that no one wants ‘militarization (to affect) his personal and social life’.
‘Governments that come to power lack farsightedness. They can only see the five years of their rule. They should understand that there are more things in life beyond the five years,’ she added.
Other discussants urged the government to observe the International Day of World Indigenous Peoples, implement the CHT accord and enact laws for protection of national minorities.
AL lawmaker AKM Mozammel, lawyers Rana Das Gupta, Sara Hossain and Syeda Rizwana Hasan, rights activist Khushi Kabir, national minority leaders Sanjeeb Drong and Rabindranath Soren, academics Abul Barakat and Mesbah Kamal, BRAC’s director for community empowerment and integrated development Anna Minz, along with others, spoke at the discussion.
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