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CHT situation alarming, Pankaj Bhattachariya

News No. 16/2008, January 31, 2008

Pankaj Bhattachariya, who is leading a fact finding team of writers, intellectuals, university teachers and human rights activists, said the situation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts is alarming.

He further said eviction of the Jumma people from their ancestral lands were taking place making the situation worse.

After two days in Khagrachari, the team members drove to Rangamati and held separate talks with public representatives, intellectuals and civil society members including Regional Council chairman Santu Larma yesterday. Earlier they also had discussions with the Deputy Commissioner of Rangamati, Md. Nurul Amin.

Talking to the journalists, Mr. Bhattachariya, who is also the president of Sammilito Samajik Andolon (United Social Movement), said the main purpose of their visit was to apprise themselves of the on-the-ground situation on the present status of implementation process of the CHT accord, land problem, the true picture of eviction of the Jumma people and the ongoing voter listing programme in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

“Contrary to the people’s expectation that a climate of communal harmony would prevail for a free and impartial national election, the situation remains worrying even after ten years of the signing of the CHT accord”, he commented.

He said their visit was undertaken in the backdrop of the deterioration of the situation and asserted that the situation has been compounded by the fact that the Jumma people are being continuously driven out of their ancestral lands.

Mr. Bhattachariya said they would apprise the government of their findings and hold a round table conference in Dhaka.

“If CHT becomes unstable, it creates national problems, and hence there is a need to keep the whole nation informed of the actual facts”, he added.

The team also included, among others, Dr. Rashid-e-Mahabub, ex-chairman and pro-vice chancellor of BMA, Rabindranath Tribedi, ex-secretary and human rights activists, professor Ajoy Roy, president of HRCBM, a human rights body, Kamal Lohani, renowned journalist and columnist and Abul Maksud, columnist and cultural personality.

The team members wrapped up their visit and left for Dhaka yesterday.

[This report has been prepared on the basis of a news article published in the Suprabhat Bangladesh, a Bengali daily newspaper published from Chittagong]


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