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HC asks govt to justify CHT peace treaty

Staff Correspondent(Star News)

The High Court on Monday issued a rule on the government to explain in eight weeks why the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Treaty signed with the erstwhile Shanti Bahini in 1997 should not be declared devoid of lawful authority.
The High Court bench of Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Zubayer Rahman Chowdhury also ordered the authorities concerned not to debar any non-tribal Bangladeshi living in the hill tracts from registering as a voter until the writ petition is resolved.
The court passed the order after hearing a public interest litigation writ filed by a Supreme Court lawyer, Mohammad Tajul Islam, challenging the 1997 treaty that had led to disbanding of the Shanti Bahini ending its protracted bush war in demand of self-rule.
Moving the petition, Tajul argued that the CHT peace treaty questioned the very integrity and sovereignty of the state. It is also tantamount to violation of the constitution, he added.
With the issuance of rule, the CHT peace accord got challenged after a decade since it had been inked.
On December 2, 1997, the Awami League government signed the accord with Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity leader Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma alias Shantu Larma, putting an end to bloodletting bush war of more than two decades. The treaty also provided for return of refugees from camps across the border.

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