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CHT Journal Desk: I have no faith any more in the current government that it would implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) accord completely. The jumma people are going through a suffocating situation and passing their days under severe insecurity as the deal has not executed entirely over the past nineteen years.

Oppression, torture and exploitation are going on against the ethnic minority people in hills by the state machineries. Houses of our people are being burnt by the Bengali settlers in presence of sate forces, rendering our jumma people homeless.

Chairman of CHT Regional Council Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma was addressing a two-day-long conference of CHT Headmen Network as the chief guest on Sunday.

CHT Headmen Network organised the programme held at the auditorium of Rangamati Small Ethnic Cultural Institute in the town on Sunday.

Referring Kaptai hydroelectric power dam, the former guerrilla leader further said the Kaptai dam nothing but a death-trap for the jumma people which was constructed by the then Pakistan government as part of a conspiracy to make the CHT as a Muslim dominated region from jumma prone areas.

During Pakistan period, the conspiracy was started to make us minority to minority. So that infiltration by the plain land Bengali people is still going on in hilly areas, lamented Larma.

Stressing the need for ensuring women representation in the society, Santu said we cannot imagine any development in the society without involvement of womenfolk. We have to ensure women representation in every process. He urged the jumma women to be defendant, combative and they must have struggling spirits to establish their rights.

He called upon traditional leaders—headmen (mouza chief) and karbaries (village chief) to be united and join in the movement for fully execution of the accord.

Chief of Chakma Circle Raja barrister Devashis Roy inaugurated the conference while vice president of CHT Headmen Network Shaktipada Tripura in the chair at the opening session.

Shanti Bijoy Chakma, its general secretary, addressed the welcome speech.

Referring Longadu arson attack, Raja Devashis said there was no instance of attacking and setting fire in the houses of Bengali people by the ethnic people after the signing of the CHT accord on December 2 in 1997. But we see many ethnic minority villages were burnt down by the Bengali settlers after the accord, but why its ‘occurring’, he questioned.

Feeling doubt about the role of security forces and law and enforcers during the Longadu arson, Devashis said the security forces performed as unskilled one and they are lack of wisdom during arson attack.

Security forces could not belong to any particular community. They are for all as the state’s forces and their role must be neutral, said Raja.

Underlining the need for empowerment of traditional leaders—headmen and karbaries Devashis further said sometimes the administration put pressure on our headmen about settlement related tasks and even they compelled by the administration to provide land settlement for any purpose. They must be cautious for such a case. He urged the ethnic people to uphold tradition and customs and their own originality and distinction.

They recommended for recruitment of more women headmen and karbaries in three circles—Chakma Circle, Moung Circle and Bomang Circle.

Some 375 headmen, over 400 male and 362 female karbaries are under the three circles joint in the conference.

In the conference, the headmen and karbaries put demands to the government for introducing monthly allowance for newly recruited women karbaries, appointment of assistant female headmen and recruitment staffs in all headmen’s offices in Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari.

Jhuma Dewan, team leader, UNDP-CHTDF and Moni Chakma, chairman of Barkal upazila parishad, were also spoke among others.

The headmen conference will conclude on today (Monday). (chtj-desk/report).

source: chtjournal.com


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