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Reconstituted CHT body goes to hills today

Reconstituted CHT body goes to hills today

Star Report

The Daily Star

Thursday, August 7, 2008 01:03 AM GMT+06:00

A delegation of the newly reconstituted Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Commission today begins a five-day visit to the three hill districts to observe the prevailing situation there and help promote human rights, democratic practices and land rights of indigenous people.

The commission was reformed a couple of months ago in Copenhagen. Britain’s Lord Eric Avebury, vice chair of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, and Sultana Kamal, former adviser of caretaker government, are now co-chairs of the 12-member commission.

Lord Avebury arrived in Dhaka yesterday.

While visiting the CHT region, the delegation will assess political as well as human rights situation in the hill districts of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari in the post-CHT peace accord era.

Members of the team including Avebury and Sultana yesterday exchanged views with journalists working on CHT issues in the capital. Avebury said CHT issue has become a very complicated one, and that the commission would talk with different stakeholders to have an outcome.

Commission members Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal and Shapan Adnan, and prof Meghna Guha Thakurata, adviser to the commission, among others, took part in the exchange of views.

Formed in 1990, the CHT commission operated till 2001 and published a report on misery of CHT people titled ‘Life is not Ours’ and updated it four times.

Our Rangamati correspondent reports: The CHT commission delegation is likely to visit Khagrachhari today, Rangamati tomorrow and Bandarban the following day.

The team members will have discussions with local political and civil society leaders, public representatives and civil and military officials separately.

In Rangamati, a view exchange meeting will be held tomorrow evening at Rajbari in the town. Leaders of indigenous and Bengalee-speaking people will be present there.

Various issues including implementation of CHT peace accord and land rights ethnic communities may come up at the meeting.

The CHT commission comprises Avebury, Sultana, Ida Ncolaisen, Lars-Anders Baer, Victoria Tauli Corpuz, Shapan Adnan, Sara Hossain, Zafar Iqbal, Kuupik Kleist, Lee Swepstone, Robert Evans and Hideaki Uemura.


One Jumma villager killed by Bengali settlers in Sajek

On 19 August 2008 a group of Bengali settlers made an attack on the house of Jadhu Mani Chakma (45) s/o Kusum Kumar Chakma of Gangaram Mukh of Sajek union under Baghaichari upazila in Rangamati district. Jadhu Mani Chakma was chopped to death in this attack.

It is learnt that on that day around 10.00 p.m. a group of Bengali settlers led by Jahar Ali s/o Asaniya Ali encircled the house of Jadhu Mani Chakma and then chopped Jadhu Mani Chakma and his wife Shanti Bala Chakma (35) in front of the house. Jadhu Mani Chakma was killed while his wife Shanti Bala Chakma got admitted at Khagrachari sadar hospital. It is also reported that during the visit of the CHT Commission, Jadhu Mohan gave valuable information about land grabbers and grabbing. Local people suspect that this is the main reason behind on his murder.

Another two culprits were identified as Md. Noor Alam s/o Julfu Mia and Md. Ali s/o Nasar Ali helped Jahar Ali.

It is mentionable that military forces undertook programme to settle down Bengali settlers along the road side of Baghaihat-Sajek road evicting indigenous Jumma villagers. Bengali settlers with the help of military forces burnt to ashes 7 Jumma villages in Sajek on 20 April to occupy Jumma villagers’ land. Very recently on 9 August, Hriday Ranjan Chakma (70) s/o Ramani Mohan Chakma was also chopped by Bengali settlers just after the visit of CHT Commission at this area.

Kapaeeng Watch

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