CHT Citizen Committee condemns strike called by army-backed settler’s org


Hill Voice, 6 September 2022, Rangamati: The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Citizens Committee has condemned the 32-hour strike program called by the army and rulying party-backed Parbatya Chattagram Nagorik Parishad (PCNP) demanding the cancellation of the meeting of the CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission.

Goutam Dewan, president of CHT Citizens Committee, made this condemn in a the press statement sent by organization on Tuesday (September 6).

In a press statement, Gautam Dewan said, “The CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission is a government organization, headed by a retired judge of the Bangladesh Supreme Court, formed to settle the land disputes of the CHT. Even after almost two decades of its creation, the Commission could not achieve even its minimum goals due to various reasons. One of the reasons for this is the constant obstruction of the activities of the Commission by some chauvinistic and Jumma-hating Bengali settlers’ organizations of the CHT, which is highly condemnable.”

He also said, “We strongly condemn the strike called by the PCNP and its 7-point demand for the purpose of obstructing the meeting of the Commission to be held on September 7 in Rangamati after two and a half years.”

Note that on September 5, 2022 the PCNP called a hartal for 32 hours in a press conference at Rangamati putting 7-point demands including resisting the CHT Land Commission meeting to be held on September 7 from September 6 (Tuesday) 6:00 am to September 7 (Wednesday) 2:00 pm in Rangamati.

Then today (September 6) a letter signed by the Secretary of the CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission Mohammad Nezam Uddin informed about the decision to postpone the meeting of the Land Commission on that date. Later in the afternoon the PCNP also announced the withdrawal of their strike from 3:00 pm.

Support of Law and Order Forces to the Strikes of Settlers:

Although Section 144 was issued against BNP’s public meeting, the unprecedented cooperation and presence of law and order forces was observed in the strike called by the settlers’ communal organization PCNP.

The district administration continues to issue section 144 in one upazila headquarters of Rangamati district in order to foil the public meeting wherever BNP has announced to hold the event. But the presence of law and order forces and members of various intelligence agencies to provide security during the strike of the PCNP called for the communal purpose of foiling the pre-scheduled government meeting of the CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission was widely observed.

Due to the direct patronage and support of the Army, DGFI, ruling Awami League and administration to the PCNP, no effective action was taken against the strike called against a government program of the Land Commission. Rather, it is said that direct and indirect support is provided from the state machinery.

It should be noted that although the current Awami League government led by Sheikh Hasina is active against the war criminals Jamaat Islam and Islami Chhatra Shibir and BNP led by Khaleda Zia at the national level, the leaders and workers of Awami League in the CHT are seen to working actively with the leaders and workers of those organizations.

In December 2019, the PCNP as a single organization was formed with the help of the army and DGFI by abolishing the ruling class-backed some of the ultra-nationalist and ultra-communal organizations of the Bengali Muslim settlers, such as, Parbatya Gono Parishad, Parbatya Bengali Chhatra Parishad, Bengali Chhatra Oikya Parishad, and Parbatya Chattagram Sama Adhikar Andolon, etc.

Basically, the army and DGFI have been patronizing and supporting the Bengali Muslim settlers and fundamentalist groups to engage them against the implementation of the CHT Accord and against the self-determination movement of the Jumma people and to deploy them in land encroachment, communal attacks on Jumma people and burning of their houses, expansion of the settlers’ cluster villages.

As part of that, with its formation in December 2019, the PCNP made road blockade against the CHT Land Commission meeting convened on 23 December 2019. Then on 3 February 2020, these fundamentalist and communal groups also surrounded the meeting of the Land Commission. At that time, it was witnessed that law and order, security forces and intelligence forces supported and supported the protestors of the PCNP in various ways rather to resist them.

PCNP formed consisting of Awami League, BNP, Jamaat-Shibir, Jatiya Party:

The field investigation has revealed that most of the leaders and workers of PCNP Bandarban district are associated with BNP, Jamaat Islam and Chhatra Shibir politics. Bandarban District Organizing Secretary of Islami Chhatra Shibir Md. Mizanur Rahman Akhand is now the leader of the PCNP.

As an example, it can be mentioned that Kazi Mojibur Rahman, President of PCNP Bandarban District Committee, was former general secretary of Bandarban District Awami League and former member of Hill District Council while Md. Abul Kalam, President of Alikdam Upazila Branch of PCNP, is the President of Alikdam Upazila Branch of BNP and Chairman of Alikdam Upazila Parishad.

Md Nazim Al Hasan, Rangamati district president of Parbatta Chattagram Chatra Parishad which is a student wing of PCNP was involved with the activities of Islami Chatra Shibir. Most of the leaders of the Parbatya Chattagram Chatra Parishad are associated with the Islami Chatra Shibir. Under the banner of this Chatra Parishad, they secretly continue the activities for the Shibir.

Pervez Ahmed, Joint Publicity Secretary of Khagrachari District Committee of PCNP, is known to be involved in the Shibir politics. Apart from this, Md. Ibrahim Khalil, joint general secretary of Khagrachari District Committee of PCNP, and joint general secretary Rabiul Hossain are also known to be involved in Jamaat politics.