Hill Voice, 20 March 2023, Rangpur: The speakers at the divisional solidarity gathering held in Rangpur demanding the implementation of the CHT Accord and calling for a greater collective movement for the implementation of the Accord said that the government entered into the CHT Accord, but did not come forward to implement the Accord. Even after 25 years, the Accord has not been implemented. So, we have to force the government to implement the CHT Accord through struggle. Along with this, the indigenous peoples of the hills and the plains should be given constitutional recognition. This is our fight for the rights.
Today (March 20, 2023) at 4 pm in the town hall of Rangpur city, on the occasion of 25 years of CHT Accord, the solidarity gathering was organized under the initiative of ‘CHT Accord Implementation Movement’. At the end of the gathering, a large mass procession was taken out from the premises of Shaheed Minar adjacent to the Town Hall and the procession paraded the main roads of the city. Apart from this, before the start of the procession, various organizations took out separate processions and gathered at the foot of Rangpur Central Shaheed Minar.
Prominent educationist Professor Mozahar Ali inaugurated the solidarity gathering at 4 pm. Presided over by him, the gathering was moderated by JSD Rangpur Metropolitan Committee President Gautam Roy. Among others, joint coordinator of CHT Accord Implementation Movement Zakir Hossain, Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal’s Central Committee General Secretary Bajlul Rashid Feroz, Bangladesh JSD Central Committee General Secretary and former member of Parliament Nazmul Haque Pradhan, Dhaka University Professor Zobaida Nasrin, Communist Party of Bangladesh Presidium member Shaheen Rahman, Bangladesh Workers Party Politburo member Nazrul Islam Haqqani, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad President Rabindranath Saren, ALRD Executive Director Shamsul Huda and others spoke in the event.
Besides, the representatives of various students and youth organizations including progressive personalities of Rangpur, teachers, lawyers, political activists, human rights activists, civil society participated in the program.
Speakers at the gathering also said that even after 25 years of the CHT Accord, the key subjects of the Accord have not yet been implemented. Still, the rule and exploitation of the hill communities of the Chittagong Hill Tracts continues in a colonial manner.
In the gathering, 5-point demands including the full implementation of the CHT Accord were highlighted for the Chittagong Hill Tracts and 2-point demands for the indigenous peoples of the plains.
The demands for Chittagong Hill Tracts are as follows:
1. For the implementation of the CHT Accord, a roadmap-based action plan has to be formulated and the Accord has to be implemented immediately and properly.
2. Military dominance and de facto military rule in the hills have to be ended.
3. The Regional Council and the three Hill District Councils have to be empowered for making representative and democratic and to ensuring local governance as per the CHT Accord.
4. For a permanent solution to the CHT land problem, the CHT Land Disputes Settlement Commission has to be effective and has to be ensured the land rights of the IDPs and returnee Jumma refugees through proper rehabilitation.
5. The participation of the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts has to be ensured in the mainstream economic progress and sustainable development of the country.
Demands for Plains indigenous peoples:
1. Special steps has to be taken for reserve special seats for the indigenous people of plains in all levels of local government including Union Parishad and for improving the quality of their livelihood.
2. A separate land commission has to be constituted for the indigenous peoples of the plains.
It is to be noted that this is the second divisional gathering organized by the initiative of ‘CHT Accord Implementation Movement’ demanding the full implementation of the CHT Accord. Earlier, on January 31, 2023, the first divisional gathering was held in Chittagong under the initiative of this platform. Before that, the national level was held in Dhaka on 20 december 2022.