Hill Voice, 8 March 2023, Rangamati: Sadhuram Tripura Milton, member of Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council (CHTRC) and central member of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), said in a discussion meeting organized at Rangamati on the occasion of International Women’s Day and the 35th founding anniversary of Hill Women’s Federation, the current reality of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) demands that the government must be forced to implement the CHT Accord by organizing a movement by the students and youth community through fulfilling their historical responsibilities.
On March 8, 2023, at 10 am, a discussion meeting was held at Rangamati District Shilpakala Academy Auditorium under the initiative of Hill Women’s Federation (HWF) and Parbatya Chattagram Mahila Samiti (PCMS) with the call of ‘Women’s society should participate more in the greater movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord’.
Sadhuram Tripura Milton was present as the main discussant in the meeting held presided over by Moni Chakma, Central Organizing Secretary of PCMS and moderated by Shanti Devi Tanchangya, General Secretary of HWF. Eminent educationist Shishir Chakma, Advocate Chanchu Chakma, General Secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum of CHT chapter Intumoni Talukdar, Students and Youth Affairs Secretary of Rangamati District Committee of PCJSS Jewel Chakma and its Women Affairs Secretary Ashika Chakma, General Secretary of the Rangamati district committee of Parbatya Chattagram Juba Samiti Sumitra Chakma and central General Secretary of Parbatya Chattagram Pahari Chatra Parishad (PCP) Nipon Tripura et al were also present as speakers.
Sadhuram Tripura, in his speech as the main discussant, said that our women society is not backward today. Their walk is everywhere today. Today, if we fulfill our responsibilities of each as per our qualifications, if we want to improve the nation, if we want to build a beautiful human habitation through the establishment of rights and come forward to implement the CHT Accord, then we have to be united.
He said, now is the time to overcome out from all the weaknesses and failures in us. Unity among all the ethnic people of the CHT should be consolidated. If we fail to do this, we will lose our existence. This hill will no longer be ours. We will not have this life. At one time, even life was not in our hands, property was far away. To get this life for ourselves, all the peoples must unite. There can be no alternative.
Eminent teacher and writer Shishir Chakma said that although the Prime Minister of the country is a woman, the leader of the opposition party is a woman, and the speaker is a woman, the position of women at the policy-making level in our country is only 1%. 73% of women are still victims of oppression. However, we are talking about women’s empowerment, women’s rights, women’s equality. It is a trick of the middle class. We have seen that this middle class has a great contribution in the history of Bangladesh. On the other hand, a selfish thought of this middle class is prevailing, that is authoritarianism. I see in the hill region that this selfish thinking prevails among us to an excessive extent. Why we do not see it, there has been an armed struggle to reach the CHT Accord today. Many people have suffered in this armed struggle. Many people sacrificed their lives. Many have lost their parents, siblings, friends in this struggle. They must have a share in getting something. What is that share? They made the CHT Accord. This Accord is not only for the PCJSS, this Accord is for the entire Jumma people.
He also said that the CHT Accord is a document gained in exchange for blood. This document cannot be denied. Today many cannot stay at home while working for implementation of the Accord. They are currently unable to return to normal life. The movement for the implementation of the Accord is not the sole responsibility of the PCJSS, we must also join. But we cannot get out of the circle of self-interest. We have to get out of there. If the CHT Accord is not fully implemented, women’s dignity and rights will not be established.
Jewel Chakma, student and youth affairs secretary of the Rangamati district committee of PCJSS said, the state needs to change the communal view in dealing the indigenous women as well as the entire Jumma people. We believed that through implementation of the CHT Accord, the government would give the rights to the Jumma people and ensure the safety and security of the women here. The discrimination against them will end. But today even though 25 years of the CHT Accord have passed, the government is not implementing the Accord properly. As a result, the rights of Jumma women and their safety were not ensured. Hacking to death a Jumma woman in front of her office a couple of days ago and the rape of a Marma woman in Bandarban on International Women’s Day is proof of that. Jumma women must come forward to implement the CHT Accord.
Advocate Chanchu Chakma said that the CHT Accord was signed on December 2, 1997, in compliance with the Constitution of Bangladesh. So if you talk about the CHT Accord and talk about the rights of the CHT people, it will be treasonous, it cannot be. He called on the government to pull Jumma people closer. The Jumma people who live in the CHT today will never be unfaithful to this state.
It is to be noted that a rally was also brought out before the start of the discussion meeting. The rally went around Banarupa Petrol Pump from District Shilpakala Academy premises and ended at there again. Jyotiprabha Larma, central member of PCMS, inaugurated the rally.