Govt shouldn’t forget that we are also citizens of Bangladesh: U Talukdar at student-mass gathering in Rangamati

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Hill Voice, 20 May 2023, Rangamati: In a student-mass gathering organized on the occasion of the 34th founding anniversary of Parbatya Chattagram Pahari Chatra Parishad (PCP) in Rangamati, Vice President of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti and former Member of Parliament Ushatan Talukder said, “The government should not forget that we are also citizens of Bangladesh. But the government is making various kinds of lies about the CHT Accord at the international level at present. The government says the hill people are at peace today and the 65 clauses of the Accord have been implemented. It is unfortunate that one of the signatories of the Accord, the Jana Samhati Samiti, still does not know when the government implemented 65 clauses.”

Today, May 20, 2023 AD Saturday on the occasion of PCP’s 34th founding anniversary, the said student-public gathering was held in the gymnasium premises of Rangamati town. At the beginning of the gathering, the national flag and the party flag were hoisted by performing the national anthem and party anthem by the artistes of Girisur Shilpi Gosthi. After that, Ushatan Talukdar inaugurated the program of the 34th founding anniversary of Pahari Chatra Parishad by blowing balloons.

After that, the student-public gathering was started under the chairmanship of student leader Suman Marma, president of the central committee of PCP and moderated by general secretary Nipon Tripura, with the slogan “Students-youth society, participate more in the larger movement for the implementation of CHT Accord”. Mr. Ushatan Talukder, Vice President of PCJSS and former Member of Parliament, was present as the inaugurator and chief guest. Besides, General Secretary of Bangladesh JASAD Nazmul Haque Pradhan, President of Bangladesh Chatra Maitri Atulon Dash Alo and Organizing Secretary of Hill Women’s Federation Mranuching Marma were also present as special guests in the program.

Inaugurator and Chief Guest Ushatan Talukder said, “We all know that as much as the world is changing, as much as the society is changing, there is a leading role of students and youth society. In the CHT areas too, we have seen that these students have made many sacrifices in the movement to establish the rights of the Jumma people. You have to understand the role of students and youth in this transition period of Jumma people of Chittagong Hill Tracts. The great leader MN Larma used to say, “Those who are weak in the world have to survive by constantly fighting.”

Mr. Talukdar said, “Santu Larma signed an accord with the government on behalf of the hill people by accepting the independence and sovereignty of Bangladesh. We still believe in that freedom and sovereignty to this day.”

He further said, “We are not against the government or the state. As we are not against this government, we reached the CHT Accord. Various terrorist groups are emerging with the direct support of the ruling group to suppress the movement to implement the accord. It should be remembered that those who are creating this group will suffer at the end of the day. The longstanding problem of Chittagong Hill Tracts is a political problem. So the government has to come forward to find a solution through political means. Military intervention here would further complicate the problem. The people of Chittagong Hill Tracts are constantly living in fear of their safety. Many could not attend today’s program as well, thinking that they might not be safe if they return home in the afternoon.”

He said, “Jumma people should not forget their roots, regardless of their position. All should join the united movement for the larger interest of the people. People from all parts of the country should be made aware of the significance of this CHT Accord. They have to understand that the people of the CHT are losing their land, their existence is disappearing. The only solution to this problem is the quick and proper implementation of the CHT Accord.”

Special guest Bangladesh JASAD’s General Secretary Nazmul Haque Pradhan said, “The military leadership thinks that weapons are the key to solving all problems. But their idea is not correct. We see the problem of Chittagong Hill Tracts as a big example. The regime has been trying unsuccessfully to resolve the region’s problems through military intervention for a long time. Due to the lack of tolerance, this government-state cannot tolerate the movement of an oppressed-suppressed people to establish their rights. The government is constantly indulging in conspiracies to suppress the democratic movement of the hill communities.”

He also said, “Today, the ruling group always wants to push Chittagong Hill Tracts to the path of unrest. The ruling government should consider this Chittagong Hill Tracts problem as one of the main problems of the country and create a roadmap to solve it and establish the just rights of the hill people by fully implementing the CHT Accord as soon as possible.”

Special guest Bangladesh Chatra Maitri President Atulon Dash Alo said, “25 years have passed since CHT Accord. Today we were supposed to celebrate our silver jubilee with joy. But unfortunately, even today we have to remind the government about this accord by calling for agitations and gatherings in every section of the country for the implementation of this accord. After independence we saw a conspiracy to Bengalize the indigenous peoples of the hilly areas, the new constitution did not recognize the indigenous peoples.”

He also said, “The rightful rights movement of the hill community is not only their movement but also this movement belongs to all the citizens of the country. Development and progress of the country is not possible by keeping a region deprived. Overall development is not possible if the quality of life of the CHT dwellers is not improved. The hill communities have a long history of struggle. That history must not be forgotten.”

Special guest Hill Women’s Federation Organizing Secretary Mranuching Marma said, “PCP was established in 1989 while protesting the Longadu Genocide. Since the inception of PCP, students have not remained silent in the movement for the rights of Jumma nation. Today we have no security, no right to speak. In the current situation of Chittagong Hill Tracts, people from all walks of life should be more aware of their rights. As we were not silent in the past, we will not be silent in the future. We need to understand where our rights stand today. There is no reason to fear the regime.”

PCP Central Committee Vice-President Thwaikya Jai Chak gave a welcome speech in the gathering. In his welcome speech, he said, “Today Pahari Chatra Parishad entered 34 years after many struggles in Chittagong Hill Tracts. The PCP has fought against unjust tyranny through bloody struggles for ages. This student body knows how to fight to the top of the hill.”

He also said, “even after 52 years of independence, the Jumma people of Chittagong Hill Tracts are not able to live freely. He expressed his determination to continue the struggle together with the Jana Sanhati Samiti in the movement for the self-determination of the Jumma people.

In the speech of the President, Suman Marma said, “There is nothing remaining to understand through the discussion of the speakers of today’s gathering that the current situation of Chittagong Hill Tracts is very fragile. In the present situation we have no option but drastic agitation. If the CHT Accord is not properly implemented then the Jumma people will be deprived of political, cultural, economic and social rights. Therefore, students and youth society should be ready for any movement and struggle to implement CHT Accord irrespective of caste and religion.”

He appealed to the leaders and workers of all levels of Pahari Chatra Parishad and said, “To get rid of the current suffocating situation of the Jumma people of Chittagong Hill Tracts, students and youth should unite and move forward in the struggle.”

A rally was scheduled to take place after the gathering, but it was postponed keeping in mind the suffering of a bunch of admission test takers of public universities.

The PCP raised 4-point demands from the students-public gathering organized on the occasion of the 34th founding anniversary of the PCP:

1. Declare a roadmap for the full implementation of the CHT Accord.

2. Ensure primary education of indigenous people in their respective mother tongues.

3. Introduce 5% indigenous quota in higher educational institutions and government jobs.

4. The false case filed against the leaders and workers of PCJSS and its affiliates should be withdrawn.

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