Jumma student-society should prepare for the struggle taking mass-oriented education: Ushatan Talukdar

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Hill Voice, 20 May 2024, Rangamati: A student-youth rally has been organized at the Kumar Sumit Roy Gymnasium in Rangamati by Pahari Chattara Parish (PCP) on the occasion of the 35th founding anniversary of the organization Today.

Chittagong Hill Regional Council member Madhabilata Chakma was the opener of the rally while Nipan Tripura president of the organization presided over and General Secretary of the organization Thoaikyajai Chak moderated the event. Apart from this, Vice President of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and former MP Ushatan Talukder was present as the chief guest. Eminent educationist and poet Shishir Chakma, President of Bangladesh Students Union Dipak Sheel, Samajtantrik Chatra Front President Mukta Barai, General Secretary of Parbatya Chattagram Juba Samity of Rangamati District Sumitra Chakma and President of Hill Women’s Federation(HWF) Shantidevi Tanchangya were present as special guests among others. Central Organizing Secretary of PCP Supriya Tanchangya gave a welcome speech in the rally.

Addressing as the chief guest at the rally, Ushatan Talukdar said at the gathering that without our knowledge, talent and education it is not possible to win this unequal fight. So, the students, friends of ours should focus on gaining more knowledge. We must jump into the movement with the light of knowledge. We have to move forward by getting proper and mass-oriented education with importance of time. We have to learn to fight, to develop leadership.

This former MP also said that, there is a lot of frustration among us now. For example, there is a conspiracy to declare the CHT Regulation 1900 as a dead law. On the other hand, when the village is dark and the cricket is buzzing, the common hill people are in fear of being arrested. The ordinary people feel helpless. Remember, you are not alone. Countless oppressed people, progressive individuals and organizations of this country are with us. Our movement is not anti-state. We are being oppressed. Therefore, these have been conveyed to the high ups of the government through the activities and movement of the PCJSS against this oppression. If we are not heard, this student body must prepare and fight. The party will lead and the people will conduct the movement.

Adding that, the former guerilla leader Ushatan Talukdar said, those who are policy makers and lead the state, should realize that, building a complex on Bailey Road and implementing the CHT Accord are not the same. The government keeps saying – we have done a lots. Even they lie in the United Nations. Our people trusted Sheikh Hasina and made the CHT Accord without a third party. But now they are lying against us. You must drop the pride of your ethnicity from your shoulders. As a great nation, you must be big-hearted because you too were oppressed. Implementing the CHT Accord, free the common people from insecurity, uncertainty, fear, and anxiety.

In the opening speech, Madhabilata Chakma said, we have to move on the path shown by MN Larma. There has no alternative but simultaneous movement under the leadership of hills. After signing the Accord, our responsibility is not finished. Due to the non-implementation of the Accord, peace has not returned to the hills. Student-youth-society should move forward by avoiding self-centeredness, opportunism and vacillation.

Shishir Chakma said, 35 years of PCP’s struggle proves that they are the vanguard of Jumma people’s rights. The road ahead is not smooth, the student society has to move forward by resisting all the obstacles that are being plotted in the CHT. Bangladesh cannot remain calm if the CHT is in turmoil. History does not forgive anyone, the indigenous people want to live with their traditions and dignity.

In the speech of the special guest, Sumitra Chakma said, PCP was born on May 20, 1989 by shaking the roads of Dhaka while protesting the Longadu massacre, when massacres were taking place in the hills one after another. The PCP is continuing its uncompromising struggle. PCP has always been at the forefront of any movement in the hills since the establishment of it. Even after 26 years of the CHT Accord, the government has not implemented the Accord fully, rather is conspiring to wipe out the hill people in the name of development. Rights are not given to anyone, they have to be taken away by struggle.

In the rally, Mukta Barai said that, the Education Act of 2021 is a factory for making craftsmen. In other cases, even if the budget increases, there is no increase in the education budget. Primary education is a basic human right but 22,000 villages still have no primary school. Today’s government has failed to provide education in mother tongue in many areas. The government is repeatedly hesitating to implement the CHT Acord. She demanded the proper implementation of the CHT Accord along with the formulation of a secular science education curriculum.

Shantidevi Tanchangya said, We don’t want to hear about deprivation anymore but to protest. We have to ask ourselves whether we want to live after death or die while living. Today we have no ground under our feet, conspiracy is being made to remove the historic CHT regulation of 1900. The symbol of Jumma people’s right to dream, the CHT Accord is being ignored, various conspiracies are being made. We want to say to the ruling class that, the Jumma people do not want war, they want peace, if the government want the war, the Jumma people will not sit down idly.

Deepak Sheel said, is the CHT out of the map of Bangladesh? Why the CHT will be ruled by army even after 50 years of independence. A drama has been staged in the name of implementing the CHT Accord, otherwise it would be implemented within 26 years of its signing. The current government has established a fascist system in the name of so-called democracy. All should unite to build a non-communal Bangladesh of the ideals of the liberation war where equal rights of all ethnics will be established.

In the president’s speech, Nipon Tripura said that, the movement that PCP has been doing since its establishment, the PCP has not been battle-weary at all. Many heroes were martyred in the 35-year journey, their blood cannot go in vain. The govt must stop the suppression and oppression in the name of terrorism. To solve the CHT problem, the CHT Accord must be implemented properly and fully. The movement of PCP will continue until the demands are met. He also called upon the student and youth society to participate more in the larger movement to implementing the CHT Accord.

The PCP in its 35 years of glorious journey has given the following call in the strong voice of student-youth of the CHT.

1. Join the banner of the PCP to resist all conspiracy against Jumma interest and anti-Accord.
2. Focus on practicing, promoting and expanding own culture and boycot drugs, anti-cultural practices, and various organizations and institutions created by the ruling group.
3. Focus on finding and protecting the roots as taught by the great leader Manabendra Narayan Larma based on the principle of ‘Educate, go back to the village’.
4. Remove self-centeredness, opportunism and vacillation and become more involved in the larger movement to implement the CHT Accord.

Besides, the organization has made the following demands to the government:

1. To immediately implement the CHT Accord, stop anti-Jumma interest, anti-Accord and destructive activities against the Jummas.
2. Give up the policy of ‘divide and rule’ and come forward to protect the national interests of the people.
3. Withdraw all temporary army camps in accordance with the CHT Accord. Stop creating and supporting the anti-Accord cliques by army and intelligence in the CHT.
4. Reinstate 5% quota for indigenous people in Class I and II government jobs.
5. Ensure the safety of the general people in the CHT including the common Bawm citizens in Bandarban.
6. Stop the jumma destruction tourism project and land grabbing in the CHT in the name of tourism, and immediately implement the CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission to solve the CHT land issues.
7. Ensure holidays in all educational institutions of the country on the festival of indigenous people.