PCJSS always strives for a political solution to the CHT problem: Rashed Khan Menon

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Hill Voice, 15 February 2023, Dhaka: The Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) has always sought a political solution to the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) problem. It is not correct to point the finger at PCJSS blaming it for the problem in the hills. This is also an injustice to PCJSS.

President of Workers Party of Bangladesh and Member of Parliament (MP) Rashed Khan Menon expressed this opinion at a discussion meeting organized at Bishwa Sahitya Kebdra in Dhaka on the occasion of the golden jubilee of PCJSS on February 15 at 3:00 pm.

The golden jubilee celebration and discussion meeting was presided over by Sadhuram Tripura, central member PCJSS and member of CHT Regional Council. Also present as discussants were writer and journalist Abu Syed Khan, General Secretary of Communist Party of Bangladesh Ruhin Hossain Prince, General Secretary of Oikya NAP Asadullah Tarek, General Secretary of Bangladesh JASAD Nazmul Haque Pradhan, joint general secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous peopels Forum Dr. Gajendranath Mahato as discussant while Dipayan Khisa, Member of Information and Publicity Department of PCJSS gave welcome speech. Jagdish Chakma, general secretary of the Dhaka metropolitan branch of the Hill Students Council, gave a solidarity speech.

Rashed Khan Menon said, those who formed this party have come of age today. PCJSS was formed for political solution of the CHT problem. The then youth of the hills organized protests against the Kaptai Dam. In continuation of that, they formed the PCJSS. This orgnization has clearly indicated that the other ethnic peoples other than Bengalis in Bangladesh were seeking recognition of national entity. And that was not through unconstitutionally. They have sought this recognition through the scope of the constitution.

He also said that PCJSS hopes to implement the CHT Accord for 25 years after the signing it. This is also their way of finding a political solution. PCJSS is a progressive political party to advance the democratic movement of the country. This senior politician demanded to recognize PCJSS as a national party.

Rashed Khan Menon said that the fight of the PCJSS is not only its struggle, it is the fight of all of us. In the context of the recent Kuki-Chin armed group, Rashed Khan Menon also said that the organization named KNF is providing training to Islamic militants sitting under the nose of the military administration and the police administration. Why suddenly RAB, military became aware of this in recent times. Then Menon asked where the source of the weapons recovered in Naikhyongchari was.

Professor of Dhaka University Dr. Mesbah Kamal said, “The PCJSS is a dedicated political organization of the democratic movement of Bangladesh. To make this country a democratic country, this organization has shown us all the things that are inconsistent with the national life and democracy. When we embarked on the process of framing the Constitution, we saw that we had taken a step in the excesses of nationalism which was sufficient to destroy the foundations of our democracy. It is said in the constitution that the people of this country are Bengalis by race. This country is not only for Bengalis but also for the people of other ethnic groups besides Bengalis. Sadly, the rule of the Bengali ruling class is not over yet. This researcher on indigenous issues also called for the declaration of PCJSS as a national political party.

Author and journalist Abu Syed Khan said that in the nationalist movement that started from the language movement, at one stage of the struggle, indigenous peoples also joined. For good reason, that struggle was a movement of Bengali nationalism. But the issues of other indigenous peoples who joined movement were not considered in the post-independence period. The Awma League was the first initiative to resolve the demands that the PCJSS was formed in the CHT. But this eminent journalist and freedom fighter expressed the opinion that the initiative for which we applauded cannot be sustained now.

Ruhin Hossain Prince, general secretary of the Communist Party said, “PCJSS is different from the conventional political parties of our country. It is undoubtedly a national political party. We more or less know the long struggle they have fought, and the crisis they are still fighting. Their struggle is a different level of struggle. It’s a big crisis, fueled by various national parties, including the state itself, to create discord among them so that they can’t stand properly. In that, I expect PCJSS to play their role in achieving the activities and goals. This fight is not only related to Jumma people, this fight is related to the progress of our country. This fight is also related to the spirit of our liberation war.

General Secretary of Oikya NAP Asadullah Tarek said that the Jumma people of today’s CHT have been fighting for hundreds of years. But in the 1972 constitution, the word indigenous peoples did not appear. The struggle for the recognition of rights of the indigenous peoples is not only the struggle of the indigenous peoples of the CHT, it is also the struggle of the indigenous peoples of the plains. They did not get that recognition too. To get that recognition, they formed the PCJSS in 1972 to save them from hundred years of exploitation and discrimination.

In the president’s speech, Sadhuram Tripura Milton said that we had to suffer a lot to take the PCJSS forward. We didn’t want war. The state imposed war on us. We fought to prevent that war. The government was compelled to enter into an Accord with us only when the military authorities got tired of the war and realized that a political solution to the CHT problem was needed. We did not fight for separatism. We made the CHT Accord by upholding the constitution of Bangladesh. I strongly demand the immediate implementation of that Accord.

It is to be noted that under the leadership of the great revolutionary leader Manabendra Narayan Larma, the PCJSS was formed in Rangamati on 15 February 1972, with the aim of establishing the right of self-determination of the Jumma peoples and establishing a progressive social system under the initiative of the rights-seeking and progressive sections of the Jumma people. After its formation, it first organized a constitutional movement demanding regional autonomy. Then in 1975 when military rule was imposed in the country, when all the ways of democratic movement were blocked, the PCJSS was compelled to enter into armed movement which was was conducted for two and a half decades. As a result of tough armed movement led by Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, the historic CHT Accord was signed with the Government of Bangladesh in 1997 for a political and peaceful solution to the hill problem. After that, the PCJSS has been continuing for two and a half decades long movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord and the establishment of the Jumma people’s right to self-determination.