Hill Voice, 31 July 2023, Rangamati: The 11th National Conference of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) was held on 28-29 July 2023 at Rangamati Cultural Institute Auditorium for two days with the slogan ‘Join the greater movement to implement the Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) Accord’. The conference was attended by more than 450 representatives and observers from district, thana and union branches of PCJSS and its affiliated organizations – Parbatya Chattagram Mahila Samiti, Pahari Chatra Parishad, Hill Women’s Federation, Parbatya Chattagram Juba Samiti, Pahari Sramik Kalyan Forum and Girisur Shilpi Gosthi.
Election of the 12th Central Committee of PCJSS with 35 members was held at the National Conference. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma was elected as President, Ushatan Talukder as Vice President, Pranati Bikash Chakma as General Secretary and Shaktipada Tripura as Organizing Secretary.
In the conference, an overall report was presented by the outgoing central committee and there was also a discussion on the overall situation of the CHT, the current status of the Jumma people’s movement for the right to self-determination including the movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord, activities contrary to the CHT Accord and against Jumma interests, the organizational status of the party, and the future course of action of the party. The delegates in the conference expressed extreme anger and deep concern that even after the government that signed the CHT Accord came back to power, the core issues of the CHT Accord have not been properly implemented and thus the overall situation of the CHT is deteriorating day by day. On the one hand, the government continues to procrastinate in the implementation of the core issues of the CHT Accord, on the other hand, it continues to take programs that are anti-Accord and anti-interests of Jumma people on the plea of implementing the agreement. The main goal of which is to ethnically eradicate the Jumma people and to turn the non-Muslim CHT into a Muslim-dominated area, the delegates of the conference said.
The representatives in the conference also said that the government is labelling the Jumma people including the PCJSS who engaged in the movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord as ‘terrorists’, ‘separatists’, ‘armed miscreants’, ‘extortionists’ etc. to legitimize the policy of militarization. At the same time, armed terrorist groups have been created one after the other with opportunists, henchmen and unruly people from among the Jummas and have been pitting them against the movement for the implementation of the Accord. As a part of that, identifying the rights activists and people engaged in the movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord, including the members of the PCJSS, with well-planning as terrorists, illegal arrest of them, extra-judicial killings, arrest of them planting arms, sending to jail on false charges, house searches without warrants, and destruction of household items, beatings, harassment, etc. fascist activities are intensified. At present, many leaders and activists at various levels including the central committee are being forced to leave their homes and areas and live in fugitive conditions due to false cases or at the risk of extra-judicial killing entangling with false case.
On the one hand, a special group of the government are creating a frightening atmosphere in the area by nurturing and supporting these armed terrorist groups, on the other hand, they are repressing the people including the PCJSS members in the name of suppressing terrorism, and they are putting the responsibility of the terrorist activities on the PCJSS. On the other hand, Bengali settlers, organizing them into a communal organization called Parbatya Chattagram Nagorik Parishad, are being instigated in anti-CHT Accord activities, land grabbing, violence against women, infiltration of outsiders including Rohingyas and inclusion of then in voter list, communal attacks etc. Apart from this, the recruitment process of non-residents is going on in different government offices and institutions in CHT. Due to these reasons the Jumma people are forced to live an insecure and uncertain life. The delegates at the conference expressed their determination to participate in the greater movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord.
After the discussions of the delegates in the conference, the following proposals were unanimously accepted in the context of the prevailing situation;
1. To strengthen the movement for the implementation of CHT Accord.
2. To undertake the necessary steps for the election of the three Hill District Councils and the CHT Regional Council.
3. To take measures to prepare voter list with permanent residents of CHT.
4. To take necessary steps including keeping the government in constant pressure for the formulation of the Rules of the CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act.
5. Proper rehabilitation of returnee Jumma refugees and Internally Jumma displaced persons by returning their respective land.
6. To take the initiative to withdraw all the temporary camps of Army, Ansar, APBn and VDP in accordance with the Accord by cancelling de facto military rule called ‘Operation Uttaran’ and cancel the decision to set up APBn camps in the area withdrawn camp in violation of the Accord.
7. To transfer the matters including land and land management, law and order and police (local), forest and environment to the Hill District Councils.
8. To take necessary steps to form local police forces in three hill districts.
9. To take permanent rehabilitation measures by providing land settlement to the landless by formulating land management regulations.
10. To take necessary measures to appoint permanent residents of hill districts on the basis of priority of Jumma people to all levels of officers and employees of all government, semi-government, private, autonomous and council institutions of CHT.
11. To take necessary steps to reserve more quotas for Jumma students in various educational institutions and to restore abolished tribal quotas in BCS cadre recruitment.
12. To undertake the necessary revision of the laws applicable in CHT with the aim of conforming to the three Hill District Councils and Regional Council Act.
13. To take necessary measures to repeal the CHT Land Acquisition Act of 1958.
14. To participate in democratic, progressive and non-communal movements of the country.
15. To be more involved in the movement to prevent ultra communalism and militant activities in the country.
16. To be more involved in the struggle for the rights of indigenous and working people around the world, including the establishment of the fundamental rights of the indigenous peoples and minority people of the country.
17. To take effective action against the process of acquisition and occupation of recorded and traditional land of permanent residents including Jum lands in the name of expansion of camps, illegal establishment of eco-parks and tourist centers, declaration of protected forest areas, settlement of outsiders etc.
18. To take necessary measures to withdraw the decisions racist, communal and against CHT Accord taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs on January 7, 2015.
The above information was publicized in a press release signed by assistant secretary of Information and Publicity Department of PCJSS Sajib Chakma signed on 30th July 2023.