‘Inclusion of CHT in Pakistan during partition a big mistake’: Speakers at Black Day discussion

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Hill Voice, 17 August 2020, Agartala: The inclusion of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Pakistan during the partition in 1947 was a big mistake. Today, we have no choice but to unite. The views were expressed by the speakers at a virtual discussion meeting organized by the Chakma community of India on the occasion of Black Day of 17th August.

A press release issued by Uday Jyoti Chakma, General Secretary of Tripura State Committee of the CNCI, today said that like every year, this year too, 17th August has been observed as ‘Black Day’ at the initiative of the Chakma people living in different states of India. However, due to the ongoing deadly COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, it has not been possible to hold formal processions and rallies this year, so a virtual discussion meeting has been held instead.

Today, 17 August 2020, Monday, at 9:00 AM Indian time, this online exchange of views on ‘Partition and its Impact on the Indigenous Chakma Community’, organized by the Indian Chakma community, was attended by experts from different states of India as well as experts from around the world. The virtual discussion was broadcast live from the Facebook page of the Tripura state-based NGO Dhuduk Agartala.

Among others, prominent social and cultural personalities from Tripura state and Hill Voice editor Niranjan Chakma and Pradhir Talukder, President of Chakma National Council of India Mizoram State Committee and Chief Executive Member of Chakma Autonomous District Council Rosik Mohan Chakma and Professor of Kamlanagar College Jyotirmoy Chakma from Mizoram state, Mahendra Chakma from Arunachal Pradesh (now Bangalore), Alexander Chakma from Assam and Dr. Aditya Kumar Dewan and Pritibindu Chakma from Canada, Kabita Chakma and Kulottam Chakma from Australia et al attended the event.

During the discussion, the speakers termed what was done in the Chittagong Hill Tracts during the partition of the country in 1947 as a ‘great mistake’. The Jumma people, including the Chakmas of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, have become a ‘parakabalya’ (burnt forehead), marginal and environmental refugee community, as the partition policy has gone against the two-nation theory and violated the Indian Independence Act to include 98% non-Muslim Chittagong Hill Tracts in Muslim-dominated Pakistan.

The speakers said that if the CHT had not been included in Pakistan during the partition, the Chakmas in particular would not have been forced to scatter in different parts of India and Burma. As a result of injustice during the partition, they have faced a very bad situation not only politically but also economically, socially and culturally. Their history and tradition have also been damaged.

The speakers said that if we were to be included in India on the basis of the correct policy of partition, we, the people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, like others, would get a state.

The speakers further said that the Jumma people, including the Chakmas of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, are being forced to go through a lot of hardships today due to the injustice done to the Chittagong Hill Tracts during the partition. They don’t have security now. And there is now free conversion to Islam, including land occupations; which is very disturbing and frightening.

The speakers said it was not possible to guarantee rights other than political rights. So, we need to ensure our political rights.

The speakers said we must continue to be vocal and move forward creatively. We must move forward with this dream that our rights will be established. We have no way to survive without unity and united struggle.

It may be recalled that the Chakma people living in the Indian states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura in north-eastern India have been observing Black Day on August 17 every year in protest of the unjust annexation of 98.50 per cent non-Muslim Chittagong Hill Tracts to the Islamic State of Pakistan during the partition of the country in 1947. The decision was taken at the first annual national conference of the Chakma National Council of India (CNCI) held at Guwahati in Assam on 24-25 March 2016.

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