Hill Voice, 19 February 2022, Rangamati: A human chain has been organized at the initiative of Rangamati Government College Branch of Parbatya Chattagram Pahari Chatra Parishad (Hill Students’ Council) to demand full implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord and introduction of primary education in indigenous mother tongues by ensuring necessary educational materials.
The human chain was held at Rangamati Government College Gate premises on Saturday (February 19) at 9:00 am.
Presided over by President of Rangamati Government College branch of the PCP, Suman Chakma, and facilitated by General Secretary Ananta Chakma, the human chain was addressed by PCP Central President Sumon Marma, Assistant Organizing Secretary of Rangamati district committee of Parbatyya Chattagram Juba Samiti Sagar Tripura (Nantu), General Secretary of Hill Women’s Federation Shantidevi Tanchangya. Vice President of PCP Rangamati district Ziko Chakma, 1st year student of philosophy department of Rangamati Government College Sonarita Chakma. Welcoming remarks were made by Suniti Bikash Chakma, Organizing Secretary of the College Committee. About one and a half hundred students from different educational institutions participated in the human chain.
Sumon Marma, PCP’s central president at Manobbandhan, said that “Language is a fundamental human right.” Those who have sacrificed their lives in the Bayanno language movement and defended their mother tongue are today ignoring the mother tongue of the indigenous peoples of the independent country. Indigenous peoples are not able to preserve their language and get education in their mother tongue till primary stage. In the National Education Policy formulated in 2010, the mother tongue of the indigenous peoples will be introduced in the primary and pre-primary education, but in reality none of it is reflected.
He further said that implementation of the CHT Accord is the only solution to the crisis of peace, development and education in the CHT. But without implementing it, the right is being taken away. Today the education system in the CHT is dilapidated. The government has tried to cover the fragile education system of the CHT by setting up a university of science and technology and a medical college without any discussion with the CHT Regional Council. He demanded full and proper implementation of the CHT Agreement to solve all the problems in the CHT and to introduce education system in the mother tongue of all the indigenous peoples up to primary level.
In her speech, Shantidevi Tanchangya said, “We feel comfortable speaking in our mother tongue.” Language carries the identity of the existence of a nation. Ekushey’s spirit is to respect all languages. But when we wander around the city, the Bengalis make insulting of our language in various ways. He demanded that adequate teachers and necessary educational materials be provided for the introduction of primary education in the mother tongue of the indigenous peoples and speedy implementation of the CHT Agreement.
Speaking on the occasion, Sagar Tripura (Nantu) said the basic provisions of the CHT Agreement, signed on December 2, 1997, had not been properly implemented. After signing, CHT Accord passed more than two eras which is a very important time for a nation or a generation. Though the government has been in power for many years but has not taken any appropriate action till date for the same. He further said that due to non-implementation of the CHT Accord today, due to lack of proper conservation initiatives, the indigenous peoples who speak different languages in the hills have lost their language and culture. He demanded full implementation of the CHT Accord immediately.
Ziko Chakma, vice president of the Rangamati district branch of the PCP, said the Bayanno language movement was against the cultural aggression and discrimination of the Pakistani ruling class. Today, 70 years after the glorious struggle of Bayanno, the month of February, in fact, the adivasis and students of this country have to stand with banners in the hot sun and beg the state to give us a chance to get at least primary education in their mother tongue. Needless to say, it’s not as frustrating as it is embarrassing. As part of the diverse culture of this country, the state must take the necessary steps to preserve the language of the indigenous peoples of this country and create the field for the practice of that language.