On January 31, a mass rally was held in Chittagong. After that, the platform called Chittagong Hill Tracts Implementation Movement held solidarity rallies and mass marches in Rangpur, Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions along with the capital Dhaka.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Agreement was signed on December 2, 1997. At the end of more than two centuries of armed conflict, the historic ‘Chittagong Hill Tract’ was signed between the Chittagong Hill Tracts Association and the Jumma people of Chittagong Hill Tracts.
The age of contract is on the brink of 26 after 25 years. The reality is that almost 25 years after the signing of the Hill Accord, the fundamentals of the agreement have not yet been implemented and the task of preserving and developing the unique characteristics of the Chittagong Hill Tracts as an indigenous region remains incomplete. As a result, the military-civilian rule and exploitation of the hill people continues in the colonial manner in the mountainous region.
In this situation, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Agreement on December 2, a platform called ‘Chittagong Hill Tract Implementation Movement’ was built to implement the historical ‘Chittagong Hill Tract’ with the joint efforts of various political, social and human rights organizations. This platform has been able to give a new dimension to the struggle to implement the agreement. For a long time, the Chittagong Hill Tracts Agreement was only a matter for the people of Jhum Hills. So only Jumia people will fight to implement the agreement. People from other parts of the country will show solidarity by going to the processions and gatherings of the hill organizations. This is what we have been witnessing for a long time.
The platform called Chittagong Hill Tracts Implementation Movement came out of that conventional shell and added a new dimension to spread the struggle of Chittagong Hill Tracts across the country with the support of progressive forces. The two joint coordinators of the platform are human rights activist Zakir Hossain and Professor Dr. Khairul Chowdhury informs that they have completed solidarity rally and mass march in Chittagong, Rangpur, Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions along with the capital Dhaka. According to the source of the platform, various social and human rights organizations along with the progressive political parties of the country and their mass organizations spontaneously participated in each rally by marching under their respective banners. In addition, the two coordinators of the movement for the implementation of the Mountain Agreement said that various programs such as exchange of views with various professionals, gatherings of progressive students and youth, etc. have been completed under the initiative of the platform.
Recently the ‘Chittagong Hill Tracts Implementation Movement’ has issued an open letter to the political parties of the country to play an active role in the implementation of the Pacts. The country’s media, including bdnews2018.com, published the news of this letter very seriously. The open letter called upon the political parties to play a more active role in the implementation of the 7 points raised by the Chittagong Hill Tracts Implementation Movement.
Their 7 points are: a) Speedy and proper implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tract Agreement by formulating a time-based action plan; b) permanent end to military authority and indirect military rule in the hills; c) To properly empower the Regional Councils and the three Hill District Councils in accordance with the Hill Accords to ensure representative democratization and local governance; d) Ensuring the land rights of internally displaced persons and returning Jumma refugees from India by implementing the Hill Land Dispute Settlement Commission for a permanent solution to the hill land problem; e) Ensuring the participation of the indigenous people of Chittagong Hill Tracts in mainstream economic progress and sustainable development programs of the country; f) Taking special steps to reserve special seats for tribals of the plains in all levels of local government including Union Parishad and improve the quality of life of the tribal people and g) Establishing a separate land commission for the tribals of the plains.
The open letter addressed to the country’s political parties said, “Continuously keeping one-tenth of the country’s territory under colonial rule is contrary to the basic spirit of our beloved country, equality, human dignity and social justice achieved through the liberation war. In such a situation, the role of politicians is paramount to understand the problem of Chittagong Hill Tracts deeply and stand up for the justice of the Jumma tribal people there to ensure a peaceful solution to the problem.
“Politicians have shown the way to the society, led the people based on principles and moved the country forward. We hope that the political leaders of the country will take necessary steps from their respective parties and positions to put pressure on the government and the concerned parties for the full and proper implementation of the ‘Chittagong Hill Tracts’ which was signed in 1997 as a way to solve the Chittagong Hill Tracts problem in a peaceful and political way. .”
Finally, in the open letter, 4 points were called to the political parties. The 4 point calls of the platform are, 1. To announce a specific program in the light of the 7-point demands raised by all democratic political parties in favor of the movement for the implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Agreement; 2. For every political party to seriously include the seven (7) point demands raised by the movement for the implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Agreement in the party’s election manifesto for the 2024 national elections; 3. Creating a spokesperson and organizationally editorial position on the affairs of tribal people including Chittagong Hill Tracts in political parties and their affiliates; 4. Providing party nominations to tribals at all levels of local government councils including national parliament.
In the current context of the country and on the eve of crossing 25 years of the signing of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Agreement, this open letter surely carries special importance. The leaders of the agreement implementation movement platform said that the open letter has already been sent to the party offices of the ruling party Awami League, the main opposition party BNP, the opposition party of the parliament including the Jatiya Party and the left progressive political parties and other registered parties. The Movement for the Implementation of the Agreement has issued a call with specific points through an open letter to the political parties of the country.
Political party policy makers will take these issues into consideration? We hope the political parties and leaders of our country will take the open letter seriously. In the light of the open letter, political parties should take a more active role and effective initiatives to implement the agreement. The Chittagong Hill Tracts Implementation Movement has continued efforts to make the people of the country more aware and active in favor of the Pacts. The problem of Chittagong Hill Tracts is the problem of the whole country. If the Chittagong Hill Tract Agreement is not implemented, the hill problem will not be solved – this is a constant fact. If there is a small wound in any part of the body, the wound is felt in the whole body. Similarly, keeping the Chittagong Hill Tracts problem alive, if the agreement is not implemented, it will not be considered good for the entire country.
The implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts is necessary for the overall interest of the country. Those associated with the Chittagong Hill Tracts Agreement Implementation Movement platform have been able to realize that the rights of the people of Jum Hill and the rights of the people of other parts of the country are tied together by the same thread. Therefore, they are carrying out a nationwide program to implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Agreement. Let the agreement be implemented as soon as possible. This demand is now not only of the residents of the hill town, but this demand of the entire country. Chittagong Hill Tracts Implementation Movement is continuing to unite the whole nation with the struggle of Jum Pahar. Let the wave of the movement of Jum Pahar spread throughout the country through the movement to implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Agreement. Let the vast masses of the plains join in the struggle to implement the agreement beyond the borders of the mountains.