Date: March 10th 2016
Source: Dhaka Tribune
Speakers at a token hunger strike yesterday demanded a separate land commission for indigenous people living in plain lands.
The hunger strike was organised by Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Citizens’ Committee and CHT Headman Network at the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital.
They also demanded the full implementation of the CHT accord signed between the then Awami League government and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti back in 1997.
“We demand a separate land commission for plain land indigenous people immediately. The government claims that it has implemented 70% of the accord by providing us with only a compartment. However, they did not fulfill the key provisions of the accord, which is considered the engine of the compartment,” said CHT Citizens’ Committee President Gautam Dewan.
He said: “We think there is no alternative for protecting the CHT people other than full implementation of the peace accord. However, what the government claims about the accord’s implementation is wrong and we disagree with the claim.”
Bangladesh Adivasi Forum Secretary Sanjeeb Drong said: “No false hope will be accepted regarding indigenous rights, the CHT accord and the formation of a separate land commission for plain land indigenous people. The government should see today’s hunger strike in a positive way.”
“A top-level meeting was held to prepare the peace accord and now another meeting should be held to implement the deal,” he added.
Nijera Kori Coordinator Khushi Kabir said: “We are now doing the same thing to the indigenous people that the Pakistani army did to Bangalees in 1971. The treatment of indigenous people does not reflect the spirit of our liberation war. To design the country with the true spirit of the war, we need to protect the rights of the indigenous people.”
At the hunger strike, Oikya NAP President Pankaj Bhattacharya, Dhaka University Professor Mesbah Kamal, and Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad General Secretary Rana Das Gupta were present among others.
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