Monday, 30 January, 2023

25 Years of CHT Peace Treaty

Peace still elusive

Peace still elusive

Popular News

Peace is still elusive in three hill districts of the country due to the unfriendly attitudes of the regional tribal political parties though 25 years of the signing of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord  has elapsed.

The government said most of the agreement clauses have been implemented and the rest will be implemented.

But, the hills are often rocked by fighting between regional tribal political parties over establishment of their supremacy in the region.

In the wake of the criminal activities of these organisations, the hopes and aspirations of the hilly people have been shattered and they have their backs against the wall.

The common people of the hill region are very worried about frequent incidents like murder, disappearance, abduction, extortion, terrorist activities, ethnic discrimination and political conflicts. Throughout the year, killings take place in fights for dominance.

The unfriendly attitudes of the regional tribal political parties are hindering implementation of pending issues of the peace process, sources said.

Kujendra Lal Tripura, chairman of Task Force on Rehabilitation of India-returnee Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed the peace agreement to establish permanent peace in the hills.”

“The agreement does not undermine the rights of any community. Rather coexistence is ensured. Development speed has increased. There has been progress in all sectors on the peace accord.”

According to the peace treaty, the hill terrorists will surrender their weapons and by leaving the road of terrorism they will return to normal life. But in reality, the picture is different in CHT.

Instead of cooperating with the government’s good wishes to implement the peace agreement, six regional tribal parties -- Parbattya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti or PCJSS (Santu group), PCJSS reformist (MN Larma group), United Peoples Democratic Front or UPDF (Prasit group), UPDF (Democratic group), Marma National Party (Mog Party) and Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) – are doing various criminal activities to make the CHT unstable.

Twenty-five years after the signing of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord, they are still maintaining armed groups and engaged in various crimes, including extortion, kidnapping, rape and murder. In the past 25 years since the agreement, the six tribal groups have clashed with each other and attacked security forces. At least 800 armed terrorists and common people lost their lives, including members of the security forces.

The extremist groups and their wings deposited huge quantities of sophisticated foreign arms, and ammunition through smuggling for the illegal toll collection that use as logs of their anti-state struggle.

The present government has been working with sincerity to speedily implement the provisions of the agreement that have not been implemented.

Lawmaker Dipankar Talukdar, president of the Parliamentary Standing Committee to the Ministry of Food, said, “The anarchic situation created by killing and abducting innocent people in favour of the peace agreement in the mountains is hindering the implementation of the peace agreement.”

For implementation of the peace agreement, it is necessary to create a favourable environment in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and to create a consensus among the people here, he said.

“The distance created between the two sides by signing the peace treaty, doubts have arisen. This is a major obstacle to the implementation of the peace agreement.”

“It is possible to implement the peace agreement in a peaceful manner through dialogue without giving such slogans that we will return to the previous situation without despair. We want all unimplemented conditions and clauses to be implemented expeditiously,” he added.

According to Chattogram Hill Tracts Affairs Ministry, so far 48, out of 72, sections of the CHT Accord have fully been implemented while 15 sections have partially been implemented and the implementation of nine sections is in progress.

Khagrachhari Municipality Mayor Nirmalendu Chowdhury said, “Most of CHT clauses have been implemented. Both parties have to be patient in implementing the remaining clauses. All problems can be solved through dialogue.”

Students’ Parishad and Women’s Parishad of Rangamati district committee of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) formed a human chain on Thursday.

At the human chain, speakers said after the Hill Peace Agreement, some armed groups have been carrying out terrorist activities, including extortion in the hill areas. The innocent people here are hostage to them. These armed groups are at the root of the unrest in the hills. Peace will not return to the hills until the armed conflict ends,

On the occasion of 25 years of CHT Peace Accord (Silver Jubilee), various programmes were organised in Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban districts.

A 21-year conflict and deadly violence in CHT ends with the signing of the peace accord on December 2 in 1997.

The Sheikh Hasina-led government’s strong political will led to the signing of the historic Chattogram Hill Tracts Peace Accord between the government and PCJSS.