TWO officials of the International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission and a police officer were injured in Rangamati yesterday during their visit to the hill region. The attack was allegedly carried out by Bangalee settlers in the region. We condemn the attack on the commission and hope that law enforcement looks into the matter and punishes the perpetrators accordingly. Although the organizations of Bangalee settlers who oppose the commission's work have denied their involvement in the attack, it is seen as an impediment towards bringing peace and inclusivity in the region.
The International CHT Commission has been working from 2008 with a mandate to “promote respect for human rights, democracy and for restoration of civil and political rights, participatory development and land rights in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh." The committee's activities have been termed 'controversial' and 'partisan' by the Bangalee settlers organizations, when in fact they are working towards a collective harmony for the region. The commission has been following the implementation of the CHT Peace Accord of 1997 and it is regrettable to see resistance to their moves. Illegal land grabbing and wealth amassing by vested quarters has threatened to create anarchy in the hill tracts, according to the committee and we hope the authorities will place the matter under scrutiny to unravel the elements behind the violence and persuade them to see the wisdom of dialogue. We hope the necessary steps are taken in order for the commission to continue their work unabated.