Indigenous culture wearing off | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 12, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 12, 2009

Indigenous culture wearing off

Says Larma, blames non-implementation of CHT accord

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Indigenous girls in Khagrachhari adorn themselves with traditional dress as they prepare for joining a rally on the occasion of their three-day festival to welcome Bangla New Year 1416. Photo: Banglar Chokh

The indigenous people in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) are losing their culture and customs as the CHT peace accord has remained unimplemented for years.
Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma (Santu Larma), chairman of CHT Regional Council and also chief of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS), said this in Rangamati while inaugurating a rally yesterday on the occasion of Biju, the biggest festival of the indigenous people in CHT.
They are also passing their days amid insecurity, he alleged.
Indigenous communities including Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Tangchangya, Mro, Chak and Khumi celebrate the festival to shed the sorrows of the previous year and welcome the Bangla New Year.
Called by the Chakmas as Biju, the festival is known by different names to the indigenous communities in Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari hill district in CHT.
The Marmas observe it as Sangrain, the Tripuras as Boisuk and the Tangchangyas Bisu.
CHT indigenous people observe the festival for three days including last two days of the old year and first day of the Bangla New Year and so, main functions of the festival will start today and end on Tuesday.
Biju Udjapan Committee yesterday organised a mammoth colourful rally that paraded from Rangamati pourasabha to Rajbari in the town.
Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma (Santu Larma) inaugurated the rally held on the premises of Rangamati Municipality office while barrister Devasish Roy, chief of Chakma Circle, addressed it as the chief guest.
Former law advisor Hassan Arif, Gano Forum leader Pankaj Bhattacharya and journalist Syed Abul Moksud addressed the rally as special guests.
“We signed the peace accord with the government for preservation and development of our ethnic cultures. Eleven years have elapsed after signing of the deal, but steps have not been taken for its full implementation, Santu Larma said at the rally.
He urged the present government to take immediate steps for full implement of the accord.
Calling upon the indigenous people to uphold their culture and customs, Devasish Roy said indigenous people are still being deprived, tortured and harassed by the rulers.
Due to lack of political good will, the indigenous people have been deprived of their fundamental rights for long and that is why they are lagging behind, Hassan Arif said.
Biju Udjapan Parishad in Rangamati has taken elaborate programmes including art competition, rally, roundtable, traditional games and sports, cultural function, film show, drama, and floating flowers to celebrate the festival.
Earlier on Thursday, indigenous cultural organisation Jhum Aesthetic council arranged an art competition and a prize-giving function at Ashika hall room in the town.
Our Khagrachhari correspondent reports: Speakers at a discussion yesterday urged the government to ensure constitutional rights for indigenous people of the country.
They also urged ensuring the rights and privileges of indigenous people as per CHT peace accord signed between the then Awami League government and PCJSS in December 1997.
Boishabi Ujjapon Committee organised the discussion at Tribal Cultural Institute (TCI) in hill town Khagrachhari.
Refugee Affairs Taskforce Chairman Zatindra Lal Tripura attended as chief guest at the function presided over by Khagrachhari Hill District Council Chairman Ruhity Karbari.

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