Ensure right to land of indigenous people
Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council Chairman Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, popularly known as Santu Larma, yesterday demanded constitutional recognition of indigenous people, and their right to land.
''We categorically demand for constitutional recognition of our identities, languages, cultures and land rights. We will place the demands to the special parliamentary committee for constitutional amendment before its next meeting,'' he said.
Santu cited a number of demands at a press conference organised by Bangladesh Adivasi Forum at the National Press Club, ahead of International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples to be observed on August 9.
The other demands include changing the title of 'Minority Anthropological Cultural Institution Act' into 'Indigenous Cultural Institution Act' enlisting at least 45 indigenous communities; formation of a land commission for the indigenous people living on plain lands; introducing an education system in adivasi languages; stopping establishment of eco parks at Modhupur; and observing International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples with state honour.
Santu, also the adivasi forum president, alleged that the Awami League-led government has yet to take any effective measure to implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, although a year and a half have elapsed since it came to power.
He demanded immediate announcement of a timeline for implementing the peace accord, which Awami League pledged in its election manifesto.
He alleged that the government has not completely withdrawn the army and Ansars from the hill tracts yet.
Santu claimed the announcement of land survey in CHT is against the peace treaty. He also criticised the land commission chairman for taking the decision without consulting some of the commission members.
Prof Mesbah Kamal, Gono Forum's politburo member Pankaj Bhattacharjee, and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum General Secretary Sanjeeb Drong were present at the press conference.
The adivasi forum has chalked out a 4-day-long programme including a discussion meeting, a rally, a film show and a photo exhibition to mark the international day.