AL extremely communal
Santu Larma yesterday termed the ruling Awami League an extremely communal political party.
“In the 15th amendment to the constitution, it defined the 54 indigenous groups of the country as Bangalees in terms of nationality. This reflected the party's extreme communal identity,” said Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, popularly known as Santu Larma, chairman of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS).
He was speaking at a rally at the Central Shaheed Minar marking the 14th anniversary of Chittagong Hill Tracts accord.
Larma claimed that the 15th amendment also defines Islam as the state religion reflecting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's real communal character. This is the reality when Hasina, who led the government back in 1997, claimed her government runs with democratic, non-communal and progressive values, he said.
“There appears to be a conspiracy to destroy the existence of the indigenous people in the country,” he said at the rally organised by PCJSS and Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples' Forum.
Other indigenous peoples' leaders yesterday expressed sheer frustration over non-implementation of major aspects of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord in the last 14 years. They threatened the government of a tougher movement at the end of March next year if it fails to implement the accord signed in 1997.
The accord was signed between the then Awami League-led government and PCJSS ending over two decades of armed conflict in the hills. Major provisions of the accord include withdrawal of army camps from the region; rehabilitation of indigenous people who returned from India, settling land disputes and ensuring autonomy to the indigenous people.
Larma said there is an impasse on implementation of the CHT Accord, which only implies that the government is not sincere. The indigenous people bear a grudge and they are ready to go for any sort of movement to realise their demands.
Rashed Khan Menon, chairman of the Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous People, said these people are getting tired of movements. “If the accord is not implemented, the indigenous people could create a pre-CHT Accord situation,” he said.
Noted columnist Syed Abul Moksud demanded that the government either implement the CHT Accord or scrap it altogether. “Not implementing the accord is cheating the indigenous people. Only non-democratic governments do that,” he said.
Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples' Forum General Secretary Sanjeeb Drong proposed a high-level dialogue between the PCJSS and the government to break the impasse.