New Delhi: In a joint memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, who is on a four-day visit to India from today, Indian Chakma organisations i.e. Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI), Chakma National Council of India – Mizoram Chapter (CNCI-Mizoram), Tripura Rejyo Chakma Gabujyya Jodha and Chakma Hajong Rights Alliance (CHRA), urged the leaders to take joint measures for full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) Accord of Bangladesh signed on December 2, 1997, and declare the CHTs as a “region of peace.”
“Though the CHTs Accord was signed on December 2, 1997, key provisions of the Accord, especially handing over of law and order and supervision of the three Hill District Councils of Bandarban, Khagrachari and Rangamati to the CHTs Regional Council; withdrawal of the Bangladesh Army camps established during the armed conflicts into the cantonments within the CHTs; resolution of the land disputes through the functioning of the CHTs Land Commission; and rehabilitation and resettlement of the returnee Jumma refugees from India and internally displaced persons within the CHTs, remain unimplemented,” Rashik Mohan Chakma, President of CNCI-Mizoram and former MLA, stated.
“The importance of implementation of the CHT Accord for regional peace and security, especially for Bangladesh, India and Myanmar cannot be stressed enough. In addition to civil unrest of indigenous peoples of CHTs collectively known as Jummas due to non-implementation of the Accord, the CHTs are often used by various insurgent groups. Further, the armed conflicts in the Arakan province of Myanmar bordering the CHTs, the expulsion of over 1.5 million Rohingyas to Bangladesh by Myanmar, and the refusal of the military junta Government of Myanmar to repatriate any of these Rohingya refugees make the CHTs the source of regional instability and conflicts. Peace in the region can be assured only through joint efforts of Bangladesh and India and meaningful participation of the indigenous Jumma people in these efforts by empowering them for self-governance through full implementation of the CHTs Accord,” Suhas Chakma, Founder of the CDFI, said.
“It is not in the interests of Bangladesh, India, and indigenous Jumma peoples to have active civil unrests in the CHTs region or allow the region to be used for various insurgency activities,” Pritimoy Chakma, Convenor of the CHRA, said.
“We have urged both the Prime Ministers to take measures for full and effective implementation of the CHTs Accord,” Priya Ranjan Chakma, President of the Tripura Rejyo Chakma Gabujyya Jodha, said.
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