Saturday, February 18, 2012
Ialong with my senior friends and colleagues visited CHT to observe the post Peace Treaty scenario. My three days’ visit was worthy as many stories of CHT are cooked and published at Dhaka which sometimes may mislead the policy makers and the scholars as well. Moreover, on October 17, 2011 the Ambassador of European Union His Excellency Mr William Hanna, an Irish citizen visited CHT and viewed the matter through ‘Ireland crisis’. Therefore, this article may unveil the reality of CHT and provide justice to those who are really working for peace.
To me the natural beauty of the Hill Tracts is one of the attractions of our country that has tremendous tourism potential which needs due attention. Here, the present government and Bangladesh Army did a splendid job. In 1998 our present honourable Prime Minister received the UNESCO award. At that time I was a student of class ten and I was very happy as a Bangladeshi. After a decade when I visited CHT, I felt the award was really appropriate and people are ignorant about the good work being done by the administration and other agencies. Therefore, I would like to mention some issues for lasting peace in CHT.
Tribal Leaders want to measure the land according to the traditional rules which is contrary to the existing laws and the constitution of the Bangladesh. I personally feel that ‘land survey’ has to be undertaken first and immediately. Some Members of the land commission remain always absent which is absolutely unacceptable. Now people understand the reasons for the ‘delay battle’.
To me ‘indigenous issue’ is more of political than that of the need and reality. It was not in the agenda before. Interestingly, when the Peace Accord was signed on December o2, 1997, people of CHT were termed as ‘tribal’ (upazati). After a decade, this issue has appeared afresh. The Chief of Bomang Circle has already notified that the term ‘indigenous’ is inappropriate for them as they came from Arakan only 283 years ago.
Role of NGOs/INGOs
National/international NGOs must be scrutinized and made accountable to the state. All money transactions should be done through the banks. Let all beneficiaries to have bank accounts soon. Some employment opportunity may be created. Let real development start. Let real democracy be established.
Voice of innocent tribals and Bangalees by birth
I hardly find any difference between the children of the settlers and tribals, who are born and brought up together in the green beautiful garden surrounded by hills. They, except the elite leaders, are happy with their own culture, tradition and customs. Let this region be for all.
National Heritage and future of the Tourism
Let tourism sector be with professional, honest and dynamic people and organization. Our army may support them. If the working group is not honest, army must not be involved at all.
State policy makers and development
The development could further be enhanced if all government machineries worked together in CHT. As I knew, army considers the service in CHT as bonus to their professional gain. Potential military generals spend much time in CHT, but it is not should not be their domain alone. Many civil servants are yet to experience CHT and there is gulf of difference between the ‘military tempo’ and other stakeholders. Possibly we need to put our hands on our heart and need to ask the question-’being the servant to the republic, how much importance really we have put on this issue and have we handled the issue professionally so far? As I see and read from the articles of army officers, many senior officers of Bangladesh Army both in service and retired have vast experience on CHT. Many of them spent at least one third of service time in CHT during their long career and their experience can be put to good use.
The writer is Barrister-at-Law and presently practices in High Court division.