The 5th meeting of the CHT Accord Implementation & Monitoring Committee was held at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (Parliament House) in Dhaka at 11:30 am on last 7 December 2021. The two other members, Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma (Santu Larma), President of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhat Samiti (PCJSS) and Kujendra Lal Tripura, Chairman of the Task Force on Rehabilitation of the India Returnee Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons attended the meeting with Abul Hasnat Abdullah, Convener of the Committee, in the chair.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal Khan and Minister of Ministry of CHT Affairs Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing also participated in the meeting. Besides, Mosammat Hamida Begum, Secretary of Ministry of CHT Affairs and other high officials of the ministry were present in the meeting. The 5th Session of the CHT Accord Implementation & Monitoring Committee was held almost two and a half years after the previous 4th meeting, which had been held on 20 October 2019.
The agenda of the discussion, among others, includes: approval of the minutes of the previous meeting, implementation of the decisions adopted in the previous meeting, devolvement of subjects to the Hill District Councils through Executive Order, withdraw of the temporary camps, formulation of the Rules of the CHT Land Commission, anti-people directives of the Armed Forces Division on Jum cultivation including ginger and turmeric, conspiring advice of the Foreign Ministry issued on visit of the Denmark Ambassador to Rangamati, withdrawal of the cases filed against the PCJSS members and supporters, illegal directives of the Ministry of CHT Affairs on inclusion of the Deputy Commissioners in the Teachers Appointment Committees of the Hill District Councils, etc.
The Ministry of Land has made it known that the formulation process of the Rules for CHT Land Commission has been lying underway with much progress. On the other hand, the meeting had discussions pointing out that even though resolutions had been taken in the previous session, no progress has been made on the issues, such as, devolvement of subjects to the Hill District Councils through Executive Order, immediate withdrawal of the temporary camps, transfer of the Police (Local) subject to the Hill District Councils through Executive Order and formation the police force as per the law and withdrawal of the cases filed against the PCJSS activists, etc.
It was decided to cancel the illegal directive issued by Ministry of CHT Affairs instructing inclusion of the Deputy Commissioners to the Teachers Appointment Committee of the Hill District Councils. It was opined that since there is Regulation to that effect, the Hill District Councils will act upon accordingly.
Despite there has been the decision in the previous meeting to submit a full-pledged list of temporary camps, it was only Upazila-wise number of camps withdrawn submitted from the army headquarters. It has been learnt, hence, decision was taken in the meeting to resend a letter to the army headquarters asking to submit the name list of the camps withdrawn so far.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan stepped into the meeting at certain phase of discussion that was about to switch over to the issue of overwhelming situation of CHT. By this time, he raised the point of establishing new police camps in the hill districts.
Santu Larma, member of the CHT Accord Implementation & Monitoring Committee and also President of PCJSS maintained different opinion in contrast to proposal of the Home Minister. He argued that if the army camps were replaced by establishing police camps, it would be direct violation to the CHT Accord. He informed the meeting saying: “It has been decided in the previous meetings that the subject Police (Local) will be transferred to the Hill District Councils through Executive Order and the District Councils will take initiative to form district police forces accordingly.” Expressing his opinion terming it to be inevitable, he stressed upon organizing a police force in the hill districts accordingly.
Santu Larma, while discussing on overall situation of CHT, pointed out the anti-people directive of the armed force division imposing restriction on cultivation of Jum including ginger and turmeric and issue of the conspiring letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs during Denmark Ambassador’s visit to Rangamati. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal Khan and Abul Hasnat Abdullah, Convener of the CHT Accord Implementation & Monitoring Committee got stunned at hearing the anti-people and conspiring letter and opined that such anti-people and conspiring letter of the Ministry, if received, should not be directly forwarded to various authorities without consideration.
Santu Larma drew attention of the meeting to the conspiracy hatched by certain quarter against effectiveness of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation 1900. It is worth mentioning that a certain quarter of vested interest has appealed to the Appellate Division challenging the verdict of Justice S K Sinha stating to the effect that CHT Regulation 1900 is not a dead law, rather it is an alive law. It was resolved in the meeting that an effort to launch legal measure would be taken up on part of the government in favor of effectiveness of the CHT Regulation 1900.
It was also resolved in the meeting that a Committee will be organized in the Ministry of CHT Affairs to withdraw the cases filed against the PCJSS activists and supporters. It is to be mentioned that the decisions taken in the 4th meeting on creation of posts and filling up of vacant posts lying with the CHT Accord Implementation & Monitoring Committee, CHT Regional Council and Task Force, and the complicacy arisen out of given directives to set up SRO number beyond legal jurisdiction in formulating the Rules of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council, were discussed to be implemented.