The golden jubilee and 51st founding anniversary of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) have been celebrated. On this occasion, discussion meetings have been organized in various upazilas including Rangamati district headquarters and in Dhaka on 15 February 2023 and at JM Sen Hall in Chittagong on 17 February 2023.
In these discussion meetings, all those concerned have been called upon to join the ongoing larger movement of the PCJSS for full and proper implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord of 1997, the Charter of Legitimate Rights of the Dwellers of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) including indigenous Jumma people.
It is to be noted that under the leadership of the great revolutionary leader Manabendra Narayan Larma, the PCJSS was formed in Rangamati on 15 February 1972, with the aim of establishing the right of self-determination of the Jumma peoples and establishing a progressive social system under the initiative of the rights-seeking and progressive sections of the Jumma people. After its formation, it first organized a constitutional movement demanding regional autonomy. Then in 1975 when military rule was imposed in the country, when all the ways of democratic movement were blocked, the PCJSS was compelled to enter into armed movement which was was conducted for two and a half decades. As a result of tough armed movement led by Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, the historic CHT Accord was signed with the Government of Bangladesh in 1997 for a political and peaceful solution to the hill problem. After that, the PCJSS has been continuing for two and a half decades long movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord and the establishment of the Jumma people’s right to self-determination.
Rangamati program: The Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee-2023 of PCJSS organised a discussion meeting on the occasion of Golden Jubilee and 51st Founding Anniversary of PCJSS at Rangamati Cultural Institute Hall on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. Soukhin Chakma, convener of the celebration committee and central member of the PCJSS presided over the discussion meeting with the theme of ‘Join the greater movement for the proper implementation of the CHT Accord’.
Ushatan Talukder, vice-president of PCJSS, delivered the welcome address in the discussion meeting while President of PCJSS and Chairman of CHT Regional Council Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma (Santu Larma) was present as main speaker. Besides, Arun Tripura, Assistant Organizing Secretary of Rangamati District Committee of PCJSS, Moni Chakma, Organizing Secretary of Central Committee of Parbatya Chattagram Mahila Samiti, Amitabha Tanchangya, President of Rangamati District Committee of Parbatya Chattagram Juba Samiti, Suman Marma, President of Parbatya Chattagram Pahari Chhatra Parishad Central Committee and Shantidevi Tanchangya, General Secretary of Hill Women’s Federation Central Committee also spoke among others at this.
At the beginning of the program, the national flag is hoisted during the national anthem and the party flag is hoisted during the party anthem. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, President of PCJSS, hoisted the national flag while party flag was hoisted by PCJSS member Madhabeelata Chakma. After hoisting the national flag and the party flag, the Golden Jubilee program of the PCJSS was inaugurated by blowing balloons.
In his speech, Santu Larma said that we have to jump into a greater movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord. Jumma nationalism and progressive Jumma society should be established to preserve national existence of Jumma people. We have to strengthen national unity in every field in the coming days to establish our own rights. Therefore, the last word of all words is that, with the aim of properly implementing the CHT Accord, we have to jump into a greater movement.
Mr. Santu Larma said these things while addressing a discussion meeting organized on the occasion of Golden Jubilee and 51st Founding Anniversary of PCJSS at Rangamati Cultural Institute Hall on Wednesday, February 15, 2023.
Mr. Larma also said that the government wants the existence of PCJSS to be destroyed. Because only the leadership of PCJSS has the courage to struggle for protection of the rights of Jumma people in the hills. Not only that, the government is now running that process in the hills not to speak for the implementation of the Accord which was signed by the Jumma people on 2 December 1997 with their utmost sacrifice, so that people can forget and are forced to forget that agreement. So, we have to understand and know this reality. We must learn from this reality. And we have to strengthen our movement by learning.
In the event, the special discussants commemorated the 51 years that the PCJSS has gone through various ups and downs and tried to highlight the successes and failures of the party’s struggle in these 51 years. And taking lessons from the past experience, they decided to actively participate in any program aimed at the proper implementation of the CHT Accord under the leadership of the PCJSS.
Finally, the discussion meeting was declared closed with the President’s speech by the Convener of the Celebration Committee, Mr. Soukhin Chakma. At the end of the discussion meeting, a wonderful cultural program was performed by Girisur Shilpi Gosti.
Dhaka Program: A discussion meeting was organized by the PCJSS at Bishwa Sahitya Kebdra in Dhaka on the occasion of the golden jubilee of PCJSS on February 15 at 3:00 pm. The discussion meeting was presided over by Sadhuram Tripura, central member PCJSS and member of CHT Regional Council.
Also present as discussants were writer and journalist Abu Syed Khan, General Secretary of Communist Party of Bangladesh Ruhin Hossain Prince, General Secretary of Oikya NAP Asadullah Tarek, General Secretary of Bangladesh JASAD Nazmul Haque Pradhan, joint general secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous peopels Forum Dr. Gajendranath Mahato as discussant while Dipayan Khisa, Member of Information and Publicity Department of PCJSS gave welcome speech. Jagdish Chakma, general secretary of the Dhaka metropolitan branch of the Hill Students Council, gave a solidarity speech.
Rashed Khan Menon said, the PCJSS has always sought a political solution to the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) problem. It is not correct to point the finger at PCJSS blaming it for the problem in the hills. This is also an injustice to PCJSS.
He added that those who formed this party have come of age today. PCJSS was formed for political solution of the CHT problem. The then youth of the hills organized protests against the Kaptai Dam. In continuation of that, they formed the PCJSS. This orgnization has clearly indicated that the other ethnic peoples other than Bengalis in Bangladesh were seeking recognition of national entity. And that was not through unconstitutionally. They have sought this recognition through the scope of the constitution.
He also said that PCJSS hopes to implement the CHT Accord for 25 years after the signing it. This is also their way of finding a political solution. PCJSS is a progressive political party to advance the democratic movement of the country. This senior politician demanded to recognize PCJSS as a national party.
Rashed Khan Menon said that the fight of the PCJSS is not only its struggle, it is the fight of all of us. In the context of the recent Kuki-Chin armed group, Rashed Khan Menon also said that the organization named KNF is providing training to Islamic militants sitting under the nose of the military administration and the police administration. Why suddenly RAB, military became aware of this in recent times. Then Menon asked where the source of the weapons recovered in Naikhyongchari was.
Professor of Dhaka University Dr. Mesbah Kamal said, “The PCJSS is a dedicated political organization of the democratic movement of Bangladesh. To make this country a democratic country, this organization has shown us all the things that are inconsistent with the national life and democracy. When we embarked on the process of framing the Constitution, we saw that we had taken a step in the excesses of nationalism which was sufficient to destroy the foundations of our democracy. It is said in the constitution that the people of this country are Bengalis by race. This country is not only for Bengalis but also for the people of other ethnic groups besides Bengalis. Sadly, the rule of the Bengali ruling class is not over yet. This researcher on indigenous issues also called for the declaration of PCJSS as a national political party.
Author and journalist Abu Syed Khan said that in the nationalist movement that started from the language movement, at one stage of the struggle, indigenous peoples also joined. For good reason, that struggle was a movement of Bengali nationalism. But the issues of other indigenous peoples who joined movement were not considered in the post-independence period. The Awma League was the first initiative to resolve the demands that the PCJSS was formed in the CHT. But this eminent journalist and freedom fighter expressed the opinion that the initiative for which we applauded cannot be sustained now.
Ruhin Hossain Prince, general secretary of the Communist Party said, “PCJSS is different from the conventional political parties of our country. It is undoubtedly a national political party. We more or less know the long struggle they have fought, and the crisis they are still fighting. Their struggle is a different level of struggle. It’s a big crisis, fueled by various national parties, including the state itself, to create discord among them so that they can’t stand properly. In that, I expect PCJSS to play their role in achieving the activities and goals. This fight is not only related to Jumma people, this fight is related to the progress of our country. This fight is also related to the spirit of our liberation war.
General Secretary of Oikya NAP Asadullah Tarek said that the Jumma people of today’s CHT have been fighting for hundreds of years. But in the 1972 constitution, the word indigenous peoples did not appear. The struggle for the recognition of rights of the indigenous peoples is not only the struggle of the indigenous peoples of the CHT, it is also the struggle of the indigenous peoples of the plains. They did not get that recognition too. To get that recognition, they formed the PCJSS in 1972 to save them from hundred years of exploitation and discrimination.
In the president’s speech, Sadhuram Tripura Milton said that we had to suffer a lot to take the PCJSS forward. We didn’t want war. The state imposed war on us. We fought to prevent that war. The government was compelled to enter into an Accord with us only when the military authorities got tired of the war and realized that a political solution to the CHT problem was needed. We did not fight for separatism. We made the CHT Accord by upholding the constitution of Bangladesh. I strongly demand the immediate implementation of that Accord.
Baghaichari upazila: On this occasion, at 10:00 am, a discussion meeting was held at Battola Community Center of Baghaichari presided over by Baghaichari Thana Committee President and Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee convener Sushil Talukdar. Sumati Ranjan Chakma, vice-president of Rangamati district committee of PCJSS was present as the chief guest and Pulak Jyoti Chakma, member of Rangamati district committee of the PCJSS, Dhana Bikash Chakma, member of Baghaichhari Thana committee, were present as special guests. Besides, Dilip Chakma, member of Sarwatuli Union Parishad (Union Council), Amulya Ratan Chakma, member of Khedarmara Union Parishad, Gyana Alo Chakma, member of Baghaichari Union Parishad, Dilip Chakma, member of Baghaichari Union Parishad and Rashika Chakma, reserved women member of Union Parishad, Anik Chakma, member of Baghaichari Thana Committee of Parbatya Chattagram Juba Samiti spoke at the meeting. Mantu Chakma, member of the Baghaichari Thana committee of PCJSS, delivered the welcome speech.
Sumati Ranjan Chakma, the chief guest in the discussion meeting, said that after struggling for more than two decades, PCJSS and Jumma peoples made the government compel to sign the CHT Accord. He urged the leaders and activists to be ready to accept any sacrifice for the implementation of this Accord.
Longadu Upazila: At 11.00 am, an activists’ rally and discussion meeting was held in Bagachatar area of Longadu upazila on the initiative of Longdu Thana Committee of PCJSS. It was attended by the returnee members of PCJSS and members of Thana, Union and Village Branches of JSS, Mahila Samiti and Juba Samiti as well as people of different walks of the area.
The discussion meeting held was presided over by Binay Prasad Chakma, Land and Agriculture Affairs Secretary of Longadu Thana committee of PCJSS and moderated by Moni Shankar Chakma, General Secretary of Longadu Thana Committee. Organizational secretary Jashu Chakma gave a welcome speech. Apart from this, returnee member of PCJSS Ayanti Moy Chakma, President of Thana Juba Samiti Tapan Jyoti Chakma and Mahila Karbari Natuna Chakma also spoke in the meeting.
Jashu Chakma said in his welcome speech that the present situation of CHT is not good at all. A special section of the government is using various conspiracies to sabotage the movement for implementation of the Accord. All the leaders and activists involved with the PCJSS have been implicated in false and harassing cases and expelled from the area. The Jumma people are currently under great anxiety.
Returnee PCJSS member Ayanti Moy Chakma said, I have returned to normal life with many hopes and aspirations after ending the long armed struggle after facing difficult situations with various adversities before the Accord. But it is very sad that the government has cheated us. Today the age of our party has completed 51 years, on the other hand, 25 years of the Accord of the party and Jumma people with the government have passed. Till date the key clauses of the Accord have not been implemented. He lamented that we have submitted weapons under the Accord, but not our experience and training. He urged the students and youth society as well as workers to join the greater movement to implement the Accord.
President of Juba Samiti Tapan Jyoti Chakma said that in order to tackle the prevailing situation in CHT, there is no option for students-youth society to keep the national existence of Jumma people of CHT intact on the map of the country. He urged the students and youth to participate in the party’s ongoing movement to strengthen the movement for the implementation of the CHT Accord.
Woman Karbari (village head) Natuna Chakma said, in order to make women society politically aware along with men, we need 100% sincere cooperation from the men, otherwise it is not possible for women to come forward.
The president of the meeting, Binay Prasad Karbari, said that we all have to join the movement for the implementation of the Accord by identifying the main enemy and avoiding imprudence and escapist thinking. He urged to be prepared to survive the competition in any situation.
Barkal Upazila: On this occasion, a discussion meeting was held at Barkal Upazila headquarters at 10:00 am in the office of PCJSS and presided over by Apurba Mitra Chakma, member of Barkal Thana Committee of PCJSS. Bidhan Chakma, member of Rangamati district committee of PCJSS and chairman of Barkal Upazila Parishad, was present as the chief guest in the discussion meeting. Besides, Shyama Ratan Chakma, Vice Chairman of Barkal Upazila Parishad and Member of Rangamati District Committee of PCJSS, Women Vice Chairman Sucharita Chakma were present as special guests. Priya Jyoti Chakma, general secretary of Pahari Chhatra Parishad’s Barkal Thana Committee, gave a welcome speech at the meeting while moderated by Ketan Chakma, president of Pahari Chhatra Parishad’s Barkal Thana Committee, and former student leaders Newton Chakma, Lakshimon Chakma and others also spoke.
On the other hand, a discussion meeting was also organized at Jagannathchara, on the joint initiative of Jagannathchara, Aimachra Mukh, Dighalchari Village Committee of PCJSS and Juba Samiti of Aimachara Union of Barkal Upazila. In the beginning, the Golden Jubilee program was inaugurated by hoisting the national flag and party flag and blowing balloons. Jagannathchara village committee president of PCJSS, Bhuban Bijay Dewan presided over the discussion meeting and information and publicity secretary of Aimachara union branch of PCJSS Gyana Ratan Chakma (Gyana) was present as the main discussant, and Dhana Kumar Chakma, president of Aimachara Mukh village committee, Dighalchari village committee president Dayadhan Chakma as special guests. At the end of the meeting sweets were distributed to all present.
Besides, it is known that discussion meetings were also organized in Barkal Union and Bara Harina Union on the initiative of PCJSS, Juba Samiti, Mahila Samiti and local people.
Chittagong Program: A discussion meeting was organized by the PCJSS marking its golden jubilee and 51st founding anniversary at JM Sen Hall in Chittagong with the motto ‘Long live the struggle for self-determination of the Jumma people, the full implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts is the only way to peace and balanced development in the hills’, with Mr. Ushatan Talukder in the chair.
Former Director of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce Mahfuzul Haque Shah, Chittagong Metropolitan President of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, Eng. Parimal Kanti Chowdhury, President of the Communist Party of Bangladesh Comrade Ashok Saha, Chittagong Metropolitan General Secretary of Oikya Parishad Nitai Prasad Ghosh, Chittagong South District President of Oikya Parishad Tapas Hor and General Secretary Professor Pradeep Kumar Chowdhury, Chittagong General Secretary of Workers Party of Bangladesh Sharif Chauhan, Organizing Secretary of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JASAD) Jasim Uddin Badal, Chittagong leader of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (Basad) Al Qaderi Joy, Chittagong general secretary of Oikya NAP Ajit Das et al. were present as discussants
Dishan Tanchangya, Central Vice-President of Pahari Sramik Kalyan Forum, and Anil Bikash Chakma moderated the discussion meeting.
Ushatan Talukdar, Vice-President of PCJSS and former Member of Parliament, said, “Don’t push the hill people away, rather hold them close. Don’t give only lip service for implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord, it should be implemented in practice.”
He added that if the CHT are in turmoil, this Bengal cannot remain calm. So, let’s involve sixteen crore people of Bengal in our movement for this right. You don’t push the Jumma people away, you have to hold them close to your chest. They don’t want much. They want to live in their own land with security of life. The way of survival of this Jumma people should not be closed. No more delay, no delay, all of you come forward sincerely to implement the CHT Accord.
Mr. Talukdar also said, ‘Organization is a tool for achieving objectives. A party can establish its political, economic and social rights through organization. The PCJSS was established on February 15, 1972 with that purpose. This party was formed due to the demand of history and due to reality.
He further said that wounds like Partition, Kaptai Dam, Bengalisation of the Constitution plagued the Jumma people. MN Larma and his fellows came forward to save these disenfranchised people from the death trap. After two and half decade long of armed struggle, the historic CHT Accord was signed on 2 December 1997. But it is seen that even after 25 years, the government that signed the agreement itself has not implemented the basic aspects of the agreement. Law and order, forestry, land rights, refugee and displaced family rehabilitation are not provided to Jumma people. It is not enough to say that we are implementing the agreement, but the general public understands what has actually happened. For this, you have to come forward with sincerity.
Mr. Talukdar also said that the situation in CHT is very fragile. Jumma people are forced to leave their land due to insecurity. The problem of CHT is a political problem, the government has also recognized that and it is the demand of time to solve this problem peacefully, democratically and constitutionally. It is possible only through full and proper implementation of CHT Accord. Until the conscious citizens of the country come forward, you and I will have to explain the importance of this agreement. Why this government considers Jumma people as enemies today?
It is to be noted that the discussion meeting was started with the performance of the party song and the National Anthem. On this occasion, the national anthem and party anthem were performed by the artists of the cultural organization of indigenous students of Chittagong University, Randevu Art Group.
After the discussion meeting, the golden jubilee and 51st foundation anniversary program of PCJSS ended with a wonderful cultural program organized by Randevu artist group.