Even after two decades of the Peace Accord, killing procession not stopped 



Alamgir Manik
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ফাইল ছবি

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Rangamati: Today is Thursday, the 24th anniversary of the Chattogram Hill Tracts Peace Agreement. Apart from rehabilitating the terrorists and providing them with various facilities in the hope of peace, the two eras of closing down the army camps are coming to an end today. But peace is still elusive in the green-shaded Chattogram Hill Tracts.

Jana Sanghati Samity (Santu) leader Abishkar Chakma was shot dead by rival terrorists in Rangamati Sadar Upazila on Tuesday (November 30), just before the anniversary of the agreement. According to all sources, he is a top cadre of Jana Sanghati Samity (JSS). Not only this, but throughout the year such killings have been taking place in the conflict of domination somewhere in the hills.

Meanwhile, with the UP elections looming, the threat of JSS has prompted other political parties to resign.

The agreement was signed on December 2, 1997 between the then Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Parbatya Chattagram Hill Tracts Jana Sanghati Samiti (PCJSS). The main objective of the agreement was to bring an end to the bloody conflict in the three hill districts through the surrender of the guerrilla forces, the Shanti Bahini (SB), which had been in the mountains for more than two and a half decades. Although the name of Chattogram Hill Tracts Agreement was mentioned in the paper, observers from home and abroad named this agreement as a peace agreement. As a result of the agreement, the Prime Minister received accolades at home and abroad and also received various awards and titles.

However, the four-party alliance, including the BNP-Jamaat at the time, dubbed the agreement a "black pact" as that the Bengali-speaking people in the hills become second-class citizens, including on the condition of something unconstitutional. They also wanted to arrest Santu Larma as the murderer of 30,000 Bengalis and demanded the amendment of the agreement and bring him under trial. However, despite the fact that the agitators came to power within four years of the agreement, they did not cancel or amend the agreement. It is assumed that their 'opposition to the agreement' was part of the traditional politics.

After 24 years of the agreement, the question still arises, has peace really returned to the mountains? In answer to this question, one has to say without hesitation that with the advent of peace, the field of murder and extortion has expanded. At that time there was only one regional organization called Jana Sanghati Samiti; Whose self-armed branch was the SB. And after the agreement, six more armed organizations including UPDF and Gundus Bahini were born from this organization. The conflict over their dominance is constantly poisoning the mountain environment. Meanwhile, due to the withdrawal of army camps from the hills due to the agreement, the hills have become a sanctuary for terrorists day by day.

In the last four years alone, at least 124 people have been killed in the struggle for supremacy in Rangamati. Compared to the last three years, the number of murders has decreased this year. Among the dead were 92 leaders and activists of four regional parties in the hilly areas. Of these, 39 are from UPDF, 38 from JSS (Larma), 13 from JSS and 2 from UPDF Democrats. Among others, there are 20 civilians, one army member, one BNP leader, 10 Awami League members and one Mugh Party member.

Among the three hill districts, most of the violence took place in Rangamati and Khagrachari. 105 people were killed in these two districts. And 19 people were killed in Bandarban. In 2018, 32 people were killed in Rangamati. 41 people were killed in 19, 11 people were killed in 2020, and this year the number of murders in the conflict between the hills is 5. The list of murders includes the imam of a mosque in Bandarban. Blood holi game is going on in the green hills in this exercise of armament centered on extortion. Armed activity is increasing day by day; The list of murders is getting longer and longer.

Meanwhile, Santu Larma was complaining every day about the implementation of the peace agreement and their further benefits are not being ensured. However, the Bengalis living in the area are saying that the government is creating opportunities for them to buy illegal weapons. On the other hand, the government said that 80 percent of the agreement has been implemented. Thus, various conspiracies of foreign missions are going on in the mountains on the basis of counter-allegations.

It may be mentioned that according to the information published through various media, 2,563 people have been killed in the three hill districts apart from social crimes since the signing of the peace agreement. At least 2,626 people have been abducted. Among the dead, the hill-Bengalis belong to both communities but the number of Bengalis is higher. The Bengalis were killed due to communal hatred and extortion and most of them were killed by the hill tribes. The slain hill people have died because of their own armed activities and their own infighting for power.

According to the agreement, the list of armed members of the SB was provided within 45 days and from February 10, 1998 to March 5, 1998, 1948 members of the armed SB surrendered to the government in four phases. They deposited more than 200,000 rounds of ammunition, including 875 weapons. Although the military wing of the Jana Sanghati Samiti was completely disbanded with the surrender of the last party on March 5, 1998, the number of self-employed cadres and the availability of weapons have tripled; Such information belongs to various intelligence agencies.

In October 2020, a number of government ministers, including Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, held a series of meetings with military and civilian administration and political and social leaders of the three hill districts on how to establish law and order in the troubled Chattogram Hill Tracts.

Government tries to find a solution. Even there, everyone agreed that a special battalion of the RAB should be deployed to increase peace in the mountains. Although the government's decision to establish a battalion of the RAB was finalized in November, the matter came to a halt due to unknown reasons.

Of the 15 lakh people in the three hill districts, 48 percent are Bengalis. The remaining 52 percent are residents of various ethnic minorities. Despite the peace agreement aimed at establishing hill Bengali harmony, Jana Sanghati leaders have been demanding the total removal of Bengalis from the three hill districts. Santu Larma himself made such a claim from time to time. The government set up a land commission in 2001 to resolve land disputes in the hilly areas. But the Land Survey Commission has not been able to function in the face of obstacles from the hill groups. The government has also amended the Land Commission Act in response to objections from tribal leaders, but its activities are still not being implemented.

The Bengali organizations in the highlands feel that the Bengalis living in the region have not seen any improvement in the years of the Hill Tracts Agreement. At a press conference on Tuesday, the leaders of the Chattogram Hill Tracts Citizens' Committee demanded full evaluation of the agreement.

Rangamati MP Dipankar Talukder feels that the implementation of the peace agreement is being hampered by the anarchic situation created by the killing and abduction of innocent people in the hills. He said, "We are very saddened to see that the opposition to the peace agreement is colluding with the BNP, a force in favor of the agreement."

In the opinion of the common people of the hills, if there is no army in the hills, the tribal terrorists will cut the Bengalis to pieces. If all the troops are removed, insecurity will be created in the hill districts.

According to various government sources, 48 of the 72 articles of the peace agreement have been implemented and the rest are in the process of implementation. The only condition on the part of the government was that the armed hill terrorist groups surrender their weapons. But due to the political umbrella of the hill leaders, it was not possible even in the 24 years of the peace agreement. That is why people from different walks of life in the mountains have emphasized on finding a solution through law and order as well as political dialogue by increasing the army camps to establish peace in the mountains.

Coordinator of the movement Nahid called not to leave the campus



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Nahid Islam/Photo: Collected

Nahid Islam/Photo: Collected

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Nahid Islam, one of the coordinators of 'Anti Discrimination Student Movement', an organization of students protesting against all kinds of quota discrimination in government jobs, has urged the protesting students not to leave their campus.

He also said, we will march again. All over the country protest against the attack.

Nahid Islam made this call in his Facebook post on Monday (July 15) around 5:30 pm.

Nahid wrote in his Facebook post, 'No one should leave the campus area. We will march again. Protest all over the country against the attack. Everyone from Dhaka city come down. Hundreds of students are injured in Dhaka Medical. We need adequate treatment, blood and money. Help those who can. The call for the procession will come very soon.

After chasing the protesting students back and forth with the protesting students on Monday afternoon, the leaders and activists of the Chhatra League started beating the protesting students.

Due to this, the protesting students dispersed and hundreds of students were injured.

After that, when they were taken to the medical center, the BCL leaders and activists attacked them with batons. They kept throwing bricks at that time.

The agitating students gathered in front of Raju Bhaskarya of Dhaka University TSC at 12 noon on Monday to hold a protest march and rally to demand the withdrawal of the statement made by the Prime Minister at the press conference on Sunday (July 14) regarding the quota of freedom fighters in government jobs as 'insulting'.

At 3:30 pm, students of BUET, Eden College and other institutions staged an art gallery in front of the Raju Bhaskarjya, chanting slogans such as 'Kota Na Medha, I wanted rights, Razakar', 'Prime Minister's speech must be withdrawn', 'Tumi Ke Ami Ke, Razakar Razakar'.

Meanwhile, the Chhatra League also gathered in the area adjacent to the Madhur Canteen with the slogan 'Joy Bangla, Amar Sonar Banglaye, Razakarer Thai Nai'. 

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It is sad to hear the 'Razakar' slogan uttered by Rokeya Hall students: Prime Minister



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Photo: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that she was saddened to hear the slogans of Rokeya Hall students of Dhaka University.

She said that the girls of Rokeya Hall also said they are Razakars. It is hard to hear when they were chanting 'Razakar' slogans. Do they not know the history of this hall in 1971?

The Prime Minister said these things during the signing of the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) for the financial year 2024-25 and the presentation of the APA and Suddhachar Award at the Prime Minister's Office on Monday (July 15) at noon.

Expressing our pride in the liberation war, the head of government said, the implementation of the spirit of the liberation war is our only goal. Do the girls of Rokeya Hall know the history of this hall in 1971? What do the students know, what brutal torture was done by the Pakistani invaders if they were stopped! Dead bodies were lying on the streets at that time. These students have not seen them what lessons did they learn... Actually, because they don't know these things, the students are not ashamed to call themselves Razakars.

She said, I am not the Prime Minister, I am the daughter of Bangabandhu, the servant of the nation, I do my work that way. As we want to build a corruption-free society, officials should also look at this aspect. Where there is irregularity you will take appropriate action. The government is not condoning corruption to purify the society. Wherever it is, corruption is blamed on the government. But the anti-corruption campaign means the process will continue.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for the implementation of the government's zero tolerance policy to fight corruption and said that whenever the Awami League formed the government, it has continuously undertaken necessary planning and structural reforms to build Bangabandhu's dream of Sonar Bangla.

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Chhatra League has taken to the streets to protect the spirit of liberation war: Inan



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Barta24.com

Photo: Barta24.com

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There have been incidents of clashes, chases and counter-chases with BCL and students on the campus who are agitating for quota reform. In this regard, Sheikh Wali Asif Inan, the central general secretary of the organization, said that we are not on the road to attack BCL workers; we are on the road for the sake of Dhaka University. We have come down to protect the spirit of liberation war

He said this to reporters in front of Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor's residence on Monday (July 15) at 5 pm.

Inan said, these terrorists attacked at least 100 students of Dhaka University. They attacked the girls in disguise and tried to force them on others. We strongly condemn and protest against such despicable attempt .People came from different areas and protested the attack on common students of Dhaka University. All these are standing against the terrorists

He said, we have always said, we want a rationalized version of quota, we hope it will be a logical reform.

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The inexcusable audacity of claiming Razakar



Kabir Ahmed, Assistant Editor, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Barta24.com

Photo: Barta24.com

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'Who are you and who am I— Razakar Razakar'; At midnight, such slogans were raised in the country's campuses yesterday. Independent Bangladesh has been shamed again with incredible audacity. This has shamed them, whom we think of as the reservoir of a golden future; those students. Future Bangladesh is supposed to be in the hands of these young students, but they are openly shaking the country's education campus with anti-national slogans.

It is believed that it started from Dhaka University, the cradle of independence and various movements and struggles. After that slogans were raised in almost all campuses of the country including BUET, Chattogram University, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. I think, such disgusting slogans have not been left out in any campus. So there is no reason to think of it as an over-enthusiastic, over-revolutionary slogan of any campus group. Rather, it is pre-planned and directed from the leadership of the student movement.

There is no room to take their 'royalty' claim lightly. Because with this one word, there is a history of the great Liberation War of Bangladesh and the dishonor of 30 lakh martyrs and violation of more than two lakh women. The Razakar tribes were the direct collaborators of the Pakistani genocide in Bangladesh in 1971. They were part of the genocide in Bangladesh on behalf of Pakistan. As Pakistanis were ideologically, so were their financial achievements. The Razakar clan has not apologized for its role in the 1970s, but has even taken pride in it from time to time.

Seventy-one-year-old Rajakars are still proud of their achievements. Leaders of other political parties, including the top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, still openly say that it would be better if Pakistan existed. Ideological followers of this anti-national section, the successors still consider Pakistan as their country, which lags behind Bangladesh in various global indicators. They still follow Pakistan. From time to time, therefore, one sees from them the Liberation War, insulting the brave freedom fighters and martyrs, misleading comments about the number of martyrs in the genocide, and sarcasm against the intellectuals.

Unfortunately, there is no law in the country regarding the sarcasm of the Liberation War and heroic freedom fighters. Speaking insulting words about the Liberation War, no one has to face the law for any specific reason. While there has been a demand for a law called Genocide Denial Prevention Act for a long time in the country, but the Awami League, which claims to be the government of the Liberation War, is not paying attention to that demand. As a result, anyone can sneer at the liberation war in public meetings, public slogans, insult the brave freedom fighters, and shout slogans claiming to be 'Razakar' in the educational institutions of the country.

In the darkness of last night, the slogans raised by the protesting students demanding the abolition of quotas are audacious, it is a denial of 1971, it is an attempt to legitimize the Razakars, proven partners of the 1971 genocide. This attempt to glorify the hateful word Razakar is an unforgivable crime, as the word is directly associated with genocide, the group has been directly involved in the killing of 30 lakh people and the desecration of more than two lakh women.

It is being said that the students are demanding this 'Razakar' based on a comment of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. But let's see what the Prime Minister said? At the end of her visit to China, the Prime Minister answered a question from reporters at a press conference on Sunday, asking why there is so much anger about the freedom fighters, and said, "If the grandchildren of the freedom fighters don't get quota, will Razakar's grandchildren get quota?" That is my question. Question to the people of the country. The Prime Minister also said, "The country is free today because the freedom fighters did not eat but smeared the clay and fought to liberate the country." Today everyone is sitting in big positions. Otherwise, those Pakistanis would have had to walk by kicking their boots.

The Prime Minister has asked the right question for the countrymen. As a citizen, we also feel that the children of brave freedom fighters, not the children of Razakars, have priority to get jobs. The Razakars and their children and grandchildren who do not recognize the country, who still consider Pakistan as their own country rather than Bangladesh, do not have the right to get any privileges in Bangladesh. If they want to get something in Bangladesh, they have to accept the country first. But when they didn't do that, the state would keep privileges for them.

Although there are no laws, no rules, no guidelines to keep out the list of Razakars, their children and grandchildren from state benefits; there is a chance only for the brave freedom fighters, their children and grandchildren. After the 2018 quota reform movement, the government abolished the Beer Muktijodha quota. After that, the quota which was returned in the resolution of the writ of the High Court against that circular has also been suspended in the appeal of the state side after today's movement. The government is not strict about the quota, but the government also agrees with the demands of the agitators. In this situation, focusing on a comment of the Prime Minister, although this comment is not controversial, but analyzing it in a different way, the slogan given by the students claiming their 'Razakar', will complicate the whole issue.

Now, it has become imperative to publish the list of those who were directly or indirectly involved in the genocide of Pakistanis during the Liberation War. It has become necessary to decide on the state's position regarding the children and grandchildren of the Razakars.

"Razakar" is a hateful word. As no parent names their children as Mirzafar, most people are shy to make Razakar claim publicly. But the students have shown the courage to raise this slogan, which insists on glorifying this anti-national word. In the name of quota reform movement, they have brought forward their political aspirations, ideals. Although they are flying the national flag in rallies, wearing flags on their heads; But this is proven by the popular slogan 'Tumi Ke Ami Ke — Razakar Razakar'.

While demanding the cancellation of the freedom fighter quota, they are making fun of the liberation war, insulting the brave freedom fighters - these were initially thought of as isolated forms of the great movement, but after their 'royal' demands, the opportunity to see them simply like this has reduced. Not that it has singled out over-enthusiastic aliens on any one campus; it's no longer commonplace when the slogan has gone up on campuses across the country. Rather, it appears to be planned.

None of the youth of this generation are supposed to be 'Razakars', we are not sure if any of their ancestors were anti-national Razakars. However, they are claiming themselves as ideological followers of the 'Razakars' of the 1970s. No one calls them 'Razakar', but they themselves think and promote themselves as 'Razakar'. We force those who claim to be 'Razakar' or anti-national, but how can we say that we are in favor of Bangladesh?

The usual conflict returns, how will the state see the 'Razakar' and their ideological followers - the time has come to decide!

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