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CHT crisis needs a political solution

Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon at an event yesterday stressed that the crisis in the Chattogram Hill Tracts can be solved politically and not through militarisation.

"The CHT Peace Treaty is a significant achievement... The military approach attempted by Ziaur Rahman has been replaced by a political solution. One crucial aspect of the agreement was the demilitarisation. However, under the disguise of political instability, militarisation is being increased in the CHT. We must remember that the CHT crisis cannot be resolved through militarisation; it needs to be solved politically."

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Menon, also a lawmaker, said this at a views-exchange meeting titled, "Commitment and Actions of Political Parties to Implement CHT Peace Treaty," held at Jatiya Press Club.

The event was organised by the Chattogram Hill Tracts Treaty Implementation Movement.

"It should be considered whether the Awami League and other parties can also engage in this initiative of the treaty implementation movement. In the current context of our country, the strength and capacity of left-progressive parties are insufficient to make this movement successful," he suggested.

Ruhin Hossain Prince, general secretary of Communist Party of Bangladesh, encouraged Jana Sanghati Samiti to step forward in this regard, emphasising on its potential role on a national level.

Bazlur Rashid Firoz, general secretary of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal, demanded constitutional recognition for different indigenous groups.

Dhaka University Prof Khairul Islam Chowdhury, also a joint convenor of the CHT Peace Accord Implementation Movement, presented five demands aimed at implementing the peace treaty and resolving the CHT issues permanently.

The demands include preparing a time-based action plan to swiftly and effectively implement the treaty, ending military authority in the hills, ensuring the proper functioning of the Parbatya Chattogram Regional Council and the three hill district councils to guarantee local governance, making the CHT Land Commission effective for a permanent land solution, and ensuring participation of indigenous people of the CHT in the country's economic progress and sustainable development.

Khairul also presented two additional demands concerning indigenous people living in the plainland: taking special measures to reserve special seats for them and improving their quality of life at all levels of local government; and forming a separate Land Commission for them.

The meeting was moderated by Zakir Hossain, joint coordinator of the CHT Treaty Implementation Movement.