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Old September 22, 2012, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by M.H.Rubel
Prepare to fight: Santu Larma
Thu, Aug 9th, 2012 5:11 pm BdST

Dhaka University, Aug 9 ( – Bangladeshi rulers will not recognise the rights of the hills people, indigenous community leader Santu Larma has said, calling his people to prepare to fight for them.

"This undemocratic, ultranationalist government cannot give the Adivasis their rights," the former guerrilla leader said at an assembly at the Central Shaheed Minar to mark the International Day of the World's Indigenous People on Thursday.

"Without a progressive and democratic government the repression and betrayal of the indigenous people will continue," observed Santu, whose real name is Jyotirindra Bodhipriyo Larma.

He commented that the government was 'undecided' on the implementation of the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord and accepting the basic rights of the hills people.

"Rights must be achieved through struggle...and we must prepare for struggle and fight," he added.

Santu made the remarks a day after warning that the Chittagong Hill Tracts may plunge again into violence and bloodshed any moment over problems plaguing the region.

"Man's lifestyle changes. Confrontation and controversies in hills were once set to rest. It may start all over again," he had said.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts was a hotbed for violence even two decades ago when indigenous people gathered under the banner of Shanti Bahini, an armed force, demanding autonomy.

The Bahini was dissolved following signing of Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord in 1997. Santu became Chairman of CHT Regional Council, a body formed in line with the accord.

The accord, one of the major points of which is the immediate settlement of land ownership, remains mostly unimplemented.

Santu, who is the president of the political party backing the peace accord, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), said the government was dubious in its efforts to give the indigenous people their basic rights.

Ruling coalition ally JaSaD President Hasanul Haque Inu said the government had engaged in a conflict with the indigenous people which would not bring any good.

"The indigenous people are being called small ethnic minority in the Constitution. This mistake must be amended," he said.

Another partner Workers' Party President Rashed Khan Menon said the International Day of the World's Indigenous People is celebrated by all states across the world.

"The ruling party leaders are usually seen walking in this rally wearing t-shirts, but this year they're not here," he said. "How did the indigenous people suddenly become ethnic minority?"

The government has taken the stance that there are no 'indigenous people' in the country, though their election manifesto promised rights to the same 'indigenous people'.
This stubbornness of Mujib to accept the tribal population as non bangali but Bangladeshis... Cost us 25 years and thousands of lives. Hope the current AL govt doesn't make it even worse by this indigenous and tribal debate. If the tribal people take up arms this time, it will get worse and may not remain limited to that region alone. May Allah I've them common sense,

AL has already damaged us by an hurriedly done uneven peace treaty to score political point...and then if they fail to keep the tribals satisfied... They will prove to be a party of consistent power failure for the country...

BNP has definitely got the Bangladeshi nationalism contextually right for all to fit in...Bangali nationalism doesn't suit us with 1/6th of the land inhibited by non Bangali population.
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