On 2 December 1997 the Jana Samhati Samiti (JSS) signed an agreement which has been known as the 'CHT Treaty' with the Bangladesh (BD) Government. The treaty was hailed by leaders around the world as a break through in the quarter of a century conflict in the CHT. At the same time the treaty was condemned by the rightwing parties of Bangladesh who believe the treaty gives away 10 per cent of the land area of Bangladesh to the Chakmas. The Jumma student fronts condemned the treaty as it does not give full autonomy.
Recently the government in accordance with the provision of the treaty has begun withdrawing army camps from Chittagong Hill Tracts which has been questioned by BNP and the right wing parties in Bangladesh while the tribal people blame the government for the delayed withdrawal . Under the backdrop of this debate our calling show this week , has brought in two distinguished guests who answered the questions of our listeners . Our guests were Rashed Khan Menon and Professor Mesbah Kamal .
Rashed Khan Menon is a Member of Parliament in Bangladesh and President of Bangladesh Workers’ Party. Mr Menon was on the National Committee which was formed in 1991 to make peace, recognizing the rights of the people from Hill Tracts in Bangladesh in maintaining their cultural and linguistic identities and to stop the bloodshed which was devastating for the area.
Our other guest was Professor Mesbah Kamal from the Department of History in Dhaka University. Professor Kamal has been working for the rights of the indigenous people in Bangladesh for quite some time now. He is the General Secretary of Bangladesh Adibasi Odhikar Andolon and also General Secretary of the Research and Development Collective. Mesbah Kamal has done research on the needs of indigenous people at National & Regional levels for their empowerment.