Monday, January 2, 2012

Pulling Out Bangladesh Army From Chittagong Hill Tracts: Conspiracy To Create Unrest

Negative propaganda has been extensively spread over the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) issue since long ago at the international level. The United Nations Forum on Indigenous Issues in one of its meetings has demanded withdrawal of army at a time when law and order situation has extremely deteriorated there on an alarming scale in consequence of internal feud among the indigenous people themselves. Since long, similar demand is being made by the tribal organizations of the CHT. This has been only echoed in the session of the United Nations Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Signing of Peace Pact
But we are aware that at a time, with the help of a neighboring country, the separatist movement was launched in the CHT and at that time Army was deployed to ensure integrity and security in that region. After the signing of the peace pact between the government and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) in 1997, many Army camps were packed up. But we are observing that peace and stability have not been restored in the CHT; on the contrary, threats prevail in that region in respect of territorial integrity. Only a few days ago PCJSS leader Santu Larma threatened to launch armed struggle in the CHT if needed. More than one armed hill organizations of the UPDF have established a reign of terror in the CHT. Under the circumstances, if the Army is withdrawn from the CHT, it will be tantamount to keeping the region insecure and handing it over to the terrorists.
Bangladesh is an independent and sovereign country. It is entirely the business of this nation to decide where it should have or have not its garrison or the Army camp in the CHT. No other organization has any authority to poke its nose into its affairs. What is unfortunate is that baseless allegations of human rights violations, including rape and torture, have been brought against the Army personnel. Although sweeping generalization of allegations has been made, nevertheless the date, day or names of alleged persons or the names of the victims have not been mentioned. From the lack of basic facts, it can be perceived that the sole goal of this allegation is to malign the Bangladesh Army personnel globally.
UN Peacekeepers in CHT
To any Bangladesh citizen such allegations by the United Nations Forum on Indigenous Issues are a matter of anxiety, because behind the allegations, there is a motive to help the separatist armed groups. What is more, it was discussed to deploy UN peacekeepers in the CHT. Such articulations clearly suggest symptoms of East Timor in the CHT. Various quarters from different forums are expressing apprehensions that a scheme is in progress to separate the CHT from Bangladesh. A section of the civil society and some NGOs are involved in this process by using different forums of the United Nations. Different intelligence bodies of the government have corroborated these activities.
We feel, time has come to take punitive actions against those who are involved in such activities. Otherwise, the situation may further deteriorate. At the same time, the Army position should be further integrated to ensure the security and integrity of the region.

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