In the CHT treaty signed between the Bangladesh government and Janasanghati Samity in 1997 to establish peace, one of the main conditions was to settle land dispute. Violence, arson and use of force have been prevailing for a long there. In this context, it is very unfortunate to postpone a scheduled meeting of the land commission in the wake of hartal (strike) called by an organisation.
When a meeting of CHT land commission was called after two and a half years, an organisation named Parbatya Chattogram Nagorik Parishad called a 32-hour hartal protesting against it. Later on Tuesday, the postponement of the meeting was made public in a letter signed by Khagrachhari land commission secretary. Later, the organisation withdrew the strike.
CHT land commission is an autonomous body constituted by the government. As per the law, the orgnisation is supposed to settle disputes related to the land. Why did the parishad leaders not go to the commission if their demand was justified? Why did they stop the activities of a government organisation with the threat of hartal?
Admitting that the land dispute is the root of all problems in CHT region, the government constituted the land commission. But it is unfortunate that the commissions were formed repeatedly, they could not work or did not want to work. There was a flaw in the commission law. Although several meetings were held after changing law in 2016, the land dispute has not been solved yet.
23 eminent citizens in a statement expressed concern due to postponement of the meeting of the land commission. Their concern is logical. They said that after the CHT treaty, land commission has been formed, but they could not settle even a single land dispute in 21 years. After changing the law of land commission in 2016, several meetings were held and a number of important decisions were taken. The decisions are awaiting implementation. Meanwhile, over 26,000 applications for settlement of land dispute have been submitted to the land commission.
It is needless to say that various vested quarters are continuing activities against the treaty. Now they come out in the name of Nagorik Parishad. The government should take necessary steps to protect peace. Instead of that, the postponement of meeting because of the threat of a vested quarter will send a wrong signal to the hill people. Are there some people inside the government who do not want the implementation of the treaty? It is clear that peace cannot be established in the hills without the resolution of the land dispute.
The government should make all-out efforts to implement the treaty instead of surrendering to the unfair demand of a vested quarter. Let the postponement of land commission be called again.