‘India should join hands with Bangladesh to create peace in Chittagong’

The Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh should be declared as a “region of peace”, a coalition of Chakma community organisations has said. The call for the zone of peace in the Chittagong hills came a little after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in New Delhi on Monday on a four-day visit.

“Though the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) Accord was signed on December 2, 1997, key provisions of the Accord, especially handing over of law and order and supervision of the three Hill District Councils of Bandarban, Khagrachari and Rangamati to the CHTs Regional Council and the withdrawal of the Bangladesh Army camps established during the armed conflicts into the cantonments within the CHTs, remain unimplemented 25 years after signing of the Accord,” stated Rashik Mohan Chakma, president of CNCI-Mizoram and former MLA of Mizoram in a statement.

The Chakma organisations, which have been struggling for civil rights in Bangladesh, said the CHT Accord can be implemented through a joint effort of the Governments of Bangladesh, India, and the Chakma representatives of Bangladesh. They also emphasised that stability of the Chittagong region is of crucial significance as the region has given refuge to more than 1.5 million Rohingya refugees from Rakhine province since 2017.

“The importance of implementation of the CHT Accord for regional peace and security, especially for Bangladesh, India and Myanmar cannot be stressed enough,” said Suhas Chakma, Founder of the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI), citing the overall security situation in the Chittagong region.

Mr. Chakma said peace in CHT can pave the way for “self governance”.

The Rohingya issue and the security scenario in Chittagong region is expected to feature in the bilateral talks that PM Hasina will hold with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Ministers. Ms. Hasina, however, came unaccompanied by her Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen who had created a controversy days before the visit when he had openly urged for support from India to ensure victory for the Awami League in the next general election in Bangladesh.

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