We are equal Bangladeshi citizens…

In the face of most recent arson attack on ethnic minority communities living in Langadu, Rangamati, New Age Youth spoke with students of different universities about the communal tension that results into such violent attacks and the ways to prevent future attack.

 

What should be done to prevent any future attack on hill communities?

 

Remi Chakma

Age 19

Dhaka University

Remi-ChakmaThe most recent arson attack in Langadu, yet again proved that it is communal mentality of the settler Bengali population that has created a situation of constant fear and uncertainty in the CHT. In addition to the attitude of the settler community, it is the implicit and explicit support of the security forces and civil administration that escalates violence in CHT as we have seen happening in Langadu. To prevent any further on Pahari population, the government must demilitarise CHT and relocate settler Bengalis who were brought to the hills during the counterinsurgency period to use as human shield. Then there is also yellow journalism that portrays the hill in way that true picture and realities of the hill people remains outside the purview of the larger public of Bangladesh. People in the plain land bare knows about the violation of human rights — rape, murder, abduction and mass killing — occurring in CHT and perpetrators of these crimes are almost ever brought to justice. How can you prevent future attacks if the attackers are enjoying guaranteed impunity?

 

 

Abdus Sami

Age: 21

Bangladesh University of professionals

 

AbdusIf we want to stop this attack on hill people we have to make people understand that hill people are not our rivals. We are living in the same country. Secondly, as the settlement of cantonments as well as the activities of military are controversial in these areas, so the government should relocate the cantonments. Thirdly, the government has to take proper initiatives to implement the CHT Accordin 1997, popularly known as peace accord. To [prevent future attacks, we have to raise mass public awareness on the issue. We have to concentrate on developing a good and healthy relationship between Bengali settlers and Hill people.  We have to make them understand that they can work together in every sector. Hill people are not lagging behind in education now. Local government has to be conscious and they have to take strict steps to stop these attacks.

 

Syed Ianur Shah

Age :19

Pabna University of Science and Technology

 

SayedInstead of recognising each other as equal citizen of Bangladesh, even today we carry a divisive mentality, that is where the problem begins. I believe we have to recognise that people in the hills are equally the citizen of Bangladesh. We have to give them accept ethnic diversity everywhere instead of giving the some quota facilities as minority. At the same time, we have to make the effort so they could trust us, accepts Bengalis again. This cannot be achieved only with some peace accord or quota facility. Moreover we have to spread their culture, heritage and festivals all over the country. If we can do that, I believe, the world will praise us for our cultural diversity. This will help flourish Bengali culture, instead of destroying it. With regards to the communal attack, I would say, we would have to accept each other, and then only we can prevent future attack. However, there will be always a vested quarter who want to create tensions. If we want to defeat these groups we have to erase the divide between Bengali people and hill people. On the other hand, our government deployed military to ensure peace in the area, however, it seems like the custodian of peace themselves are provoking unrest. I believe, the civil administration is enough to ensure peace in CHT. Not fear, embracing cultural difference alone could establish peace and prevent future attack.

 

Solaiman Kabir Anik

Age 24

Jahangirnagar University

SolaimanWe have to identify who are the attackers and who are the victims. Generally, these attackers attack on hill people with the help of our security forces. Sometimes, these attacks start from very trivial matters. Most recently in Langadu we have seen that after a death of one settler, settlers made it an excuse and attacked on ethnic minority community in the Hill. If we want to stop these clashes we have to treat both settlers and hill people equally. More often we treat our minor ethnic groups differently than Bengali people. Military forces also treat them in a discriminating way. We have to make sure that our ethnic people can practice the rights of self determination. That means they can practice their political, economic and traditional activities without any fear.

 

Taki Mantasha Shithi

Age 21

TakiUniversity of Asia Pacific

When we think about hill we can feel the green, soothing beauty of those areas. Traditional dance of the hill people and a peaceful environment where anyone can remove her/his boredom of life.  But we cannot understand from a distant how these hill people who are living there, they are living in fear. Fear of snatching their properties by someone, fear of being tortured by someone. But they are innocent, vulnerable people who are being disappeared day by day.

I believe, exemplary punishments and eagerness of local government can stop this violence. Violence and aggression cannot be accepted no matter who are doing it.

 

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