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Speakers demand justice for UPDF leaders killed on August 18 last year

  • Published at 10:18 pm August 30th, 2019
Speakers demand justice for UPDF leaders killed on August 18 last year
Speakers at the program in Dhaka's National Press Club on Friday, August 30, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

The speakers and the UPDF claim activists of the rival MN Larma-led Jana Samhati Samiti (JSS) carried out the attacks, which left UPDF leaders Tapan, Elton, and Palash Chakma dead

Speakers at a program have demanded exemplary punishment for those involved in two armed attacks that left seven people, including three People's Democratic Front (UPDF) leaders, dead at Khagrachhari town on August 18 last year.

The speakers and the UPDF claim activists of the rival MN Larma-led Jana Samhati Samiti (JSS) carried out the attacks, which left UPDF leaders Tapan, Elton, and Palash Chakma dead.

The demand was voiced at a program organized at the National Press Club on Friday, to commemorate those who died in the August 18 attacks. The event was arranged by CHT-based Democratic Youth Forum, United Workers’ Front, Hill Women’s Federation, and Greater Chittagong Hill Tracts Hill Student’s Council (PCP).

On the occasion of International Day of the Disappeared on Friday, speakers at the program also demanded an end to enforced disappearances in the country, as well as equal rights for members of ethnic minorities.

Bangladesh Biplobi Workers Party Secretary General Saiful Haque said: “There are some rights that are reserved for the people of the hill tracts in the constitution, as they are members of an ethnic minority. The constitution should be reformed so all people of Bangladesh have equal rights.”

He also mentioned that Bangladesh was not among the signatories to the UN International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

“The hill tracts crisis is a political problem, and the solution needs to be found through dialogue,” he added, alleging that the government was depriving people of their rights.

Bangladesh United Communist League presidium member Prof Abdus Sattar: “In 1972, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman told the indigenous people to be Bangali. The government led by his daughter is following the same blue print. 

 “Why do we need army dominance in the hill tracts? This is only to loot them,” he claimed.

The UPDF claims that the attacks on August 18 last year were carried out by activists of PCJSS (MN Larma), who had endorsed Awami League during the December 30 general election, and the UPDF (democratic) faction.

JSS MN Larma is a breakaway faction of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), the largest ethnic party in the hills. PCJSS’s military arm Shanti Bahini fought a bitter civil war against the Bangladeshi government for 25 years, until the signing of a peace accord with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government in 1997.

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