The JSS consultation with the leaders of Khagarachari Hill District on the draft memo for constitutional review.
JSS' new leadership met with the Jumma leaders, public representatives, civil society figures, NGO leaders, community leaders and social voice makers yesterday at Rega club at Milanpur, Khagarachari to draw valued opinion on the petition drafted for submission to the Bangladesh Government’s special committee for constitutional revision.
Mr. Sudhasindhu Khisa, a veteran JSS leader and Co-Charperson of the JSS central convening committee spoke as the convener.
The meeting was convened by Mr. Sudhasindhu Khisa, Co-Chairperson of the JSS central convening committee and CHT Regional Council member which started at 11.30am and lasted for about 4 hours. Mr. Khisa led the consultation as the convener and Mr. Tatindra Lal Chakma popularly known as Major Pele, Member-Secretary of the JSS central convening committee read out the draft memo. Mr. Khisa and Mr. Dewan clarified the questions of the distinguished participants which had been raised based on the contents of the draft memo.
Mr. U Kya Zain, leader of CHT Citizen's Committee and a former Joint Secretary is speaking in the meeting (left).
The participants warmly welcomed the JSS’ move for involving the people on a national cause. Mr. Mrahsathowai Marma, Marma Okya Parishad leader, suggested arranging such consultation in 3 hill districts. He remarked that it was a national shame for failing submission of a common memo involving all the CHT leaderships. The convener told the audiences in his opening speech that it was the responsibility of Mr. Santu Larma to arrange a meeting for submission of a common memo by all the indigenous peoples of the country. It could have also been either done by Mr. Dipankar Talukdar, M.P. and the State Minister, for the CHT Affairs Ministry or Barrister Raja Devasish Roy.
Mrahsathowai Marma, Marma Okya Parishad (Marma Unity Council) leader spoke in the meeting.
Mr. Sathowai Aung Marma, President, Marma Unnayan Sangsad (Marma Development Council) told the meeting about their decision that they would response to the calls of those quarters for national interest. Mr. Sunendo Marma, President, BMSC (Bangladesh Marma Students' Council) suggested to keep the word 'indigenous' and avoid writing the word 'Jumma'. Mr. U. K. Zain, former Joint Secretary and a leader of the CHT Citizen's Committee made the comment clear that there was reservation on the term, as they think that the 'Jumma' term comes from a Chakma word. Mr. Rupayan Dewan clarified that matter gave a background on the genesis of Jumma nationalism against the extreme Bengali chauvinism.
Mr. Sarbottom Chakma, Chairman, Panchari Upazila Parishad participated in the discussion.
Mr. Nirapad Talukdar, Vice Chairman, Khagarachari Sadar Upazila Parishad suggested to prioritise the demands considering our question of survival. Mr. U. K. Zain opined that we should not specify the number of MP seats for the CHT region. Ms. Satarupa Chakma, Vice Chairman, Dighinala Upazila Parishad also suggested not to specify the number of seats for the women. Mr. Sarbottom Chakma, Chairman, Panchari Upazila Parishad suggested to include the CHT accord in the constitution after replacing the 'tribal' by 'indigenous' term. He also suggested for programme based unity among the CHT political parties for achieving political rights of the Jumma people.
Mr. Rupayan Dewan, Member of the CHT Regional Council and also a Co-Chair of the JSS’ central convening committee closed down the meeting after giving a closing speech. He told that the great leader MN Larma and founder of JSS unified the Jumma nation in 1972 by involving leaders from all sections during submission of the 4-point charter of demands before the constitution drafting committee. Unfortunately, it did not happen after 39 years when the Jumma nation and the indigenous peoples have got a second chance for their constitutional recognition. He appealed for greater Jumma unity for achieving rights from the Bengali nation.