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Demands

of the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF)

 

Main demands

  1. Grant FULL AUTONOMY by transferring all the subjects of state administration except foreign policy, currency, national defence and heavy industry to a regional body to be elected by direct franchise by the permanent residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
  2. Accord constitutional recognition to the ethnic nationalities such as Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Murung, Khumi, Chak, Khiyang, Lusai, Panko, Bawm, Tonchongya, Santal, Gurkha, Ahomi and Rakhaine living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts; and include a provision in the constitution that all the nations and nationalities residing in Bangladesh shall enjoy equal rights and dignity.
  3. Make provision for reserved seats for the ethnic nationalities (including separate reserved seats for women) in the national parliament of Bangladesh and make further provision for the direct election of representatives to these seats.
  4. Put an end to military rule effective under the guise of operation “Uttoron” and withdraw the military from Chittagong Hill Tracts.
  5. Stop the use of the settlers, who have been settled with a political motive, as a tool of national repression and rehabilitate them honourably with means of livelihood either in their respective districts or in any other plain district.
  6. Recognise customary land rights and grant full right to land management in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

 

Supplementary demands

1. Political

  1. Stop military interference in the democratic rights including public meetings and rallies and create a peaceful democratic atmosphere in the Chittagong Hill Tracts;
  2. Put an end to military patrol, raid, operation and encirclement and stop torture, detention and harassment of the villagers;
  3. Reverse the process of construction of an Artillery and Air Force Training centre and a firing range in Bandarban and stop the construction of new army camps and expansion of old ones in the Chittagong Hill Tracts;
  4. Publish white papers on all the massacres that have taken place so far including mass killings at Kalampati, Feni, Matiranga-Gomti, Logang, Longudu and Naniachar and bring the perpetrators to justice;
  5. Stop the killing, arrest, torture and harassment of UPDF members and supporters; withdraw the false cases filed against them; and release the detainees immediately.

2. Economic

  1. Formulate and implement a transparent state policy towards the overall development of the backward nationalities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts;
  2. Reconstitute the CHT Development Board after de-politicizing it and involve the people in the process of formulating and implementing development projects;
  3. Stop exploitation of poor people and the process of pushing them towards moral degradation by NGOs including Grameen Bank and ASA in the name of micro credit programme;

3. Land

  1. Nullify leases and settlement of land granted to non-local individual entrepreneurs in the name of creating tea, orange and rubber plantations;
  2. Stop land grabbing and land acquisition by the government and army; and stop the ejection of Jumma people from their lands on the pretext of so-called afforestation programme, creating Eco park and animal sanctuary and building army camp and training centres.

4. Agriculture

  1. Provide agricultural subsidy; provide loan on easy terms and supply equipment, fertilizer, seeds etc necessary for agricultural production at cheaper prices; and arrange for irrigation during farming seasons;
  2. Assist the farmers in marketing their agricultural products and make sure they get a reasonable price for their products;
  3. Write off agricultural loan of those farmers affected by floods, droughts and other natural calamities and grant interest free loan to them; and assist the small and marginalized peasants in their agricultural production;
  4. Introduce a special food rationing system during the time of “Raad” (famine like situation) from the month of Ashar to Ashwin (June – September) in various places of Chittagong Hill Tracts including Sajek, Horina and the remote areas of Bandarban;
  5. Set up cold storage for the preservation of fruits such as pineapples, jackfruits etc. produced by the farmers of Chittagong Hill Tracts with hard labour;
  6. Delimit the water mark of Kaptai dam in such a manner that it becomes useful for the sowing and harvesting seasons; and publicize the issue of the rise and fall of the watermark by announcement on radio and television, in newspapers and by loudspeakers;
  7. Strictly control jum cultivation, take initiative to introduce modern farming in the hills and rehabilitate the jum cultivators;
  8. Stop environmentally harmful tobacco production in agricultural land sponsored by multinational companies.

5. Small and Cottage industry

Take effective steps including providing loans on easy terms for the expansion of small and cottage industries. To this end, establish a cooperatives bank with local capital investment.

6. Commerce and Industry

  1. Employ the hill people on priority basis in the industries and factories established in the Chittagong Hill Tracts; and train them to become skilled labourers;
  2. Set up local raw-material-based industries in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and employ the permanent residents in these industries;
  3. Give priority and special privilege to the backward and capital starved Jummas in respect of trade and commerce.

7. Language, education and culture

  1. Stop aggression of hegemonic culture in CHT and take effective steps to preserve and promote the languages and cultures of the ethnic nationalities; Set up a television station in Chittagong Hill Tracts and broadcast programmes daily for the area;
  2. Set up a separate education board for the Chittagong Hill Tracts; fix quota for Jumma students in different higher educational institutions and provide stipend to poor and brilliant students;
  3. Take measures to impart education in ethnic nationalities’ own languages up to primary level; remove from text books those parts which contain degrading remarks on the ethnic minorities and replace it with the history of their valorous tradition and glorious past; constitute an education commission for the composition of primary text books in the languages of the ethnic nationalities;
  4. Stop the use of derogatory term “Tribal” in reference to the ethnic minorities in government documents and media outlets including radio and television; and instead use the term “ethnic minorities or nationalities”;
  5. Refrain from distorting the local names of places and restore the original names of the distorted ones;
  6. Change the name of Tribal Cultural Institute to National Minorities Cultural Institute;
  7. Mark at last 3 days as government holiday for the convenience of celebrating traditional Boisabi festival in Chittagong Hill Tracts; for the Christian community declare 25 and 26 December as official holiday;
  8. Develop the existing hill student’s hostels at Dhaka and Chittagong into multi storied buildings; and for their proper superintendence and caretaking, form a committee comprising elderly persons from three hill districts;
  9. Ban and strictly put an stop to the exhibition of obscene VDOs and sale and distribution of vulgar books and magazines; strictly check gambling, lottery and other anti-social activities in the name of open-air entertainment shows;
  10. Take effective steps to save the youths from the tentacles of alcohol, gambling and drug addiction; and provide medical treatment to and rehabilitate the drug addicts;

8. Women’s right

  1. Stop rape and repression of women by military personnel and settlers in the Chittagong Hill Tracts; arrest and punish the rapists;
  2. Arrest and punish Lt. Ferdous and his accomplices responsible for the abduction of Kalpana Chakma;
  3. Punish all those army personnel and individual settlers who are involved in rape incidents taken place so far; and bring the rapists and murders of school girl Runa Chakma in Dighinala to justice;

9. Repatriated refugees and internally displaced persons

  1. Complete the rehabilitation of the refugees repatriated from India;
  2. Initiate rehabilitation of internally displaced persons and drop the non-locals from the list (of IDPs);

10. Religion

Remove discrimination in respect of practice of religion and religious sanctions; stop attack on and harassment of priests and Buddhist monks; stop sacrilege of religious institutions by army personnel.

 11. Environment

  1. Take effective steps to protect natural environment and bio-diversity in the Chittagong Hill Tracts;
  2. Ban the plantation, in the name of afforestation, of different alien species of trees such as Acacia, Eucalyptus, and teak which are harmful to the local environment;
  3. Prohibit and stop the killing of and trading in wild animals and birds; and take effective efforts to protect and preserve the endangered species of wild life;
  4. Stop the construction of Baghaihat – Sajek road as it poses threats to the bio-diversity and environment;
  5. Stop wanton quarrying of stones in the hilly areas and cutting of hills; restrict the movement of peoples who visit Keokradong and other parts of Bandarban under the garb of tourist;
  6. Ensure that trawlers, boats and lunches which ply on Kaptai lake have fitness certificates;
  7. Make sure that no vehicles abandoned in metropolitan cities for being harmful to the environment are allowed to ply in the Chittagong Hill Tracts;
  8. Stop the supply of hundreds of thousands tons of firewood every year for the use in brick kilns set up in CHT and its adjoining areas.

12. Healthcare

  1. Ensure the right to free medical service; take effective measures to eradicate malaria; take steps to reach the medical care to the doorsteps of the people by increasing the number of hospitals and healthcare centres; establish medical college, homeo-medical college and nurse training centres in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
  2. Provide recognition to the traditional Medicare system based on herbal medicine and take effective measures to mordernise this system.

13. Security

  1. Form a ‘Special Hill Regiment’ or ‘Mountain Brigade’ with members drawn from Jumma youths with a view to strengthening security of the country in general and Chittagong Hill Tracts in particular;
  2. Involve the local people in matters relating to security of this region;
  3. Employ 60 per cent of BDR personnel deployed in Chittagong Hill Tracts for border security from the Jumma youths;
  4. Disband the so-called VDP (Village Defence Party) and paramilitary Ansars in the Chittagong Hill Tracts;
  5. Employ 60 percent of the police and Armed Police forces deployed in Chittagong Hill Tracts from the Jumma people.

 

14. Employment

  1. Make rule barring transfer of the third and fourth class employees, who have permanent resident status in Chittagong Hill Tracts, outside the area;
  2. Refrain from appointing officers, who have racist and communalist prejudices, to the higher positions of the administration of the Chittagong Hill Tracts including the post of Deputy Commissioner; give priority to the Jumma officers in those appointments;
  3. Provide special quota for the Jumma people in Bangladesh Civil Service and in the commission ranks of the three Armed Forces.

15. Microscopic nationalities

  1. Formulate and implement a special state policy with regard to the overall development – including education, culture and employment – of the microscopic nationalities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts other than the Chakmas, Marmas and Tripuras;
  2. Take up special programme to increase the number of their population.

16. Miscellaneous

  1. Build a monument in memory of the warrior heroes who fought against British aggression in Chittagong Hill Tracts;
  2.  Mark the currency notes, banks notes and postal cards in Chakma, Marma and Tripura languages along with Bangla and English;
  3. Introduce mobile telephone network in Chittagong Hill Tracts without delay;
  4. Employ 90 per cent of employees in government and non-government tourist hotels and motels in the Chittagong Hill Tracts from the Jumma people; and make provision for time to time inspection of these hotels by prominent elderly persons.

[Adopted unanimously at the first national congress of the Party held in Dhaka from 26 – 28 November 2006]  

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