UPDF’s appeal to the JSS
The formation of the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF) is a manifestation of the dissatisfaction of the Jummas with the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord. The formation of a political party such as the UPDF is a natural outcome in a democratic political system where people can freely express their views.
Since its inception, the UPDF has tried its best to avoid conflict with the JSS. UPDF does not believe that the future of the Jummas lies in the destruction of the JSS. Rather, the future of the Jummas lies in unity. Even the JSS stated that the CHTs Accord is not the end of the struggle. In order to impress this fact on the international community, however, there needs to be a concerted effort to spell out the Jummas’ reservations with regard to the Accord. The UPDF sought to provide just such a platform to those Jummas who wish to express their reservations to the Accord and continue the struggle for the right of self-determination. Unfortunately, the JSS considered the UPDF a threat to its existence. Driven by its ambition to be the sole representative of the Jumma people, the JSS sought to “exterminate” the UPDF activists.
The conflict between the UPDF and the JSS is a political reality in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The UPDF wants to put an immediate end to it.
In this regard, UPDF has been calling upon the JSS leadership to cease its attacks on UPDF members and come forward to forge a united front on the basis of a minimum program. In its discussions with the JSS leadership on 23 September 2000, the UPDF put forward a three-point proposal. These are as follows:
- All attacks against the UPDF and the people should be immediately stopped.
- A joint movement against the government on the basis of a minimum program should be launched.
- In order to launch a joint movement a “Jumma National United Front” should be established comprising all the patriotic forces of the Jumma people including the UPDF and the JSS.
UPDF delegates also made it clear that the UPDF would support the JSS’ endeavor to put pressure upon the government to implement the CHT Accord, provided the JSS desisted from violence against the UPDF and its supporters. UPDF however is yet to receive a reply to these proposals.
UPDF appeals to all the Jummas abroad, indigenous peoples and their organizations, and the international community to impress upon the JSS to heed the voice of reason and resolve the UPDF-JSS conflict through peaceful means.