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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Anti-militancy rally Nov 12

Source: The Daily Star News

Shamprodaikota, Jongibad Birodhi Mancha (SJBM), a citizens' platform against militancy and communalism, will hold a mass procession and rally in the city on November 12 demanding stern actions against religious extremism.

They also demanded ban on other religious extremist parties like Hizb ut-Tahrir who have been involved in promoting militancy in the country.

The demands came from a press conference at Liberation War Museum in the city.

The speakers at the press conference blamed Jamaat-e-Islami for promoting militant activities in the county saying most of the arrested militants were involved in the politics of Jamaat in the past.

Ajoy Roy, president of Sammilito Samajik Andolan, presided over the press conference. Prof Syed Anwar Hossain of Dhaka University read out a written statement at the press conference.

Scrap decision to conduct CHT land survey

Source: The Daily Star News

Speakers at a dialogue yesterday urged the CHT Land Commission to scrap its decision to conduct a land survey in Chittagong Hill Tracts without resolving the prevailing land disputes.

Conducting land survey before resolving the disputes stands against the spirit of the CHT peace accord and the traditional land ownership system in the hills, they added.

They also demanded amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001, terming it inconsistent with the CHT peace accord.

They also called for immediate cancellation of lease on lands in the CHT and rehabilitation of Bengali settlers.

The Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) and Chittagong Hill Tracts Forest and Land Rights Protection Movement organised the dialogue at the ALRD auditorium in the capital.

The speakers also pointed out that the decision to complete the land survey within five months is unrealistic.

They said the administration in the hills arbitrarily taking decisions on the land management. But as per the CHT accord, they were supposed to hand over the responsibility to the district council members and Circle chiefs.

Justice Ghulam Rabbani said the existing land disputes must be settled in line with the CHT accord before any survey.

Dr Abul Barakat presented a study conducted by UNDP. According to the study, about 38 percent of Adivasi households in the Chittagong Hill Tracts were forced to relocate at least once during the period from 1977 to 2007.

About 22 percent of households were forcefully evicted from their homestead at least once during this period, it added.

The research also shows that in 82 percent of cases, the land grabbers were Bangali.

On average, every household in CHT lost at least 115 decimals of land during this period.

Dr Abul Barakat also stressed the need to resolve the land disputes before conducting any survey.

Prof Sadeka Halim, a commissioner of the Land Commission, said the land survey guidelines for the plain land cannot be applied to the hills.

Khushi Kabir, chairperson of ALRD, Samsul Huda, executive director of ALRD, Prof Amena Mohsin, Dr Swapan Adnan, member of CHT Commission, Sudatta Bikash Tanchangya and Mangal Kumar Chakma also spoke.