The 26th anniversary of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord is today.
The accord was signed on December 2 in 1997 between the government and the Parbatya Chattogram Jana SanghatiSamiti (PCJSS) during the first tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ending bloody conflicts in three hill districts.
The then JatiyaSangsad (JS) Chief Whip AbulHasnat Abdullah signed the agreement on behalf of the government while Joritindra BodhipriyoLarma (SantuLarma) on behalf of PCJSS.
President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today issued separate messages marking the completion of 26 years of the signing of the historic agreement.
Both the President and the Prime Minister greeted all people in the Chattogram hill districts on the occasion of completion of 26 years of the covenant.
In his message, the President called upon everyone to contribute more to the overall development of the country, including the hill districts.
BSS adds: The head of the state recalled that the historic CHT Peace Accord was signed between the CHT Affairs National Committee and the PCJSS on December 2, 1997 at the initiative of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ending long-standing conflicts.
The President added that the signing of the peace accord at the initiatives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be memorable for peaceful settlement of disputes.
He hoped that CHT will move forward in development and progress in the continuation of the peace accord.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina greeted the countrymen, specially the people of the three hill districts, on the occasion of the completion of 26 years of the historic agreement.
The Prime Minister sought cooperation from all for full implementation of the CHT peace accord and thus building a prosperous, happy and peaceful 'Sonar Bangla' of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through socio-economic development of the hill regions.
On December 2 in 1997, the historic CHT Peace Accord was signed without the mediation of any third party, with a view to stopping bloody conflicts in the CHT, the premier said.
"It is a rare incident in the world history . . . this peace accord brought an end to the long-term bloody racial skirmishes in the CHT region and established the trend of peace and development there," said the Prime Minister.
Sheikh Hasina said achieving the UNESCO Peace Prize is a global recognition to this accord.
The Prime Minister said the post-1975 undemocratic governments (after the assassination of Bangabandhu) had created divisions between the Bangalee and the hill people for their self-interest instead of maintaining social stability there.
Killings, tortures and injustice, grabbing of land and wealth and misuse of the state resources had made the region more unstable, she added.
She said after coming to the power in 2001, the BNP-Jamaat government strongly opposed the accord and tried to create unrest in the area but they failed to do so.
Since coming to power in 2009, Sheikh Hasina said, her government has been implementing massive development programmes in all sectors, including education, health, electricity, communications, infrastructure and mobile networks in the region.
"Last year, we inaugurated 42 bridges on the same day in the hill region," she said, adding that all the bailey bridges in this region are being removed and new bridges are being constructed.
The government has established a Science and Technology University and a Medical College in Rangamati, she said.
Various activities are being carried out by the Land Commission formed with the aim of settling land disputes, she said, adding that development activities are continuing in the three hill districts through Chattogram Hill Tracts Development Board and Hill District Councils.?
The Prime Minister said CHT is no more a backward locality because of the timely steps taken by her government.