Agartala, Aug 17 (IANS) Around 7.5 lakh Chakma tribals observed a ‘black day’ on Wednesday to protest the occupation of their original homeland in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh.
Over 2.50 lakh Chakma tribals reside in Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. A section of the tribals also live in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi.
Over five lakh Chakma tribals have been living in mountainous CHT in southeast Bangladesh.
“The Chakma tribals in India and Bangladesh are observing the black day to protest the forced occupation of their original homeland in CHT in erstwhile East Pakistan by the Pakistani army,” Chakma National Council of India (CNCI) secretary Santi Vikash Chakma told reporters.
He said on August 17, 1947 when the rest of India had been celebrating independence from the British, darkness had descended on the Chakma homeland in CHT as the Baloch regiment of the Pakistani Army had invaded the area and pulled down the Indian national flag raised atop the Chakma king’s royal palace in Rangamati, one of the 11 districts in Chittagong division.
“According to the the Partition formula, the CHT comprising 97.5 per cent tribal population should have been included in India and this is what the Buddhist tribals had been keen about,” Chakma said.
He said the scattering of Chakma tribal people to various parts of northeast India was a direct result of the forcible occupation.
“The Chakma tribals and other tribals of CHT have been orphaned by Partition. First the Pakistani government and then the military dictators of Bangladesh reduced us to minority by sponsoring demographic invasion”.
“The tribals in CHT are now second class citizens. The commission led by British barrister Cyril Radcliffe had not taken into account the demographic realities of CHT and had not even recommended a plebiscite before forcing the tribal people under Pakistan,” he said.