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The Chakma National Council of India (CNCI) observed ‘Black Day’ on 17 August in protest against inclusion Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) in East Pakistan during the Partition and Independence of India in 1947, They claimed that CHT is an ‘integral part’ of India and demanded justice from the International Court of Justice for the ‘historic injustice’ purportedly meted out to them.
The protests were held at Kanchanpur, Pecharthal, Manu, Chowmanu, Gandacherra, Karbook, Silachari, Agartala and other locations of the state while maintaining social distancing in view of the Covid-19 situation.
Claiming the ethnic Chakma community as the biggest victim of Partition, Chakma National Council of India’s Tripura vice president Aniruddha Chakma said, “The people of the community across the world will observe the Black Day. We started this observation in 2016 since Chakmas were the biggest victims of Partition of India.” He also said, “Jummo, an umbrella community including 11 tribal clans of CHT are facing oppression from different security forces, feuding political factions and land grabbers, even seven decades after Independence from British yokes,”
He added “We are loyal to India. We wanted to merge with India at the times of East Pakistan. All Chakmas and the rest of Jummo people are still ready to merge with India. Hence, our community is still subjected to oppression continuously. Different security personnel keep disturbing, oppressing them.” Chakmas are caught between clashes of political factions like Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti (PCJSS), UPDF, Sanskarponthis and other factions, he said. “Land grabbing continues at an even higher pace at the hands of settlers or plains people,” he claimed.
Aniruddha added that while Bangladesh government extended shelter to Rohingya refugees in the country, they are trying to grab land in the CHT now as well, adding to the woes of Chakmas. “The only solution to these ills is inclusion of CHT in India,” the Chakma leader stated.
At the time of Independence, 97 per cent non-Muslims, a majority of Buddhists used to live in the CHT. CHT was supposed to be clubbed with India. Chakma leader Sneho Kumar Chakma hoisted the Indian national flag in the CHT on August 15, 1947, and Chakmas observed the Independence Day with rest of Indians, only to find their fate was tied with East Pakistan.
While a large number of people from CHT had then expressed desire to become Indian citizens, a discussion between Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Defense Minister Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel, Pakistan Prime Minister Liyaqat Ali Khan and others over recommendations of Radcliffe boundary commissions ended in leaving CHT with East Pakistan, Aniruddha Chakma explained, adding that the ‘historic injustice’ has been meted out to them ever since.
It is to be mentioned that in 1947 during the partition, Mr Sneha Kumar Chakma’s approach was not acceptable by the then Congress leaders. Sneha Kumar had to wait for 45 days for getting a schedule of Mr Neheru. During their short meeting he did not agree to add Chittagong Hill Tracts with India. Rather he wanted to remain strict with Radcliff plan. Moreover, Congress never wanted kingship within Indian union. So, the demand of Chakma National Council of India (CNCI) doesn’t have any historical basis.