Published:  02:03 AM, 15 July 2017

Why delay in resettling Longadu victims?


Even though one and a half months have elapsed since Longadu Adivasi community of Rangamati came under heavy arson attacks earlier in June this year, the ethnic minority people have not been able to return their homes. As we know the massive arson attacks burnt down more than 250 houses of indigenous people to ashes while at the same time killed one older woman, cases against as many as 300 people were filed on the charge of the attacks. Thousands of indigenous people, including women and children, were forced to flee their homes and take shelters in the jungles.

Those wretched people, reportedly, are now either living under the open sky or staying in schools, temples or some relatives' houses. Amid severe food shortages coupled with incessant monsoon rain, these hill people are passing through an inhuman situation. They were promised to have them immediately get back to their original places, but that has not been done as of today.

When a humanitarian crisis erupts like the one in Rangamati, the distressed people principally need support, financial and infrastructural, followed by the process of their relocation. Reinstatement of security and a fitting employment opportunity also come to the front. A successful confrontation of such an emergency depends not only on planning for strategic actions but also on timely execution of those.

As rehabilitation works could not have been begun, the matter of restoring normalcy in the region may take some more time. Also, the future of their children may be darkened, for schools of the area have remained closed for over a month as those have been occupied by the homeless people, and study materials, more specifically books and uniforms of the children, were burnt down in the attacks. How could they resume their studies if new books are not supplied? The concerned education department of the locality should take actions immediately.

We, at the same time, should have feelings for the ethnic minority people since they have remained neglected for years. A continued unrest across the region throughout the decade of 1980s was successfully contained in 1997 through the signing of historic Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord. Any illegitimate attack on the hill people might well reflect as an attempt to violate the core principles of the treaty.

For this reason of course, the evildoers must face due punishment while rights of the indigenous community need to be preserved with an assurance of no harm to them any further and of a proper resettlement of those who have been displaced through the deadly arson attacks.



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