Indian Chakmas are set to observe August 17 as the Black Day when the Baloch regiment of the Pakistani Army snatched the Tricolor and put Pakistani flag on Chittagong on August 17, 1947.
Now the Chittagong is in Bangladesh and its demography, once Buddhist-majority, has been altered and it is one of the world’s highest militarized zones. The persecution of Chakmas forced them out of Chittagong and they are now forced to take shelter in India. Indian Chakmas have been raising voice against their persecution for long.
Santi Vikas Chakma, Secretary of the Chakma National Council of India informed the media they had decided about the observation of the Black Day in March this year in Guwahati.
Indian Chakmas wanted the Chittagong hill tracts area to come with India as it had 97.5% tribal population, however, instead of receiving help in joining India, they were left all alone to face the Pakistan’s Baloch regiment.
The North East Today, quotes Santi Vikas Chakma narrating his pain:
” According to the Partition formula, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, which had 97.5 per cent population of the indigenous communities, should have been included in India and this is what the Buddhist tribals had been hoping for. Even the late king Tridib Roy had raised the Indian flag atop the royal palace but it was pulled down by the officers of the Baloch regiment on August 17.
The Chakmas and other tribal groups of Chittagong Hill Tracts are the most unfortunate people, orphaned by the Partition. Initially the Pakistani government and later military dictatorships of Bangladesh reduced us to a minority and took away our land by government-sponsored demographic invasion. The tribals in Chittagong Hill Tracts are second-class citizens, deprived of their rights.”
He further narrated the woes in the following words:
“Three of our chieftains and late leader Sneha Kumar Chakma had met Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel in Delhi to press for inclusion of Chittagong Hill Tracts in India but nothing concrete was done and we have been paying the price since then.”
How Indian Chakmas became Pakistanis
He, as per the report, said that Radcliffe had undertaken the work in India on July 8 within 35 days he decided the fate of the Chakmas by submitting his final report to the last viceroy Louis Mountbatten on August 13!
Worse was that even Mountbatten did not do much to help the Chakmas and instead sat on the report till the afternoon of August 16, 1947, and on August 17, the report was published sealing the fate of the Indian Chakmas, making them Pakistani within a span of a few hours.
Indian Chakmas living in different parts of India will join the protest against Pakistani atrocities and forceful occupation tomorrow.