UPDF Declares General Amnesty for JSS Militants

The declaration, which is the first of its kind, came during the seventh founding anniversary of the Party on 26 December 2005. The amnesty will be effective till the Boisabi Festival in April this year.
In a leaflet issued on the occasion of the seventh founding anniversary, UPDF said, “In the wake of people’s plea on various occasions and in the greater national interest, we, on the occasion of the seventh founding anniversary of the UPDF, declare General Amnesty for the armed militants of the Jana Samhati Samiti as a show of our goodwill. It will last till the Boisabi Festival in April 2006”.
UPDF will treat with forgiving manner those who will renounce destructive armed violence and come to the peaceful path, the leaflet further said.
The announcement of general amnesty has been welcomed by general masses in the CHT who continue to bear the brunt of JSS-sponsored armed violence in CHT.
The Jana Samhati Samiti unleashed the armed militants immediately after the CHT treaty to silence criticism to their actions and to make sure that no rival is born on the political horizon.
With the cold blooded murder of Pradeep Lal and Kussum Priya in Panchari in April 1998, the JSS militants introduced politics of killings in CHT. Since then they have killed more than two hundred members and supporters of the UPDF in the most brutal fashion. The government and the army often provide tacit support to such destructive violence and allow the armed militants to enjoy a kind of impunity. No JSS militants have so far been arrested and put on trial for the killings.
A few international organisations raised concern about the situation, but the JSS leaders have always tried to hide behind the CHT treaty they signed with the government of Bangladesh.
UPDF time and again called for cessation of armed violence and invited JSS to talks. However the JSS viewed the offer as a sign of weakness of the UPDF and stepped up its armed offensives with more ferocity. Many, including delegates from international organisations, tried to mediate and bring the JSS to the negotiating table, but due to intransigence of the JSS leadership all those efforts have failed.
Although the continuance of intra-Jumma conflict only serves the interest of the government and its local Jumma partners, the JSS leadership has failed to give any explanation for their refusal to come to a negotiated settlement with the UPDF through discussions.
Prepared by Human Rights Monitoring Cell, United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF). January 05, 2006. Website: www.updfcht.org