Dhaka: In an exclusive and explosive telephonic interview, New Delhi based Foreign Minister of JSS Santu faction (available at +91-11-25398383 or +91-7827813336) told CHTNEWS.com d that he is ready to take over the leadership of the JSS-Santu group from Santu Larma. While replying to the CHTNEWS.Com Bhikkhu stated that “we have a command council at the central level in the JSS and it (taking over leadership from Santu Larma) will happen gradually”.
Elaborating his vision, Bhikkhu stated “I shall not like prasit or 1983 civil war l or Sudhashindu group. Look at the Priti Babu’s group, they had more people, more arms, more support of the people. Why did they fail? Even in the military coup which we saw in Bangladesh except Ershad, nobody has been successful. We saw in Pakistan, we saw in Egypt and many other countries, we saw military coup detat and in Bangladesh again 1/11 i.e. January 2007 despite becoming anti-BNP and anti-Awami League, they have not been successful. Similarly in 1983, the Badi group (Priti faction) was not successful. Thereafter, after the CHTs Accord, UPDF was not successful. Even Bimal Bhante was not successful despite many anti-JSS activities. Even Nandapal Bhante was not successful in his anti-JSS activities. Nobody was successful. Even in 2007, JSS-reformist was formed but they were not successful. Therefore, my vision is not to do like that.”
Giving his strength, Karunalankar Bhikkhu stated “I have military training and therefore, I have ideas about military matters. As I live socially, I have social ideas. And I have taken many administrative training, I have administrative experience. I know even in Britain, the princes are always given military training because a military administrator will know about civil administration but a civil administrator will not know about military administration. Therefore, I had to learn everything. (Please do not mind, I am saying all these openly).”
On specific question from the CHTNEWS.Com as to how Santu Larma worshipped by the cadres and whether it is right to be dependent on one person, whether JSS will be finished after Santu Larma and how he inspires JSS-Santu group cadres, Karunalankar Bhikkhu emphatically stated, “Many say what will happen if Santu Larma dies. I say “no”. We do not worship a subject (Santu) and our object is to bring the rights of Jumma people. Therefore, you have to build your leadership, one person one leader. For example, the US Seal, one seal is one commander. You have to build leadership and commander qualities to be able to run the country. Just because Gandhi is not there does not mean, India will not run; just because Nehru is not there does not mean India will not run; just because Sheikh Mujib is not there does not mean Bangladesh is not running. If we have that kind of mentality, we shall not be able to develop. It is not right to be dependent on one person (Santu Larma). In that case, the heart is broken. For example after the death of M N Larma, the hearts of many cadres were broken. That means they worship subject (Santu Larma), they are concerned about the subject and not the object”. (Question interrupted) For me what leadership will say or do is his matter. People outside and in Rangmati are frustrated with corruption in Rangamati (by Santu Larma). I am also frustrated looking at all these (corruption by Santu) – frustrated why things are not running properly there and we could have developed. Therefore, recently, one cadre said Bhante we are joining JSS-Santu group looking at you (Bhante). I said no…”
On the question of the need to take over the leadership of the JSS-Santu group, Karunalankar Bhikkhu stated “Ok ok (laughs)…. These things (taking over the leadership) are continuing and will continue … You should not worry about these things. These things will automatically come up. We will develop the system. Today, it might be something, tomorrow it might be different. Today, it might be less, tomorrow it might be more, day after tomorrow it might be less … That is the rule. We cannot do everything we want. Further, for a poor nation, if you stretch from head, there is nothing in the feet; if you stretch from the feet, there is nothing in the head. Therefore, we have to do everything after thinking and with patience. In these things, people have to work with maximum, not minimum patience. Those who lose minimum patience will lose finally.”
On the question of requiring military and foreign affairs experience to lead the JSS-Santu group, Karunalankar Bhikkhu stated “I was in the military commission. From there as I have more responsibility, I left the military commission and joined the foreign relations committee.” …. (At this stage, interview is interrupted with other incoming calls for Karunalankar Bhikkhu.)
Karunalankar Bhikkhu’s inner circle include Chariputra Chakma (former Bhikkhu), Revata Bhikkhu, Ashish Babu, Indu Babu, Manash Babu, Journal Babu, Porantu alias Trishul Chakma, Doibarik Babu and Santu Larma’s estranged son-in-law Pradhir Talukdar. Karunalankar Bhikkhu also has support from other powerful sections and friends. His open interview is being seen as a clear message to Santu Larma to resign democratically or face violent uprising.
Read Bengali version of this interview here