Baneswar Chakma Passes Away at 84

Kamalanagar, January 11: Dangu Baneswar Chakma, a veteran Chakma leader passed away yesterday at the age of 84 due to old age who has been lying in sick bed for quite a long time after he had a fall last year. He has spent the later part of his life in Nalbonya, a village near Kamalanagar, headquarter of CADC. He is survived by a son and a daughter.

Dangu Baneswar Chakma had been a part of India’s freedom struggle at local level, to make CHT a part of India during 1947, and struggled for the creation an Autonomous District Council for Chakmas in Mizoram. He worked with freedom fighters like Smt. Kalpana Dutta and Loke Nath.

Baneswar Chakma, son of Phaireia Chakma was born on 12th June 1929 at a village called Kakparyya under the police station Longudu in CHT in the then undivided India. He passed the 9th standard but could not complete his 10th class.

In 1947, he represented along with Sneha Kumar Chakma (in Tripura) and Ganeshyam Dewan  (in Bangladesh) demanding inclusion of CHT into India. In 1957, Baneswar Chakma was the Secretary of the Tribal Union (Regional Party) which demanded CHT’s inclusion in India. In 1967, he was one of the representatives which met Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Delhi on the CHT issue. In 1959, Baneswar Chakma taught as a teacher at Primary School at Ugadasury (near Haulong Sora), Mizoram. He also held the post of Overseer under CADC.

He has been a part of the delegations to Shillong, the then capital of Assam, led by Kristo Mohan  Chakma from time to time demanding Chakma Regional Council with headquarter at Demagiri. He served as General Secretary to Block Congress Committee, Demagiri in 1967-1972 at the time of Lushai Hill District Council. He was the second president of Chakma District Congress Committee in 1982.

He was part of the delegation that met Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India demanding adequate compensation for the Chakma families evicted from the Dampa Wildlife Sanctuary in Mamit district of Mizoram in 1989-90.

Yesterday he was given a grand funeral. His body was taken around the town of Kamalanagar with chanting of slogans to his glory. People paid their last respect to the hero and CADC declared a holiday yesterday to his tribute.