In 1920 Kamini Mohan Dewan establishedParbatya Chattagram Jana Samiti. It was a political organisation of the indigenous tribal people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). During the last stage of India’s freedom struggle against the British, in 1939 Sneha Kumar Chakma was appointed as the General Secretary of this organisation.
As a representative of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samiti, Sneha Kumar met two Indian political leaders Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947, and both of them promised him that CHT would remain with India. Then on 8th July 1947 when the Indian Independence Act was launched, it showed thatCyril Radcliffe(Chairman of the Border Commission) did not accept the submissions of the two Hindu members of the Bengal Boundary Commission – Justice Bijon Mukherjee and Charu Biswas that CHT would be included with India.
Sneha Kumar hoisted the Indian tricolour flag at an official function in Rangamati under Col. GL Hyde on 15th August 1947. On 17th August, Louis Mountbatten announced the Radcliffe Award on the All India Radio, which was a plan to partition India into two separate sovereign states – India and Pakistan. As an unexpected surprise, under this plan CHT was included within East Pakistan and not India. On 21st August, the Pakistan Army marched to Rangamati and pulled down the Indian flag and instead hoisted the Pakistani flag. An announcement was made by the army for the arrest of the Chakma leaders.
Chakma leaders called for a united meeting and decided to strongly oppose this Radcliffe Award, which failed to fulfil their promise of including CHT within India. Sneha Kumar managed to escape to India and stepped to seek help from Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru for resolving the territory dispute. Patel agreed to provide military assistance if necessary, but he was limited as a ‘deputy’ of the then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru.
After 50 days, Sneha Kumar could get an appointment with Prime Minister Nehru in his office in Delhi. He explained to Nehru that people of CHT were ready to stand up against the Radcliffe Award and fight with Pakistan if India would help them.
Sneha Kumar said to Nehru –“I am fighting Pakistan to bring back CHT to India. Will you kindly supply me only arms & ammunition?”
Nehru got up from his official chair in anger and shouted at him – “Do you propose to bring India again under foreign rule?”
Thus, it clearly indicates that Nehru forgot the promise he made to Sneha Kumar before the declaration of independence to India and Pakistan. However, the contribution of Sneha Kumar Chakma as a struggling fighter for CHT’s freedom could neither be ignored nor forgotten and will always be remembered.
After few days he returned to his Calcutta (Kolkata) camp and tap some of his private resources. Eventually, in 1948 and 1949 he telegraphed several copies of his private conversations with various political leaders to the UNO and Government of India authorities to resolve the injustice done upon the CHT.