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Larma, Manabendra Narayan


Larma, Manabendra Narayan (1941-1983) lawyer, politician, propounder of Jumia nationalism and founder of parbatya chattagram jana-samhati samiti. He passed Matriculation examination in 1958 from Rangamati Government High School and obtained his graduation in 1963 from Chittagong Government College. He obtained BEd degree in 1968 from Comilla Teachers' Training College, LLB degree in 1970 from Chittagong Law College and joined the Chittagong district bar.

Manabendra Larma was associated with political movement in his student life, participated in Jumia student movement in 1956 and organised the hill tract student conference in 1962. Consequent upon the implementation of the Kaptai Hydro-electric Project in 1960, hundreds of hilly families were evicted from their agricultural land and homestead. Larma pioneered a movement for realising proper compensation and for rehabilitation of the displaced hilly people. He was arrested on 10 February 1963 under the East Pakistan Public Security Ordinance. Having been released from confinement on 8 March 1965 Larma devoted himself to infuse political consciousness among the Jumia community. He successfully united the people of ten different ethnic groups of Chittagong Hill Tracts and formed an organisation of their own. Larma was elected member of the East Pakistan Provincial Assembly in 1970 as an independent candidate.

Manabendra Larma was the exponent of Jumia nationalism which he aspired to get recognised along with the state nationalism. With this end in view he floated on 15 February 1972 a political organisation styled as Parbatya Chattagram Jana-samhati Samiti. Larma was elected a member of the jatiya sangsad in 1973 as a nominee of the Jana-samhati Samiti.

The attempts for realisation of demands through constitutional process having been foiled, Larma took resort to armed struggle for ensuring distinct identity of the Jumia people. With this end in view an armed wing known as shanti bahini (peace force) was formed in 1973 under the auspices of the Jana-samhati Samiti. But ultimately internecine conflict accrued in the armed wing, and a parallel organisation named Jatiya Gana-parisad (National People's Council) was constituted. This sectarial wrangle had its gradual deterioration, and at one stage Larma was assassinated on 10 November 1983. [Rozina Kader]