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Security Proposal of Chittaong Hill Tract Conflict

Updated on July 21, 2015

Chittagong Hill Tracts Conflict and one Solution

Chittagong hill Tracts (CHTs) located in south-east Bangladesh between north-east India and the Arakan hills of Burma; covering an area of 5,093 square miles. In 1860, British period, “by Act XXII of the Commonwealth, the hill and forest tracts to the east of Chittagong district were withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the civil, criminal, and revenue courts and offices of the Regulation district of Chittagong and made into a separate district, known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and placed under the administration of a superintendent.” (A, Kabir. 2005) CHT conflict started from 1947 when India and Pakistan was divided on the indigenous land and when Bengalis started to settle in that Indigenous land. From 1947, the conflict going through different phases and every instance Indigenous people of CHTs face subjugation from the local Bengalis, Bangladesh military and even Bangladesh Parliament. Survival International, which works for tribal peoples worldwide, has noted their extreme plight claiming a figure of 125 000 fatalities since 1947. UN already focused in this issue and I assume that if UN interferes about this issue by questioning indigenous right of CHT people then the Conflict of CHTs could be solved.

At first, CHTs conflict started when British divided the Indigenous land in 1947 between East Pakistan and India. In terms of physical geography, the CHT’s 13,000 square kilometers are mostly covered with forest and remote mountain range, stretching for 18,000 kilometers from western Burma to an area which it merge with the eastern Himalayas in China, which is controlled by Bangladesh as a product of the post 1860 British advance to the east and northeast of Bengal. This artificial boundary demarcates the political separation of CHT from Myanmar (Burma) to the south and the Indian state of Tripura and Mizoram to the north and east. The origin of CHT people is Sino-Tibatan and the origin of Benglalies are a "mixed race comprising proto-Australoid, Mongoloid Caucasoid and Dravidian strains” (Aftab Ahmed, 1993). CTG were matrilineal and their traditional cultivation is Jumma. In this type of cultivation people did not have their own land properly. Tribal people cultivate Jumma for two or three years then they change their location because if they cultivate more than three years the land become infertile. On the other hand Bengalis are Patrilineal, they had their own land and properly but the problem is that Begali population increase so rapidly, especially Muslim grows rapidly because Muslim came to East Pakistan after deviation of 1947. These enlarge people grab the land of Indigenous people of CHTs. When Bengal started to grab their land their whole cultural and economical circle became distressed and their lifestyle has been changed. Bengali people started to rape the indigenous girl and massacre when they started to live in CHTs.

Then Kaptai Dam in 1960 in Pakistan period made huge suffering to Hill Tract people. Indigenous people who are living in CHTs had to leave low land for increase of water for Kaptai Dam. The palace of Chakma drawn under water and most of the CHT’s people had to shift from lower part of the hill to upper part of the hill. Gradual limitation of cultivation lands and attacks from Bengal break their limit of tolerance. In March 1972 after civil war of Bangladesh, Bangladesh parliament violate traditional rights of indigenous people of CHT while the constitutional and political measures take the name of Bengali or Bangladeshi nationalism. To counter this moves the hill people formed PCJSS, Parbattya Chattagram Janashonghoti Samity (United People’s Party of the Chittagong Hill Tract). When Manobendra Narayan Larma made following demands to the president of Bangladesh, Shekh Mujibur Rahman; 1) Autonomy for the CHT with its own legislature, 2) Retention of the 1900 CHT Manual 7, 3) Continuation of theoffice of tribal chief, 4) Provisions restriction the amendment of the CHT Manual and imposing a ban on the influx of non-tribal people into the CHT. But the Prime Minister Mujib rejected the demands and told indigenous people to become Bengalis and in that way he ignored the identity of all Indigenous cultures. Then in January 1973, PCJSS formed a military wing, SB, Shanti Bahini (Peace Force).Thus the conflict of CHTs begins. After assassination of Shekh Mujib General Zia became the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. In 1980 Zia send Bengal settler in Indigenous land by making Gucchogranm (Small Village) and stationed Bangladesh military. There were many large killing within this period by Bangladesh military. One of the large one is Logang killing.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, prolong the negotiation process that primarily came from the government of Bangladesh. According to UNDP, peace negotiation process belongs to parliament during Zia Regime (1975-1980), Ershad Regime (1980-), Caretaker government (December 1990-march 1991), Democratic Regime – Khaleda Zia (BNP) (1990-1996), Democratic Regime- Sheikh Hasina (Awami League) (1996-2001). On December 2, 1997, a peace accord was signed between the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) and the Parbattya Chattagram Janashonghoti Samity (PCJSS or United People's Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts - CHT), the political front that has waged an armed struggle for the autonomy of the CHT since the mid 1970s. However, the conflict has not get any solution and PCJSS has been divided into two part in 1998. Name of them are United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) and PCJSS. In that way CHTs became lose their unity as well as power. Again, recently there is another party Jago Parvatta Bashi formed by Bengal settler of CTG who started to dominate indigenous people of CHTs. From 2003, UNDP has been working for CHTs and INDP figure out the reason behind the conflict and show a proposal of Peace making process through Creating political environment, Trust building, Popular participation, Political gain, Divisive politics in parliamentary process on Bangladesh.

In this circumstance, I prefer UN is the best organization for peace building of CHT conflict because, UNDP research both CHT history and GOB history thoroughly thus they understood the negative point of both parties. Again, as a UN membership country Bangladesh parliament ignore the rules of indigenous people and neglected indigenous cultures of CHT. If UN question about UN indigenous policy and how Bangladesh Parliament deal with that issue then the conflict will solve. Furthermore, I suggest that the Bengali people those live in CHT should be push back to their original land from where they came, with accommodation, and handover the power system to indigenous people then the problem will solve and Bangladesh will enriched a asset of indigenous culture that will glorify Bangladesh.

Work Citation:

Aftab Ahmed, Ethinicity and Insurgency in Chittagong Hill Tracts Region: A Study of the Crisis of Political Integration in Bangladesh, Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Vol.XXXI, 1993, p.33.

Kabir, A. "Bangladesh: A Critical Review of the Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) Peace Accord." N.p., 2005. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.


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