CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS (CHT) LAND ISSUE: CHALLENGES AND WAY AHEAD
Keywords:CHITTAGONG HILL TRACTS, LAND ISSUE
Land issue is the most contentious issue that’s restraining the pace and progress of the historic Peace Accord signed between the government of Bangladesh and the PCJSS. The genesis of the problem dates back to the history spanning over more than three hundred years from now. In an effort to establish control on land, successive governments made laws that eventually alienated both people and the land of CHT. The issue got further complicated as Bangladesh framed its constitution in 1972 based on democracy, nationalism, secularism, and socialism without considering the identity of the ethnic minorities understandably to assimilate them with mainstream Bangladeshis. Following this, the Tribal nationality and autonomy issue came to the forefront that had plunged the nation into a deadly insurgency. However, in 1997, the government signed a comprehensive peace agreement, undertook policy initiatives, undertook development activities, and formed a Land Commission with relevant Act for the disposal of land issue. Due to lack of clearly deﬁned jurisdiction and authority, mistrust between the Chairman and members of the commission, non-cooperation from the regional leaders, absence of agreeable methods of solving the land disputes, the issue remained clogged in apparent stalemate. The Garos, Khasias, Monipuries including several other tribes peacefully living in different parts of Bangladesh abiding by the laws of the land and the constitution, but they never had any animosity with the Bengalis nor feeling of cultural decaying. But the Chakma including other tribes living in CHT are in a bitter conﬂict with the Bengalis and the government over land issue. It leaves with an idea that the land issue has many facets which are of signiﬁcant research interest for the academicians, policy makers and others. This study made an endeavor to explore all those facets and undercurrents in the light of historical evidence, practical experiences, and primary data gathered through extensive interactions, interviews, and ﬁeld surveys. However, strong political will backed by wholehearted efforts will be needed by all the stakeholders to resolve this issue. By all considerations, the resolution of land issue is of prime importance to the implementation of the Peace Accord and the overall development of Bangladesh.
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