Mahmudul Hoque Moni*
Thirteen ethnic communities live in three hilly districts out of Sixty-four in Bangladesh, known as Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) (Hossain, 2013). For a number of socio-political and cultural reasons (see Mohsin, 2000 and 2003: 13-38), the community leaders (mainly led by two large communities, Chakma and Marma) fought for self-determination.
The bloody twenty-five years insurgent between the rebellion armed forces and the government armed forces ended when the rebellion ethnic community leaders of CHT and the Bangladesh government signed the Peace Accordi on December 2, 1997 (Rashiduzzaman, 1998: 653).
The Bangladesh government handed over some regional political autonomy to the ethnic leaders, mainly to bring peace and stability to the region and to unify the nation. The then government of Bangladesh termed it as a “landmark achievement” (Rashiduzzaman, 1998: 654) towards achieving democracy. Since the signing of the accord, 17 years have passed but the government could not implement some key provisions of it. Rather, fresh political, cultural and socio-economic issues have gained considerable momentum.
On the background of diverse identity and culture, the development of CHT has been a real challenge for the Government of Bangladesh.
*Mahmudul Hoque Moni is the Co-founder of Say for Development. He is a Chevening Scholar studying MA in Governance and Development at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in the UK.
[i] The Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord has 19 clauses in 4 parts and can be found at http://www.chtdf.org/index.php/cht-issues/peace-accord (accessed on November 21, 2015)
Hossain, M. S. (2013). Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Issue. Dhaka: The Daily Star.
Mohsin, A. (2000). Book Review on The Chittagong Hill Tracts: Living in a Borderland. Sarwatch , 2 (2), 139-143.
Mohsin, A. (2000). Identitiy Politics and Hegemony: The Chittagong Hill Tracts Bangladesh. Identity Culture and Politics , 1, 78-88.