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Chittagong Hill Tracts

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The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is an area of 13,180 km2 in south-eastern Bangladesh, on the border with India and Myanmar (Burma). CHT is under the Chittagong division and has three districts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban.

Population

The population of CHT is between 1 million and 1.5 million.

About 60% of the population adhere to Theravada Buddhism, most of whom belong to one of these tribal groups. Others adhere to Animism, Islam and Christianity.

The local tribals, collectively known as the Jumma, include the Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Tenchungya, Chak, Pankho, Mru, Murung, Bawm, Lushai, Khyang, and Khumi.

History

Chittagong Hill Tracts was once known as Korpos Mohol, the name used until 1860. As of 2 December 1997, it is an autonumous region divided into three districts, namely, Chengmi [Hagracuri (Khagrachari) Hill District], Gongkabor (Rangamati Hill District), and Arvumi (Bandarban Hill District).

During the 1970s and 80s, there have been attempts by the Government to resettle the area with Bangladeshi settlers, a tendency prevelant in most sub-continental governments of the day including India and Pakistan. However, these attempts were protested by the tribals, who formed a guerilla force called Shanti Bahini. As a result of the tribal resistence movement successive governments turned the Hill Tract into an extensive militarised zone.

Bangladeshi Army in the Hill Tract have been accused of numerious human rights violations. Military personals have been accused to extra-judicial killings, rape, abduction etc. Amongst these, the incident of missing Chakma political activist Ms Kalpana Chakma in 1996 created widespread condemnation.

Following years of unrest, a deal was signed between the Government of Bangladesh and the tribal leaders granting limited levels of autonomy to the elected council of the 3 hill districts.

The 1996 Peace Treaty signed between the then Sheikh Hasina Government and the Jana Shanghati Shamiti or Shanti Bahini have been opposed by the opposition parties as well as a fraction of the tribal rebels. Opposition Parties at the time argued the autonomy that was given in the treaty was far reaching and ignored the Bengali settlers. The successive Khaleda Zia government promised to implement the peace treaty, despite their opposition to it during the previous government's term.

See Also

es:Trechos de colinas de Chittagong ja:チッタゴン丘陵地帯

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