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Politics and Government


Michaelene Cox

Mentor Department

Politics and Government


The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region of Bangladesh has been witnessing intermittent clashes between tribal and Bengali communities and political groups over a long period of time. People from both tribal and Bengali communities have lost their assets and lives in those conflicts. In the post-liberation war period in Bangladesh since 1972, CHT has maintained to be a place of contention and conflict. There are 11 ethnic groups in CHT residing in this region from the 16th century. After the liberation war of Bangladesh, the representatives of these ethnic groups led by M.N. Larma, founder of the regional political party named Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanhati Samiti (PCJSS), met the then Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with four points demand of autonomy with own legislature for CHT, retention of CHT regulations act 1900 in CHT, Continuation of Circle Chief offices, and restriction on the influx of Bengali people from plain lands. The state's denial of their demands led the ethnic groups to form a peace force named 'Shanti Bahini' in 1976. They began an armed insurgency against the government of Bangladesh in 1977. Consequently, Bangladesh Army was deployed to counter the insurgency that led to violent ethnic conflict which formally came to end in 1997 through signing the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord between PCJSS and the government of Bangladesh. However, sporadic violence among various actors is continuing in CHT. Although it is widely discussed in literature that the inadequate and incomplete implementation of CHT accord has laid ground for continuing violence and tension in CHT, thus threatening human security, however, I tried to explore whether '(dis)trust' has been understood as a social context by the scholars in explaining this human security issue. Exploring a significant number of available English literature, it is found that there is a gap in existing literature in understanding the issue of (dis)trust regarding the continuation of ethnic tension. This is qualitative research that follows a constructivist approach that argues that the act and performance of actors in a given condition are driven by social context. Taking community security as an aspect of UN human security approach, I argue that dis(trust) is the social context that drives the actions of the actors in the context of CHT.

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