“Constitutional recognition of “ASDIBASHI” in Bangladesh”

“Constitutional recognition of “ASDIBASHI” in Bangladesh


The Chittagong Hill Tracts situated in the southeastern part of Bangladesh bordering Burma and India has been known as conflicted zone in South Asia. The conflicting situation between the indigenous peoples and Bengalis was worsened due to the immigration of Bengalis, displacement of the indigenous peoples, and military intervention in the Hill Tracts. At the end of the two- and half-decade-long bloody conflict, an agreement named “Santi Chukti or peace agreement” was signed in December 02, 1997to remove the conflict; nonetheless, still the region is neither a peaceful nor a secured region to its inhabitants. However, the beginning of conflicting situation in the 1970s, the indigenous minorities are to adopt with the mainstream society and culture. Santi Chukti says that the indigenous peoples are communicating with the mainstream Bengalis, focusing on the situations of the indigenous languages among other resources of culture and not only to manage their fear, and conflict in Chittagong Hill Tracts, but also to negotiate the cultural dimension in which the Hill culture is schematized both in the Bengalis views toward Hill culture and the indigenous peoples views on their own culture.

Consequences of conflict:

The indigenous people of Chittagong Hill Tracts[1]— the only extensive hilly area located in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh comprising 5,089 square miles[2] and the hill ranges contain limited cultivable land (3.2 percent)[3], most of it of low quality, in contrast to the fertile multi-cropped alluvial plains of Bangladesh. The Hill Tracts hosts about 11 different indigenous communities [4](Paharis[5]) who are further divided into nearly a hundred different sects. These mongoloid populations of this region differ significantly from the mainstream Bengali populations (Bangalis) in terms of their physical appearance, language, religion, economy and socio-cultural organizations etc. It is one of the Asia’s most ignored mountainous belts where Southeast Asian meets South Asia, which forms a bridge between Bangladesh, Myanmar and India.

Chittagong hill tracks has been contesting between the Paharis or “tribes” of the Hill Tracts and the state or central administration since the British colonial period (1757–1947), continuing after the creation of Pakistan (1947) and independence of Bangladesh (1971). The Pahari seek to preserve their exclusive “indigenousness” since the British period what has been a transition period for them from relative isolation to increasing incorporation. After add as a subordinates part  into the Pakistan in 1947, the Pakistani Muslim rulers were not only indifferent about the preservation of the ethnic diversity; they were also hostile against the “primitive” and “savage” custom and culture of the Paharis. After passing an ‘ignored’ quarter century under the rule of Pakistan regime the Pahari people hoped that the newly independent “secular” Bangladesh would understand their social customs and realities but were refused constitutional recognition of their separate identity.

Moreover, Bangali culture and Bangla language-based nationalism of Bangladesh has been applied to achieve national integration in very unitary nature where non-Bangali culture, language and identity was not integrated. Gradually, cultural homogeneity, ethnocentrism, cultural hegemony and state hostility against the Paharis in the multi-ethnic setting have turned into a conflict zone from the mid-1970s onward. During 1979 -1984, about 5 lakes Bangali people migrated into Hill Tracts under a government sponsored population transfer program. This demographic shift eventually distorted the traditional social structure of the region and displaced thousands of Paharis out from their own home and nurtured land.

Santi Chukti or peace agreement”

Given the situation above, the Paharis had been involved in a struggle for the self-determination which has been termed as “insurgency” and “secession” by the state, and in the name of counter-insurgency, huge military forces was deployed throughout the region who eventually committed a massive violation of human rights. However, after a couple of failed meetings, an agreement was reached and signed in December 02, 1997 between the state and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti [The Chittagong Hill Tracts United People’s Party], locally known as PCJSS (the sole political platform of the Paharis until 1997).

The agreement or the ‘political negotiation’ popularly known as Shanti Chukti (‘peace agreement’) makes victory for few years, while leaving the future in doubt.[6] On one hand, a faction of Pahari students and youth groups, hitherto allied to the PCJSS— unequivocally condemned the agreement as a “sell-out” to “reactionaries” and protest to pursuing full autonomy of the Hill Tracts by forming a new political party known as United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF), in December 26, 1998. Other than the PCJSS, and the UPDF, a number of Paharis also discourse the agreement as not reflecting due spirit and consultation with the locals. They have been suspicious of the implementation of the agreement according to the agreement. The then main opposition parties of Bangladesh (BNP, Jamaat)[7] also protested the “unconstitutional” and “anti-state” agreement and called strike to cancel the agreement as well as Bangali settlers also have been against the agreement from very beginning and demonstrated to withdraw it.

However, the agreement failed to resolve conflict and violence between the Paharis and Bangalis. Moreover, it pushed the Paharis to fight against the Paharis (PCJSS-UPDF). As a result, to the locals, the post-agreement Hill Tracts is “neither secured nor peaceful” except few official and infrastructural changes.


In 1900, the British colonial rulers[8] introduced the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation 1900, a “safeguard” for the ethnic group. However, it was also the British who arbitrarily annexed [9]the Hill Tracts into the Pakistan in 1947; when, Pakistan was separated from the undivided British India based on religion-basis two-nation theory of Jinnah; as being a Non-Muslim population, the Paharis wanted to be a part of India.[10]However, within next year, the Paharis had realized that their life would never be peaceful in Pakistan regime when Pakistan government declared invalids the Hill Tracts Police Regulation in 1948, and put an ends to the indigenous police force which was formed in 1881 considering the unique cultural setting of Hill Tracts and its preservation.

The situation became more worsen in the later years. In 1950s and 1960s, violating the provisions of the regulation; Muslim refugees from India were settled down in Hill Tracts. Although the constitutions of 1955 and 1962 preserved the status of the Hill Tracts as an ‘excluded area,’ but a constitutional amendment abolished this status in 1963. Furthermore, Pakistan government constructed a hydro-electric dam ( Kaptai dam) in the heart of Hill Tracts (Rangamati) in 1960s without consultation with the local people, which not only drive under water about 54,000 acres of best cultivable land (40 percent) in the hill region, it displaced almost 100 thousand Paharis (mostly Chakmas) from their lands and home. As a result, approximately 40 thousand Paharis had to emigrate into India and another 20 thousand in Burma. These displaced Paharis had to lead as an expatriate vagabond exile time facing serious identity crisis till 1997.


Historically the ecological, cultural, linguistic and economic links of Hill Tracts with the mountains to the east and south[11] have been more significant than those with the plain districts of Bangladesh.[12] However, during the liberation war of Bangladesh (1971) against Pakistan, Pahari leaders including M. N. Larma, Mong Raja (Mong circle chief) took part in the liberation war for Bangladesh (East Pakistan) and  The Chakma chief Raja Tridiv Roy[13]( with few supporters) somehow managed to support the Pakistan. Although some Paharis could not think that Bangladesh would win against powerful military forced the Pakistan, but being absolutely non-Muslim, the majority of the Paharis was against Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and hoped for a secular country; hoped for political recognition and some form of autonomy within the sovereignty of Bangladesh. Nevertheless, the Paharis were identified as “collaborator of Pakistani” by the local Bangalis as Chakma Raja was pro-Pakistani, thus all Paharis were scapegoated and many Paharis were killed by the Bangali Mukti Bahini and their houses were burned down and looted as well.

Likewise, following the liberation win, Bangladesh was projected as a homogenous Bangali nationalist, with no recognition of non-Bangalis in the liberation war (though 20 Pahari dead in liberation war[14]); and so as non-Bangalis’ rights was protected in the constitution of Bangladesh (1972). No separate identity was thought for ‘other’ citizens of Bangladesh; That’s why, M. N. Larma (Pahari leader, Member of Parliament demanded for a special space in the constitution, but disappointedly his appeal was not only rejected and they were asked to become Bangali forgetting their own identity by prime minister. In the parliament, although M. N. Larma made argument against such “assimilationist” policy of the government and pointed out the cultural differences of the Pahari people from that of the Bangalis,but  all of his efforts went fruitless.

Comprehending through deprivations and disappointments, the Paharis builds PCJSS[15] (in 1972) under the leadership of M. N. Larma to actualize the rights of Paharis through the democratic ways. Following the partition (1947), the limited self-rule of the Hill Tracts gradually wiped out nation-building process initially in Pakistan and then, in Bangladesh after 1971. Consequently, Larma’s pursuit of regional autonomy through constitutional means ended up in 1975, when a military coup changed the political set up of Bangladesh.[16]Following the coup, Larma went underground and organized an armed resistance force, Shanti Bahini (Peace Force) to pursue regional autonomy gradually drifted the ‘Shanti Bahinis’ toward adopting non-democratic means since 1976.

However, to control the Paharis in Hill Tracts, successive governments took several devastating programs; for example, settlement of the Muslims refugees (from India), informal settlement program, displacing the Paharis, afforestation program, Kaptai dam (1960s) and refusal of recognition of the Paharis’ identity (1970s), a secret government sponsored population transfer program[17] (between 1979-1984) brought more than 400,000 Bangalis into the Hill Tracts etc. Scarcity of cultivable land following the construction of Kaptai dam has been considered as a crucial factor that eventually caused face-to-face conflict in this region. These above incidents largely pushed about 200 thousand Paharis into India and Burma as refugee, while some other Paharis remained internal refugee in Hill Tracts. Consequently, the real owner (Paharis) of the land rapidly became minority in their own land outnumbered by the Bangali settlers within only two decades.


Traditionally, Pahari people owned a large part of land in hillside, which is used for their traditional jum (shifting) cultivation from the time immemorial. Land ownership of the Paharis was mainly protected under the Regulation that prohibited transfer of land to the non-Pahari people. During the post-colonial Pakistan regime, the Hill Tracts saw the beginning of the process of large-scale and systematic displacement of the Paharis that emerged with the construction of the Kaptai dam at 1957–1961.

Following the devastation caused by the Kaptai dam, government sponsored population transfer program (1979- 1984) and brought more than 400,000 Bangalis into the region. The Government of Bangladesh spent a large amount of money for this program from the foreign aid funds allotted for the Hill Tracts development projects. Although the Bangali settlers were given the “legal” land ownership and cash money by the state; a large number of settlers had taken illegal possession of lands, through steady encroachment and outright grabbing. The Paharis had been resisted such influx and land grabbing activities along with the Shanti Bahini. The situation was thus exposed to explode into a large scale physical confrontation between the Paharis and Bangalis. These three incidents largely pushed about 200 thousand Paharis into India and Burma as refugee, where as some other Paharis remained internal refugee in Hill Tracts.


Since the late second-half of the 19th century, the Hill Tracts had been militarized to control many revolts.[18] From 1976 onward PCJSS’s Shanti Bahini, started guerrilla attacks against the security forces in Hill Tracts, and then successive governments deployed a huge number of military forces in the name of “national security” and “counter-insurgency”.

Land related conflicts between the Paharis and the Bangalis represented a source of conflict between the security forces [19]and the Shanti Bahini, as military solution was chosen by the Bangladesh government led to violence since the early 1980s. Violent operations by the security forces of Bangladesh and Shanti Bahini began with the crisis caused by transmigration. Official figures indicated that more than 8,500 rebels, soldiers and civilians have been killed during two decades of insurgency. The number of civilians killed estimated at 2,500.[20] However, there have been several “bloodbaths” happened in the Hill Tracts between the Bangalis and Paharis; between the security forces and Shanti Bahini since 1980[21].

Besides and along with the massacre, attack and reprisal attack, Paharis have been experienced arrest, torture, judicial and extrajudicial torture, killing, sexual violence, forced religious conversion, forced marriage, and abduction. In addition, army intervention is regular company to Paharis life, and thus check is a name of pain to the Pahari people. Every bus, truck, car have been checked by the security forces many times in a way[22]. Specifically, relatives and family members of a JSS or UPDF activist are always under observation. The life in Hill Tracts has been like jail, especially for the youth and university students.

Although the “Peace agreement” has formally ended the violence between the Paharis and the Bangalis, there have been conflict and violence in Hill Tracts between the Paharis and the Bangalis and among the Paharis as well[23]


Language is the basic elements of nation and society. It is also a core element of culture and most powerful instrument of preserving and developing tangible and intangible human heritage. It has much intertwined relations with the society and culture. A culture of peace can only flourish where people enjoy the right to use their mother language fully and freely almost every situation of their lives. Scottish historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) called language “the body of thought”.  If a mother tongue is crushed, thoughts and ideas will inevitably die.

The total population of Bangladesh is about 160 million, and among those about 98 percent people speaks in Bangla, and among them minorities are about 20 million. The government has no language policy for the ethno-linguistic group of Bangladesh, for the other two percent speakers, even though they speak in about 39 living languages most of these do not have own alphabet. Like other ingredient of culture, each language is different from another. The Chakma community speaks a mixed language of Bangla, Pali, and Sanskrit written in Burmese script, the Marma community speaks Arakanese. The rest of the tribal groups speak a mixed language of Assamese and Burmese origins.

Table 1: Classification of Languages in Chittagong Hill Tracts

Linguistic Family Sub-Family Ethnic groups
Indo-European Indo-Aryan Bangali, Chakma, and Tanchangya
Sino-Tibetan Tibeto-Burman:
(i) Burmese family Marma, Mro, and Chak
(ii) Bodo (Kokbrok) Tripua
(iii) Kuki- Chin Bawm, Pangkhoa, Lushai, Kheyang and Khumi

In the prevailing education system, the indigenous children doesn’t scope for getting education in their mother languages. From the early childhood they are to learn Bangla language to follow the national curriculum which based on Bangla and Bangali society and the instructors are mostly from among the Bangalis. Neither the students nor the instructions understand the contents due to their lacking in the alien (Bangla) language. Even, the instructors do not understand the Pahari students and Pahari society. The contents (story, poem, social examples) of the books are also unfamiliar to the Pahari student. Therefore, they cannot involve with the ‘extraterrestrial’ education system. However, the governments of Bangladesh did not initiate a localized education system yet for the Paharis based on their societal system and distinct language so that they can conceptualize both the Pahari society and Bangali society. Since they do not feel any interest in Bangla medium education, many Pahari students dropped out of school[24].

According to findings by Ethnic Children’s Education Forum (ICEF), the dropout rate at early primary level in Ethnic Children is more than 33 percent[25]as the school children fail to understand, read or write Bangla and reluctant to attend classes in fear of that. But Ethnic children should teach primary education in their own mother language and gradually ought to be turned into Bangla medium[26]. This will help to reduce dropout rate among the ethnic children and their parents will also encourage for educating their children in their own languages side by side with Bangla.

Ethnic new generations not only cannot fluently speak in Bangla, but also mixed Bangla words with their own language while they are talking to their own language among own ethnic group. Therefore, The Paharis are worried about their educated sections because of adopting with the Bangla language very much and thus afraid of assimilation of their languages into Bangla. Not only the unequal education system but also the existing job market are discriminating the ethnic people. Through many dimensions of development activities, ethnic people are becoming isolated from their community, becoming individualistic and fond of mainstream and world culture. Skill in Bangla and English also signifies the quality and efficiency of an employee. Thus a self-centric and ambitious ethnic educated segment is ignoring their distinct languages which indicate also the indirect gradual assimilation. For those reason, ethnic people cannot perform well in their cultural affairs, arts and literature too. Therefore, they can neither communicate well with their own society nor with the mainstream.[27]

When there is a language shift, children are unable to communicate with their grand-parents. This really is the breakdown of a family that people worry about so much. Within the family if such breakdown happens, the grand-parents cannot talk to the grand-children, and then they really cannot transmit these ideas[28]into next generation. As a result their culture will extinct.


The pahari people have their own culture, tradition, language and customs. The governments have no initiative for the Pahari’s to survive and revive neither the traditions of language nor their culture. Moreover, Pahari’s are being deprived. Few non-government organizations are working to teach the ethnic children in their own languages, though these are not sufficient. The region is a very hilly area, thus, it is difficult to go everywhere to offer the service by private sectors. Without governmental initiatives, the ethnic people have no way to save their own languages, culture and land in the near future. Although the agreement recognized the Hill Tracts “as a region inhabited by tribal people and also recognizes the need of preserving the characteristics of the region. But the irony is that the ethnic culture and languages are assimilating and disappearing gradually with the national and international development initiatives taken in the name of “advancement” of quality of ethnic life in the aftermath of the agreement. There is no code of conduct for post-agreement activities in the Hill Tracts to uphold the characteristics so that the agreement can be implemented without cultural clash. So the government should also give back their own lands, help to exercising their language and culture and make sure their security and existence through the constitutional recognition of



1) Dainik Prothom-Alo

2) Ahmed, Aftab. (1993). Ethnicity and Insurgency in the Chittagong Hill Tracts Region: A Study of the Crisis of Political Integration in Bangladesh.

3) Chakma, Bhumitra. (2008). Assessing the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord. Asian Profile vol.36 (1), pp.93-106.

4) Constitution of Bangladesh

5) http://www.indigenousportal.com/Human-Rights/-Bangladesh-Human-chain-formed-across-the-country-demanding-constitutional-recognition-of-IPs.html

6)Suranjith Deabnath, “No Books in Mother Tongue, Ethnic kids drop out of schools,”

7) http://www.bpedia.org/C_0216.php

8) M Saadat Ali, Parbattya Chattagram Shanti Chukti, Dhaka, 1998

9)  Amena Mohsin,The Politics of Nationalism: The Case of the CHT, Dhaka, 1997, Bangladesh

10) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mukto-mona/message/11898

11) http://www.indigenousportal.com/Human-Rights/Bangladesh-Constitutional-    recognition-to-Adivasis-demanded.html

12) S Mahmud Ali, The Fearful State: Power, People and Internal War in South Asia.

13) http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=24439

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[1] Henceforth, in this thesis Hill Tracts will be interchangeably used for Chittagong Hill Tracts.

[2] Ten percent of the total land area of Bangladesh, but population is about one percent (1.5 million out of 150million). The region comprises of three districts: Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari.

[3] According to data contained in the report of a soil survey conducted in Hill Tracts in 1964-66, only 3.1 per cent of the total Hill Tracts lands were found to be suitable for “all-purpose agriculture” as against 72.9 % that was found suitable only for “forestry”.

[4] Recognized eleven ethnic groups are recognized in Hill Tracts: Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Mro, Tanchangya, Bawm, Pangkhoa, Chak, Kheyang, Khumi, and Lushai. There are also two unrecognized ethnic groups: Gurkha and Assamese who have been living in Hill Tracts since the British period. The mainstream populations Bangalis have been joined by transmigrations arriving since the late 1970s; together now form the largest ethnic group in the Chittagong hills (more than 50 percent).

[5] Since the British period, nearby Bengalis have been calling the indigenous people of Chittagong Hill Tracts as Pahari (residents of hill or pahar), and thus all ethnic groups have usually been referred as Paharis.

[6] Until 2001 when BNP came to rule the country, both parties (Awami League and JSS) claimed the agreement as a success for protesting from some sectors. Though till now, the Awami League (the ruling party in 1997) has been mentioned the CHT agreement as a landmark victory of their party and claimed that “95 percent” of the Agreement has been implemented; the PCJSS, however, maintained that, “only five percent” of the Agreement has been implemented though the most vital land issues remained unresolved not withstanding the agreement has passed its thirteen years of signing. See also, Amena Mohsin, The Politics of Nationalism: The Case of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh (The University Press Limited, Dhaka, 2002 [1997]).

[7] BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party), Jamaat_ Jamaat-i-Islami Bangladesh and other Islamist parties.

[8] Bengal region was ruled by the British from 1757 to 1947. Although there was a clear physiological and cultural gap between the Paharis and Bangali and geographically the region was close to the Bengal region. Until 1860, it was a part of Chittagong district. Realizing the distinct culture of the region, British rulers created an autonomous administrative district known as “Chittagong Hill Tracts” within the undivided British Bengal in 1860. They introduced the most important administrative reform– the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation 1900 (in short, in 1900 to “protect” the Paharis from economic exploitation of the outsiders and to preserve their traditional socio-cultural and political institutions. Throughout the British colonial period, the Regulation worked as a “safeguard” for the Paharis prohibiting land ownership and migrations of outsiders into CHT. It also provided full local autonomy to the Paharis in respect to their practice of customary laws, traditional ways of living life and land rights.

[9] Sir Cyril Radcliffe was the head of the Bengal Boundary Commission that demarcated borders between East Pakistan and adjacent areas of India. The CHT intellectuals popularly allege that Radcliffe took away the capital of Bengal, Calcutta, from East Bengal and, in return, gave the CHT to [East] Pakistan at the time of the partition. Kalam Shahed writes, the much talked about the Radcliffe’s ‘gift’ of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to East Pakistan in 1947, in exchange for Calcutta which fell to India, has, in fact, little basis since the area never belonged to the northeastern province of Assam or to West Bengal, in Ethnic Movements and Hegemony in South Asia (Hakkani Publishers, Bangladesh, 2002).

[10] From the beginning the Paharis were branded as ‘pro-Indian’. This indeed was fallacious. It is true that a group of Paharis led by Sneha Kumar Chakma had hoisted the Indian flag in Rangamati. But the Chakma Raja had eventually decided to accept the Radcliffe Award. It is also important to note that the Burmese flag too had been hoisted in Bandarban yet they were not branded as ‘pro-Burmese’. This categorization therefore has to be understood in the context of the politics of the period, which was marked by intense India-Pakistan rivalry.

[11] India, Burma, China, and Thailand

[12] 12 Partly for this reason, within Bangladesh, the region has been seen as marginal, remote and irrelevant. It tends to be overlooked whenever generalizations are made about Bangladesh.

[13] Chakma Raja was awarded Honorary Aide-de-Camp to the Governor-General was the only one from East Pakistan ever to receive this dual distinction in 1953. In 1952 Raja Tridiv Roy was made an honorary magistrate. In fact, during the whole existence of East Pakistan no one was made an honorary ADC to the Governor General or President. Raja Tridiv Roy had been served as honorary Minister in Pakistan till recently.

[14] Dainik prothomalo, 4 November,2010.

[15] Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti.

[16] After the assassination of the First Prime Minister of Bangladesh in 1975 by the military forces, the overall situation of Bangladesh became restless; people’s security and rights had been regulated and controlled by the military.

[17] In 1979, Zia chaired a ‘national conference on CHT’. It is proceedings were classified but the blueprint for a long-term answer to CHT’s troubles was expressed. It was decided to 30,000 landless Bangali families on government-owned ‘Khas’ land in CHT the following year and Tk 60 million was assigned for the project. From Feb 1980 on, settlers began arriving by truckload. General Ershad’s military government continued the policy that it had inherited. According to an estimate, 300, 00 to 400,000 Bangalis had been settled in CHT by 1984. S Mahmud Ali, The Fearful State: Power, People and Internal War in South Asia.

[18] For example, British administration had invited the Second Gurkha Regiment from Nepal to crush the Lushai Expedition in late 19th century. See, Thomas H. Lewin, A Fly on the Wheel, or How I Helped to Govern India (Constable, London, 1912), 255-290.

[19] Bangladesh military forces, police, Bangladesh Rifles, and other armed forces.

[20] Amnesty International, Bangladesh- Human Rights in Chittagong Hill Tracts (February 2000).

[21] Kaukhali Massacre (March 25, 1980) about 50 pahari died, Barkal Massacre (May 31, 1984): About 100 settlers were killed, Pahari people, and some women were gang raped and later shot dead, Panchari Massacre (May 1, 1986): killed about 100 Paharis. Matiranga Massacre (May 1986): About 70 Paharis were killed. Comillatialla-Taindong Massacre (May 18–19, 1986): About 150 Paharis were killed by the security. Hirachar-Sarbotali-Khagrachari-Pablakhali Massacre (August 8–10, 1988): The Bangladesh army and settlers killed more than 100 Paharis, Longadu Massacre (May 04, 1989): killed about 40 Paharis whose dead bodies never returned to their relatives, Malya Massacre (February 2, 1992): killed More than 30 Paharis , Naniachar Massacre (November 17, 1993): killed about 30 Paharis, Logang Massacre (April 10, 1992): Over 400 Paharis were killed, More than 2000 Paharis fled across the border to Tripura following the massacre.

[22] A college going Pahari also said, “We cannot gather any place. If some 8-10 Paharis gather in a place suddenly the security forces’ car would reached there, and we would be asked what we were talking about”- local say. Since 1980s they have been experiencing such interventions. “Intervention in everyday life has beenour life partner.”

[23] Very recently, in February 19-20, 2010 amid a massacre in Baghaihat, Rangamati between the Paharis (JSS, UPDF and general people) and security forces (mainly army and Bangali settler) at least two Paharis were killed and 200-300 Paharis’ houses were burnt down.

[24] A Pahari boy said, “I was a student of class IV at Longadu Government Primary School. I lost interest to go to the school because there was no opportunity for me to learn my mother tongue.”

[25] Suranjith Deabnath, “No Books in Mother Tongue, Ethnic kids drop out of schools,” (Published on: 2008-02-22).

[26] According to the Article-3 under Topsil-1 of the Parbatya Zila Parishad (Hill District Council) Act-1989 and Article 33 of the agreement of 1997, all “tribal” children should get learn through their respective mother languages.

[27] A Chakma states in this regard that, “Notwithstanding there exist a number of educational institutions in the Hill Tracts, the education system serves first and foremost the purpose of ‘acculturation’ of the Paharis into the mainstream Bangla culture as part of the counter-insurgency strategy.”

[28] Dainik prothomalo, 4 November, 2010.