Discuss Present Problems of Indigenous People.


The word indigenous means the tribe people who are belongs to minority. Bangladesh is country where majority peoples are Bengali and language is Bangla. It’s around 98% people from the total population. We have very little people are Biharis it around 250000 and other tribe are about a million where the Chakma being most numerous in number. And about 83% people are muslim, 16% are hindu and other 1% is Buddhism and Christianity. Despite the long history of accommodation and tolerance of diversity and multiculturalism that constituted a previous generation of Bengali culture and nationalism, it is evident that in Bangladesh public and political culture appears increasingly priorities the interests of the religious majority which thus marginalizes minority religious and other cultural groups (Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, indigenous people). For instance, an undercounting of minorities and indigenous people has been reported in the national census. The challenge for progressive groups is to transform this political culture and promote multiculturalism and pluralism. Several organizations are working together to protect the rights of minority groups and to correct policies that are discriminatory. The Bangladesh Government has taken some corrective measures to improve their status and position. In recognition of this, in 2009[1], the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a US Congressional body dropped Bangladesh from its Watch List of countries deemed to violate minorities’ rights to religious freedom. [2]One of the researcher said that his name is prof. kamal “The problems regarding ethnic minorities will remain until the plurality is recognized in the country,” he highlightening that people are grabbing the land of indigenous people.

Present Problems of Indigenous People:

Indigenous people are mainly tribal people and also we can say the minority religious people like Christian and Buddhism as well as Biharis and plain land indigenous people. And now they are facing lots of problem and that is:

  1. Land grabbing is the most common problem in religious, ethnic and indigenous people. One of the incident[3] according to land grabbing is:

On 12 June, 2009 a Bangali settler attempted to seize about 300 acres of land belonging to

Jumma people in Ramgarh.[4]A group of illegal Bengali settlers were reported to have cut trees in

the jungle for cultivation in Boroitali under Hapchari Union (No. 3) on 7 Jun. They erected a house

structure with bamboos.

 On 14 August 2009 a group of Bengali settlers tried to attack Jumma villages at Bagachadar

union under Longadu upazila (sub-district) in Rangamati district. At least four Jumma villagers

were allegedly assaulted and their possessions looted.

 On 25 September, 2009 Bengali settlers burned down three Jumma houses in Laxmichari under

Khagrachari district.

  1. Minority group are not getting equal job opportunities in govt. job and military and so on. They are facing lots of trouble when they are finding the job.
  2. Human right violating including torture, killing, harassment Buddhist monks, sexual violence of women and children in every indigenous people including Chittagong Hill Tract, Dalit and Low Caste Communities and Biharis etc.

Indigenous people in Bangladesh has minority group that’s why they don’t have powerful community. And for these reason they are not getting proper facility from our country. Their culture is also different which is never matched to our culture. Majority in Bangladesh is Muslim and Bengali so they get good facility and getting human rights than indigenous people. Our government doesn’t accept them. They are not concerning about indigenous people.

Constitution of Indigenous People in Bangladesh:

There are few laws of indigenous people these are:

  1. The East Bengal State Acquisition and Tenancy Act, 1950[5]: The East Bengal State

Acquisition and Tenancy Act, 1950 (Act XXVIII of 1950) is the major law regulating land administration in the plains. A small part of this statute – at Section 97(1)(2) – deals with restrictions on the transfer of lands of “aboriginal castes and tribes” to any other than “[aboriginals] domiciled or permanently residing in Bangladesh”.

  1. The Drugs and Alcoholic Substances Control Act, 1990[6]: The Drugs and Alcoholic Substances Control Act, 1990 (Act XX of 1990) exempts “tribals” – both in the plains andin the CHT – along with tea estate labourers and the castes of “Muchi” (cobbler), ‘Methor’ (sweeper) and ‘Dom’ (fisher-people or cremation ground cleaners) from criminal prosecution for consuming traditionally brewed or distilled alcoholic beverages. Although seemingly a mundane matter, this is an important recognition of the cultural rights of the indigenous peoples, whose religious and cultural practices and social customs often included, and still include, the use of traditionally brewed liquor. This provision may be seen to cover situations contemplated by Articles 7 (2) and 8 of Convention No. 107. Article 7(2) provides for the retention of customs (and institutions) of indigenous peoples, while article 8 provides that government authorities and courts dealing with penal matters involving indigenous peoples should bear in mind the customs of the people concerned.
  1. The Vested Property Act, 1974: In the plains, another tool used by influential and unscrupulous land-grabbers has been the Vested and Nonresident Property (Administration) Act, 1974 (Act XLVI of 1974), generally known as the Vested Property Act. This act is based upon a number of laws framed in 1965 and thereafter, to deal with properties of people who went over to India, with which country Pakistan (Bangladesh was then the eastern wing of Pakistan) was at war with in 1965[7]. The 1974 Act has been indiscriminately used against different minority groups, including indigenous peoples in the northwestern Rajshahi division[8], and against Mandi (Garo) people in north-central Bangladesh[9], among others.
  1. 4.      The Social Forestry Rules: Another law that affects the land rights of indigenous peoples is a delegated law, namely, the Social Forestry Rules of 2004, passed in accordance with the aforesaid Forest Act of 1927 [sections 28A(4) and 28A(5)]. These rules contain detailed provisions for social forestry projects, and “ethnic minorities” (a phrase that would include most groups legally classified as indigenous, tribal or aboriginal) are among those that are to be given priority in selection as beneficiaries of the project (along with landless people and “destitute women”).[10]


  1. Personal Laws of Adivasis and Justice Administration in the Plains: The personal laws of indigenous peoples of Bangladesh, both in the plains and in the CHT, are regulated by their own customs, traditions and practices. In addition, the CHT also has its own justice system, including traditional indigenous chiefs (rajas) and headmen, whose justice administration and other functions are formally recognized by law.[11]
  1. The Hill District Councils Acts of 1989: The Hill District Council Acts of 1989 (Acts XIX, XX & XX of 1989) established three identically-empowered councils at the district level, reserving two-thirds of their seats and the office of the chairperson, for ‘tribals’. According to this Act, the number of seats for the members is to be allocated according to ethnicity and, ostensibly, the relative population of the different ethnic groups. The councils were provided limited authority over a number of district-level government departments.
  1. Personal Laws & Traditional Justice Systems[12]: As in the case of the plains, the customary personal laws of the different peoples in the CHT also vary from people to people.114 There are, however, two important distinctions, among others, between the plains and the ‘hills’. Firstly, matrilineal traditions are less common in the CHT than in the plains.

Recent Changes Constitution about Indigenous People:Recently on 13 April, 2010 the High Court affirmed valid the CHT Peace Accord signed between the government and the erstwhile Shanti Bahini leaders in 1997, but declared unconstitutional the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council Act, 1998. Furthermore, incidents on human rights violations including torture, killings, harassment of Buddhist monks, sexual violence against women and children and the dispossession of indigenous peoples’ lands by Bengali settlers and military personnel are regularly reported both in the Chittagong Hill Tracts[13].

Injustice toward the Indigenous People:

Some incident refers that our govt. and society doesn’t behave properly toward the indigenous people. They used to ignore them because of minority. Some view points are:

  1. One Government representatives at a United Nations special session have denied existence of indigenous people in Bangladesh. In the sense of that according to press release Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) Iqbal Ahmed said that “Bangladesh does not have any indigenous population[14].”
  2. Another incident from the public is:

On 24 September 2011 an 18-years old indigenous Tripura woman of Karko Karbari Para of Ultachari union under Panchari upazila (sub-district) in Khagrachari hill district was raped by a Bengali settler named Md. Karim (31) s/o Janu Mian of village- Molla Para of No.1 ward under the same union.

It is learnt that, on that day at around 11:00 am the victim was staying at their Jum ghar (a temporarily built residence for Jum cultivation) only with her one and half year old infant. Her husband Pushpa Ranjan Tripura went to Panchari upazila headquarters with his mother to take aged allowance. Meanwhile, the culprit Md. Karim appeared at the Jum ghar and asked for a glass of drinking water to the victim. When the victim came out from her room to give a glass of water, Md. Karim grabbed her neck and then raped vigorously. While the victim was out crying, Md. Karim left the spot quickly. After the incident, the culprit Md. Karim has absconded from the village. On 26 September 2011, a case was filed with Panchari police station by the victim’s husband in connection with this rape incident under section 3(1) of Women and Child Repression Act. As per the relatives’ apprehension, the case was not effective.

The relatives also blamed that; the medical test of the victim was done very overdue. Till the time of the reporting, the police could not arrest the culprit.[15]


According to the discussion we can say that indigenous people are facing lots of problem because they are minority. Government facilities are not always available for them because they are belongs to different culture, society and so on. Government introduces some constitution about indigenous people but that was always not implemented. Everyone is violating the law. Recently some law also implemented in 2010.This is also valuable for tribal, CHT, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christian and so on. And we should know that first we are human than what we are belongs to whom. Government should take active action about the indigenous people. They should not see them as an alien in our society. Appreciate about their culture if it is belongs to their tradition. Government should implement better constitution for them. Therefore, we have some constitution about indigenous people. If we behave normally they will never been involved in any kind of discriminate crime. If it is happened then they will live as a normal people like others.


  1. 1.      The Daily Star, The new age, The Daily Prothom Alo, CHT news, bdnews24 and


  1. 2.      News Letters 2009 of Bangladesh Adibasi Forum, Adibasi Forum Volunteer’s report

2009,UNHCR Report,

  1. 3.      The Bangladesh Buddhist Hindu Christian Unity Council report (BHBCOP)
  2. 4.      Adnan, Shapan, 2004. Migration, Land Alienation and Ethnic Conflict: Causes of Poverty in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, Research & Advisory Services, Dhaka.
  3. Ahmed, Imtiaz, Amena Mohsin and Bhumitra Chakma, 2000. “Administrative Reforms in the CHT: A Diagnostic Study of the Ministry of CHT Affairs”. Paper presented at the “Regional Workshop on Administrative Reforms in the CHT: A Diagnostic Study of the Ministry of CHT Affairs”, Dhaka, 11 May, 2002.
  4. Lewin, Capt. T. H., 1869. The Hill Tracts of Chittagong and the Dwellers Therein; with Comparative vocabularies of the Hill Dialects, Bengal Printing Company Ltd., Calcutta.
  5. Information Retrieved From http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news?details.php?nid=197836
  6. Information Retrieved From http://www.galdu.org/web/index.php?odas=2881&giella1=eng
  7. Information Retrieved From http://www.pmo.gov.bd/pmolib/constitution/part3.htm
  8. Information Retrieved From http://www.thedailystar.net/suppliments/2011/anniversary/section2/pg10.htm
  9. 11.  News Letter’s 2009 of Bangladesh Adibasi Forum, Adibasi Forum Volunteer’s report 2009

[1] Information retrieved from http://www.southasianrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/

[2] Information retrieved from http://www.galdu.org/web/index.php?odas=2881&giella1=eng

[3]  Information retrieved from  http://www.southasianrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Bangladesh.pdf

[4] chtnews.com, News No. 50/2009, June 12, 2009

[5] The East Bengal State Acquisition and Tenancy Act, 1950 is based upon the Bengal Tenancy Act, 1938, which itself is

rooted in the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act, 1908, the Indian Tenancy Act, 1878 and the Permanent Settlement Act, 1793. See, Timm (1991: 20)

[6] Zahur, 2005. See also, Daily Star, Dhaka, of 02.08. 2003.

[7] These laws include the Defence of Pakistan Ordinance, 1965 (Ordinance No. XXIII of 1965), the Defence of Pakistan Rules,1965, the Enemy Property (Custody and Registration) Order, 1965 and the Enemy Property (Continuance of Emergency Provisions) Ordinance, 1969 (Ordinance I of 1969). For a detailed discussion of the genesis of this law, and for case studieson its misapplication against religious minorities, Barkat et al (1997: 17-54, 95-114)

[8] Timm (1991: 21). See also, Bleie (2005: 213-241).

[9] Timm (1991: 20, 21, 26).

[10] For a critique of the Forest (Amendment) Act, 2000 and the (then draft) Social Forestry Rules (passed in accordance with

the 2000 Act) as violative of the land and other rights of indigenous peoples, see Roy & Halim (2001).

[11] It has been alleged that this law is suffering from acute neglect in most parts of Bangladesh. See, e.g., “Legal limitations

impedes Gram Adalat to be effectual” in Daily Star Internet Edition, 20 June, 2004

[12] Sections 52 & 53, CHT Regional Council Act, 1998. These measures actually go beyond the comparable provisions of Convention No. 107, and are consistent with Convention No 169 [Article 33 (2) (b)].

[13] News Letters 2009 of Bangladesh Adibasi Forum, Adibasi Forum Volunteer’s report


[14] Staff correspondent, (2011, 28 MAY). No indigenous people in Bangladesh: The Daily Star.