The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), bordering Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, has always been represented as the region of ethnic conflict and insurgency in Bangladesh. It is the home to eleven indigenous groups of people collectively known as Pahari. Since the migration from neighbouring states of Arakan of Myanmar and Tripura of India, they were politically independent, economically self-sufficient and socially egalitarian. However, the intrusion of British (1860), Pakistan (1947), Bangladesh (1971) and their adopted policies gradually pushed them to the margin of the state. In 1972, the Pahari formed Jono-Samhati Somiti (JSS or People’s Solidarity Association) to launch, as they claim, democratic movement for self-determination and regional autonomy of the CHT. The state considered it separatist movement and attempted to control with military action. The JSS also formed Shanti Bahini (SB or peace-troop) in order to respond to military operation. Since then the CHT has turned into the region of conflict and insurgency. After two decades of bloody conflict, the JSS and the state reached a general agreement by singing a ‘Peace-Accord’ on December 2, 1997 that seemingly put an end to the long-standing insurgency in the region. Aftermath of signing peace-accord, it was expected to have prevailed peace in the CHT but it did not happen so and hence peace is still, even after fifteen years of signing the accord, absent in the lives of inhabitants of the CHT. Why? Politics of Peace seeks to answer to this simple, but important, question.
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