The Chittagong Hill Tracts: Diminishing Violence or Violent Peace?
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Kabita Chakma and Bina D’Costa, ‘The Chittagong Hill Tracts: Diminishing Violence or Violent Peace?’ in Edward Aspinall, Robin Jeffrey, and Anthony Regan, eds, Diminishing Conflicts in Asia and the Pacific: Why Some Subside and Others Don’t, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2013, pp. 137-49.
The Chittagong Hills Tract (CHT) Accord 1997 formally marked an end to more than two decades of armed struggle for autonomy by the indigenous or Adivasi Jummas of the CHT in Bangladesh. Although the CHT has witnessed less vicious strife since 1997, governments have shown little interest in implementing the Accords in full, particularly the ‘settlement of land disputes including proper rehabilitation of displaced people’. Political transition, healing and reconciliation and economic recovery are all closely interlinked with other security dynamics such as defusing spoilers of the peace process, integrating various factions, demobilising former combatants appropriately, and resettling displaced people. We argue that intense militarisation, the perpetual fear and insecurity of people and displacement in the CHT make it a case study not of diminishing conflict but rather one of violent peace and latent conflict. This chapter explores militarisation and displacement, the two major factors contributing to ‘violent peace’ in post-Accord CHT, and in doing so, highlights the ‘missing elements’ that would be necessary to diminish conflict in enduring ways.
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