Presentation based on a book by Saradindu MukherjiSubjects, citizens and refugees Tragedy in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (1947-1998)
These people were compelled to leave their homesLikeHindus/Buddhist of Bangladesh,Hindu/Christians of Pakistan,Internally displaced people of HAPPENS ISLAMISATION India’s own Kashmir Valley UNIVERSALLYAmerican Christians by the Turkish MuslimsParsis from Islamic Iran to IndiaandCoptic Christians of Egypt.
History of CHT• Chittagong hill tract was to be a part of India on ‘culture and religious grounds’.• But Pakistan argued that CHT was the only source of hydro-electric power in East-Bengal.• After CHT was given to Pakistan, the Pakistani government began settling the Bengali Muslims from other areas of East Pakistan there.
Islam brings ecological destruction• The local people were put to clear off the Jungles and burn the plantations.• Deforestation thus turned vast stretches of land barren, caused soil erosion, dried up water for irrigation.• The reason for fast disappearing green coverage as found by Loffler was the military’s preference for ‘bare hills all around’.
Kaptai Dam-Ethnic Cleansing• Kaptai dam project displaced one sixth of total indigenous population.• It submerged 250 square miles of fertile agricultural land.• Most of the Jummas never got compensation and 90% Jummas were left homeless and landless.• Soon the entire villages were grabbed by the Muslim outsiders.
Shanti Bahini• Shanti Bahini was formed in 1972 to preserve the rights of the tribal people in south-eastern Bangladesh.• Shanti Bahini’s main demand was the prevention of infiltration of outside and regional autonomy.• The forcible resettlement of hill people in ‘strategic villages was undertaken in order to deny civilian support to the ‘Shanti Bahini.’
“Muslims are religious and fanatical, and they are morefanatical about there religion than about anything else.” British High Commissioner, Karachi, 5 may 1948
Increase in Muslim Population in CHT Muslim Population50.00%45.00%40.00%35.00%30.00%25.00% Muslim Population20.00%15.00%10.00% 5.00% 0.00% 1872 1961 1981 Currenly
The Survival International “Normally the soldiers surround a village, round up all men, women and children, and then subject them to different sort of torture. The men and the boys are shot dead or crippled by having their fingers and legs broken.Many of the victims succumb to the injuries and those whosurvive become invalidated for life. They are not providedwith any kind of medical treatment. Evidently the men and boys are often crippled to prevent them from holding weapons. The girls and the housewives are raped.”
Persecution of CHT people by Muslims• Muslim police reviled Buddhist monks, slaughtered a cow on their robes and sprinkled blood on a statue of the Buddha.• Young girls and women were raped by police and army personnel.• The disturbed Areas Law of 1981, had given the lowest ranking army and police personnel unrestricted powers to shoot anyone suspected of anti-state activities.
Massacre of Non-Muslims• More than 300 non-Muslims were butchered at Kaukali Bazaar ground by Muslims.• Hot water was poured into the eyes of one Jyotirmoy Diwan.• The army personnel killed toddlers by smashing them on ground.• Women and girls were gang raped and then massacred, houses were looted and set on fire.
Forceful Conversion• Survival International reported that the Bangladeshi military junta devised a secret plan to force the jumma to become Muslims.• They marry tribal girls to assimilate with tribal people.• Some Buddhist monks were forced to perform namaz.
Based on the official secret documents (Bangladesh) The Survival International Report(1984)600000500000400000300000 Muslim Infiltrators200000100000 0 1980 1981
Repatriation• Jummas never wanted to return to CHT. They said ‘they would rather die of starvation and disease in India than return to CHT.’• Still some Jummas were repatriated in 1982 and 19984.• But they found their houses and possessions in Bengali hands. A great number died of starvation. They were subjected to inhuman torture, killing, rape,
Refugees in Arunachal PradeshDue to the fault of India’s foreign policy makers led by Nehru, about 40,000 Chakmas and Hajongs took shelter in NEFA(Arunachal Pradesh)
Government of India(GOI)• Refugees facing death out of starvation – In august 1991, the supply of milk and milk powder was stopped – In October 1992, supply of masur dal was stopped. – In December 1992 amount paid(20 paisa) to buy dry fish and chilly was allegedly stopped. – In January 1993, supply of edible oil was ceased.
“How can we go back when our Minister Oli Ahmad, made it clear during his last visit herethat the Bangladesh Government does not gainif the refugees return, nor it lose anything if we do not?’ The statesman, 9 August 1993. ‘Chakma Hesitancy’
• Perhaps first and the last occasion when in 1971 India took up the cause of the Non- Muslim minorities in the neighboring.• Government of India considered it inappropriate to publicize the plight of CHT victims.