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As Bangladesh is an agrarian country, here agriculture has historically remained the dominant form of economic activity. Land is central to agriculture, because without land, it is just not possible to do any kind of farming. And due to the scarcity of land as a resource, there have always been conflict over its control. In this paper, I look into causes underpinning the land conflict which has torn apart the hilly region of Bangladesh known as the CHT in the last five decades. I show that, this struggle for the control over land is at the heart of ethnic conflict of that region. A brief historical background of this conflict is given. The legal and administrative structure which somehow reproduces these conflicts has been addressed. The situation has been worsened by taking a notorious policy like population transfer as a mean of demographic engineering. Even though a formal Peace accord has been signed between the Bangladesh government and the hill rebels, the root cause of conflict remains intact, and nothing effective has been done to settle the land issues of the region. Like the plain districts of the country, land grabbing is taking place on an ever-increasing scale, the complexity of which is discussed in detail. I argue that, though the land conflict of the CHT is ethnic in appearance, it is a class conflict in essence. I end the paper by formulating some policy recommendations to ensure meaningful and sustainable peace in the area.
Keywords: Indigenous People, Bangali settlers, Bangladesh Government, PCJSS, Peace Accord, Land Grabbing, Land Rights.
To read the paper, please click: Beyond Ethnicity Land Conflict in the CHT