Blaming Jhum, denying Jhumia : challenges of indigenous peoples land rights in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh : a case study on Chakma and Tripura
AuthorTripura, Sontosh Bikash
The special focus in this thesis is about the challenges of the indigenous peoples land rights in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh. Traditionally, indigenous peoples practiced jhum cultivation. The notion of the ownership of the land for the practices of jhum cultivation is distinct from wet-rice cultivation. The jhum cultivator must every year change the places to plant from one field to another. On the other hand, jhum cultivation has been blamed for environmental problems since the British period, while justifying taking the land in relation to profit or a commercial perspective. Jhumia Indigenous Peoples in the CHT have been ruled over from the British to the successive Bangladesh period. The approach of the entire ruler has centrally focused on the land and natural resources in the CHT. Furthermore, the policy on the Jhumia indigenous people’s economy and livelihoods has been imposed by outsiders throughout time. In this context, I especially concentrated on how the Jhumia Indigenous Peoples have been alienated from their land from the British period to the present state of Bangladesh. That is why, I focused on how the indigenous peoples have been displaced and lost control and their rights to their own land. Jhumia Indigenous peoples are still being dislocated from their land due to the state policy, particularly Bengali settlement with the state security support. The myth of vacant land was established during the British period and the Bangladesh state still has been allying the concept of vacant land. However, behind the myth of vacant land what is the State policy and how it affects on the Jhumia indigenous peoples, which has not been discussed as much. Hence, I have discussed the historical context for the imposition of the “doctrine of terra nullius” during the British period and its implication in the successive nation states of Pakistan and Bangladesh. By the imposition of the “doctrine of terra nullius” the land has been used for the State’s own interests and its impacts on the indigenous peoples have been the focused in this thesis. In this study I will present the general picture of the root causes of the land alienation of the Jhumia indigenous peoples and the conflict therein. Thus, to analyze the present context, I have focused on the changing trends of land ownership patterns and the hidden interests when they blame jhum cultivation since colonial authority to the nation-state of Bangladesh. The major findings in my thesis are that the local people’s existence has been violated by the imposition of power for the extraction of the land and natural resources. Using the author’s own subjective experience as a point reference, it brings into focus the present reality of indigenous peoples in the CHT of Bangladesh.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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