Indigenous people’s access to land in northern-belt of Bangladesh : a study of the Santal community
Indigenous land access in Bangladesh is limited at local levels as well as national levels, since indigenous peoples have no political recognition and documentary evidence provided by the government. The present research attempts to uncover the level of indigenous people’s land access on what is believed to be their informally inherited common property. It deals with the history of land access of the Santal people in different periods, from early ages to present day, and at a glance gives some geographical perspectives on land access in the northern-belt of Bangladesh. Practical questions according to an in-depth inquiry, along with snow-ball sampling accompanied by available secondary data on Santal people’s land access have been analyzed to uncover some reasons for this land loss. This study also endeavors to analyze some consequences regarding the problematic land access of the present period marked by disputes between the government and indigenous communities. The study also explores trends of protest by indigenous peoples in order to reclaim their access to land. The study shows that indigenous people’s access to land has highly fluctuated throughout different periods, escalating in the post-independence time and taking a critical shape at present. External and internal complexities inter alia complicated government procedures, indigenous peoples’ limited understanding on land ownership, political manipulation, majority-minority conflict, and language barriers have caused major discriminations for the Santal people in achieving their expected access to land. As a result of problematic land access, mass poverty and continuing social complexities have degraded living conditions in indigenous communities, particularly in Santal areas of Bangladesh. The study suggests that indigenous people’s protest and revolt against the oppressions may become fruitful if concerted initiatives are taken at individual, national, community and non-governmental levels.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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