What is CHT Decolonization?


By Nikhil Chakma

Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) was an INDEPENDENT STATE though not in the modern sense of the term. It was colonized by the British in 1860. It was ILLEGALLY annexed with East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1947 during the partition of the Indian Sub-continent into two independent sovereign states: Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Secular Democratic Republic of India. East Pakistan gained its independence from Pakistan in 1971 through a bloody civil war.

Pakistan got CHT as a colonial legacy from the British. Bangladesh got CHT as a colonial legacy from Pakistan. The Jumma people of CHT continue to be ruled under the Bangladeshi colony till today despite decolonization of all former British colonies, like what are now known as Pakistan and India, with the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. It is illegal, undemocratic and unfair.

It is the worst form of human rights violation. Now the Jumma people of CHT have been reduced to an “indigenous people” under the Bangladeshi colony. They must free themselves from the Bangladeshi colony, as the “indigenous peoples” of what are now known as Pakistan and India did from the British colony on the basis of the principle of right to self-determination. The right to self-determination lost by the Jumma people in 1860 needs to be restored now. For that, it is important and essential to decolonize CHT or free CHT from the Bangladeshi colony on the basis of applicable international/UN laws relating to the right to self-determination of peoples.

In this way, the Jumma indigenous people legally reclaim their inalienable right to self-determination or independence from Bangladesh, as East Timor did from Indonesia

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