Last Updated: Friday, 24 October 2014, 15:39 GMT

Chronology for Chittagong Hill Tribes in Bangladesh

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Chittagong Hill Tribes in Bangladesh, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38681e.html [accessed 25 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
1990 The beginning of the year was marked by a reported return of 1200 refugees from the camps in Tripura. However, the sporadic nature of violence initiated by both sides - the Shanti Bahini and the army - did not subside. By the end of May, the government of Bangladesh claimed that the majority of the refugees - 19,000 out of a total of 29,000 -- had already returned home. The return of the refugees was facilitated by the visit of a 14-member official delegation from Bangladesh to Tripura in mid-May. Later, the return process was halted following the breakdown of talks between the government and representatives of the refugees.
May 14 - 21, 1990 During the third week of May, the Xinhua News Agency reported that about 7,000 refugees had died of disease and malnutrition in Tripura camps. A food riot also broke out in the camps in which the refugees protested the irregularities and insufficiency in the distribution of food at the camps. Six refugees were reported killed by Indian Border Security Forces during the food riots.
Jul 1990 The Military Commander of the CHT, General Salam, claimed that the government had so far spent about $300 million to develop the socio-economic infrastructure in the CHT area. According to him, a total of 2,300 guerrillas have surrendered so far to the army. He believed that the insurgency had been significantly contained, but not fully quelled, because the Shantis are given sanctuary on the other side of the Indian border. Dhaka says the Shantis mostly operate from hideouts in Tripura, with the aid of Indian forces. Such a charge is based on the fact that the areas of guerrilla operation do not have the territorial depth to withstand the combing of the Bangladeshi armed forces.
Oct 1990 The last quarter of 1990 was marked by intensifying anti-government demonstrations against Bangladesh's military regime led by General Ershad. Refugee leaders indicated their support for the opposition. Immediately after the fall of the Ershad regime, the new care-taker government dissolved the District Councils except the three in the CHT area. But the Shantis contained to press their demand for the dissolution of the Councils, regarding them as a `planted agency' of government.
1991 The cycle of violence and counter violence continued throughout the year. The rebels use different strategies - planting bombs in places frequented by Bengali settlers and the army; raiding the settlers' villages at night, burning their homes and killing them; abducting the settlers; and killing `collaborators' among the tribal peoples which forced some tribals to flee to the refugee camps in neighboring India. The new caretaker government continued to grant the District Councils limited autonomy in the management of local affairs. However, the Hill Student Federation, backed by the Shanti Bahini, continued demanding the dissolution of the District Councils, and their replacement by new `representative' organizations. They alleged that the government failed to deliver on its promise to make the Councils really `autonomous' and powerful.
Dec 31, 1991 The Bangladesh government continued to press its offer of amnesty for those Shantis who surrendered. The government also announced rewards for surrendering: 5 acres (2 ha) of land and 45 pounds of food a week for a year. In addition, monetary rewards of Tk. 30,000 ($800) were offered for each light machine gun/mortar surrendered to the army. Following this offer of amnesty and rewards, about 60 rebels were reported to have surrendered by the end of the year. The CHT Student Council, a rival of the Student Federation, has submitted a memorandum to the Indian High Commission at Dhaka, urging the Indian government not to patronize the Chakma `miscreants'.
1992 The major development of the year was the so-called Logong Massacre in which several hundred tribals were killed by the settlers in early April. The massacre sparked anti-government protests; as a result, the government appointed an Inquiry Commission to investigate the killings.
May 20 - 31, 1992 The Prime Minister of Bangladesh Begum Khaleda Zia visited New Delhi to discuss with her counterpart pending bilateral issues like the sharing of Ganges water and the return of the CHT refugees. The two leaders established a Joint Task Force, to deal with, among other issues, the safe return and rehabilitation of the Bangladeshi refugees residing in the six camps in Tripura. Both leaders also agreed not to interfere in each other's internal affairs and provide sanctuary to the insurgency movements of either country. Reuters quoted Bangladeshi officials claiming that about 4000 young girls were missing from the refugee camps. They are believed to have been sold for prostitution in India. A human rights group, Save the Mother and Child, supported the Bangladeshi contention, claiming that more than 3000 girls from the refugee camps have been sold to different brothels in India.
Sep 17, 1992 The AFP reported that the European Parliament has asked the government of Bangladesh to withdraw from the Hill areas and it has also asked the UN to name a special reporter for the region. In another development, 15 people were injured when hundreds of angry Hindu tribes people set fire to two Christian centers in the CHT, protesting alleged attempts to forcibly convert Hindus to Christianity. During the last week of December, the government initiated the second round of peace talks with the Shantis; the result was an extension of a truce for a further three months. No significant headway could be made, since the government refused to accede to rebel demands which included the expulsion of the Bengali settlers, the withdrawal of the army from the area, and the formation of an independent tribal police force.
1993 The release of a report by Amnesty International on human rights violations in Bangladesh coincided with the scheduled meeting of the AID Consortium in Paris in late April. However, the report perhaps did not have the intended negative effect on the amount of aid pledged by the major donors during the financial year 1993-94. The government of Bangladesh dubbed the report as `wrong'.
May 1993 The Zia government initiated another round of meetings with the Shanti Bahini which took place in late May in Khagrasori, in the northern part of the CHT. This was the third meeting between the Zia government and the Shanti Bahini; the previous two meetings were held in May and December of 1992. The two sides discussed issues relating to the return and rehabilitation of the refugees including a land survey of the area, the question of regional autonomy and the withdrawal of settlers from the area.
May 31, 1993 In breach of the agreement on the non-use of violence, Shanti Bahini members attacked a government security patrol, killing one soldier and wounding another. A Bangladeshi parliamentary delegation headed by the Communications Minister again visited New Delhi in May to meet Indian Home Ministry officials and Chakma leaders to finalize the issue of the return of the refugees. As a result of all these diplomatic initiatives, the return of the refugees was finally slated to begin on June 8. The process was expected to be completed in a month. The government has decided to provide the returnees with food for six months and money for the rehabilitation in the area. However, one point of discord still remains about the total number of refugees -- the Bangladesh side says the number is around 30,000; on the other hand, the Indians insist the number is over 50,000 and it handed over a list of 53,405 refugees to Bangladeshi officials.
Jun 8, 1993 To utter surprise of reception officials, only about 32 refugees turned up at the reception centers at the stipulated time. The refugees allegedly refuse to return until they are backed by UN protection, lest they again face persecution and harassment at the hands of the army. India pledged not to forcibly repatriate the refugees. Latest reports suggest that a new Bangladeshi parliamentary delegation headed by a member from the opposition visited Tripura to reassess the situation with Indian officials and refugee leaders. Bangladesh's Foreign Minister also made a visit to New Delhi to discuss the issues involved. Internally, the government again extended a truce and amnesty for the rebels, whom it held responsible for undermining the peace process. In order to facilitate the settlement of the refugees, for the first time, in early June, the government withdrew 3254 Bengali families from the northern CHT District of Khagrachari. The District Rehabilitation Committee has moved these families from 10 tribal villages. The government has indicated its readiness for similar withdrawals of non-tribal settlers from the districts of Rangamati and Bandarban. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is reported to have expressed interest in the refugee repatriation by approaching the Indian government for details about the refugees. The Indian response is not yet clear, as it earlier refused any kind of external involvement. On the other hand, Bangladesh has rejected the proposal of the UN-supervised return of the refugees.
Nov 1993 Violence erupted in the CHT when a demonstrating tribal group was attacked, apparently by a non-tribal settler group. The bloody clash left at least 27 tribals dead and almost 100 injured (Dept. of State Dispatch, 02/94).
Jan 1994 The Shanti Bahini rebels have agreed to extend a truce until April 15 and to hold more peace talks aimed at ending the long-running insurgency. The leaders of the tribal refugees said they would begin returning home from February 15 (UPI, 01/24/94).
Feb 1994 The repatriation of refugees has begun amid fanfare on both sides of the border. The long-awaited event, twice postponed in the past, once in 1987 and again in 1993, has the potential to end a several years-old refugee crisis. However, rebels attacked a Bangladeshi army camp and seized a dozen buses. The violence broke the truce and was aimed at disrupting the repatriation process.
May 1994 A top leader of the insurgents, J. B. Larma, Chief of Parbattya Chattagram Janasanghati Samiti (PCJSS), says they will take up arms again if current peace negotiations fail. The PCJSS has demanded an amendment of the Bangladesh constitution to grant autonomy to the CHT tribals. "We cannot give up our basic demand for a separate entity of the tribal people," but, "we may consider the question of the outsiders (non-tribals)," he said, which indicated some flexibility in their demand for the expulsion of Muslim settlers from the area (BBC, 05/09/94).
Aug 1994 A top strategist of the insurgency, Nishit Dewan, a graduate from Pakistan's Lahore University and later the head of Information and Publicity for the Shanti Bahini's political wing (the PCJSS), surrendered to the army. He stated, "I am here to give myself up. I am fed up with the activities of the Shanti Bahini (Peace Force). They don't want peace..." (Reuters, 08/17/94).
Oct 1994 Military sources stated that on October 11 more than 40 people were injured when tribal rebels battled each other in a dispute over the leadership of the PCJSS, the political wing of the Shanti Bahini. An insurgent was killed and a soldier wounded in an armed encounter in the CHT (Reuters, 10/11/94).
Oct 17, 1994 One rebel was killed and another wounded when tribal rebels ambushed a government patrol in the CHT. One soldier was also injured (Reuters, 10/17/94).
Nov 1994 The government extended a truce with tribal rebels for another month (until Dec 31) to allow for the repatriation of thousands of hills refugees from India. Only 6000 of an estimated 50,000 have returned home since February under an agreement between Bangladesh and India (Reuters, 11/30/95).
Dec 1994 The PCJSS has agreed to extend the truce with the government until the end of March in order to give mediators more time to pursue peace initiatives (Reuters, 12/27/94).
Feb 1995 The Bangladesh government offered fresh incentives to entice CHT refugees to return home from their refugee camps in the Indian state of Tripura. These included free rations and financial grants along with an offer to restore jobs for the returnees (Reuters, 02/07/95).
Mar 1995 The US State Department Human Rights Report indicates that there were no major violent incidents in the CHT in 1994. It also stated that while government policy prohibits the settlement of Bengalis in the CHT, some settlers continue to move in. Bengalis now constitute 45% of the population of the CHT (03/95).
Mar 15, 1995 Tribal refugee leaders visiting the CHT said they were unhappy with Bangladesh's efforts to resettle refugees returning from India. They accused the Bangladesh government of failing to fulfill pledges made before the repatriation began (Reuters, 03/15/95).
Mar 15, 1995 Local officials reported that one person was killed, nearly 100 injured, and some 300 houses burned during a rally in the CHT (Reuters, 03/15/95).
Mar 31, 1995 The Bangladesh government and the CHT rebels have agreed to extend their truce until April 20 while talks continue (Reuters, 03/31/95).
Mar 31, 1995 The leader of the Shanti Bahini, Shantu Larma, stated that his group will continue negotiations with the government but that if a settlement was not reached, armed struggle would ensue. Larma asserted that his 5000 member guerrilla force is seeking autonomy within Bangladesh along with the expulsion of some 300,000 Bengali settlers from the CHT (Asiaweek, 03/31/95).
Apr 1995 The Shanti Bahini has asked the government to free 15 of its comrades as a precondition for extending the ceasefire agreement until May 5. The government indicated that the release of 5 Shanti Bahini members was already being processed (Reuters, 04/13/95).
May 1995 The Bangladesh government has extended the truce agreement with the Shanti Bahini until May 25 (Reuters, 05/03/95).
May 26, 1995 Four members of the Shanti Bahini surrendered to army officials in the CHT. The Shanti Bahini also unilaterally extended their truce with the government until June 16 but demanded that 15 PCJSS activists be released by June 10 (Reuters, 05/26/95).
Jun 1995 CHT tribal leaders have agreed to extend the truce until July 20 to allow for the continuation of peace talks (Reuters, 06/12/95).
Jun 14, 1995 At least 11 members of the Shanti Bahini are reported to have robbed a bank in the CHT. One bystander was killed and two bank officials were abducted (Agence France Presse, 06/14/95).
Jun 18, 1995 Two tribal rebels suspected of robbing a bank in the CHT have been killed by Bangladeshi soldiers. The two died during a battle between government forces and about 20 Shanti Bahini members (Reuters, 06/18/95).
Jun 23, 1995 Tribal rebels in the CHT ambushed a military patrol, killing one solider and wounding two others (Reuters, 06/24/95).
Jun 24, 1995 Bangladesh has stepped up security in the CHT following recent attacks by the Shanti Bahini. It has also agreed to uphold the ceasefire agreement, despite recent violations by the tribal rebels (Deutsche Press-Agentur, 06/24/95).
Jun 30, 1995 Tripura's governor has urged the CHT tribals in refugee camps in the state to be prepared to leave after the monsoon. He also stated that Bangladesh needed to create a conducive atmosphere for the refugees return (BBC, 06/30/95).
Jul 1995 The Shanti Bahini and the Bangladesh government have agreed to extend their truce until September 30. The Bangladesh government also released 10 tribal prisoners and the two sides agreed that all the remaining prisoners would be released within the next two months (Reuters, 07/12/95; BBC, 07/14/95).
Aug 1995 Malaria has killed nearly 400 people in three months in southeast Bangladesh. Some 100,000 people have been infected since May but government officials said they could not reach remote areas due to the violence in the CHT. Malaria broke out along Bangladesh's northeastern border early this year and turned into an epidemic in March-April, killing nearly 2,000 people (Reuters, 08/02/95).
Aug 23, 1995 According to intelligence sources, tribal rebels from Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) have agreed to wage a joint campaign against their governments to press for political autonomy. The Shanti Bahini and Myanmar's Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) have reportedly agreed to join forces to attack security posts and to give shelter to each other when pursued by troops (Reuters, 08/23/95).
Aug 28, 1995 CHT rebels attacked a Christian village, killing one person and wounding three others, according to the police. The Christians in the Hill Tracts have opposed the Shanti Bahini's demand for autonomy and instead have supported the government's peace efforts (Reuters, 08/28/95).
Sep 1995 CHT tribals have agreed to extend a truce with the government until October 31. However, they are demanding that five of their comrades be freed by October 15 (Reuters, 09/06/95).
Oct 1995 One Shanti Bahini member was killed during a gun battle with government troops in the CHT (Reuters, 10/05/95).
Oct 25, 1995 The truce agreement between the government and CHT tribals has been extended until December 31 (Reuters, 10/25/95).
Nov 1995 About nine members of the Shanti Bahini ambushed an army patrol close to the border of India's Tripura state. No injuries were reported. This latest incident occurred following Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's call to rebel tribesmen to lay down their arms in response to the government's amnesty offer. Zia also promised a fresh development package and more government funds for 2 million tribal peoples living in the area (Deutsche Press-Agentur, 11/18/95).
Nov 25, 1995 The ceasefire between the government and the Shanti Bahini was extended until November 31 (Jane's Defense Weekly, 11/25/95).
Dec 1995 One tribal rebel was killed when police challenged the Shanti Bahini's efforts to collect money from villagers in the CHT (12/06/95).
Dec 21, 1995 Around 60 people were injured in clashes between the police and the Hill Students Council (which supports the Shanti Bahini) in the CHT. Officials said the incident occurred after the students ambushed a policy convoy carrying 13 of their members to court for a trial (Reuters, 12/21/95).
Dec 26, 1995 Sporadic clashes between the Hill Students Council and the police have led to over 50 injuries in the CHT. Meanwhile, the Shanti Bahini agreed to extend a truce with the government until January 20, 1996 (Reuters, 12/26/95).
Jan 19, 1996 The Shanti Bahini extends the ceasefire until February 15. The rebels reportedly attacked a military camp in the Rangamati hills twice in the past week. Since August 1995, 7 rebels and 5 security personnel have been killed in battles. The government contends that the Shanti Bahini is training and arming its supporters including members of the Hill Students Federation and the Hill Women's Federation. Some 45,000 troops are reported to be in the region (Reuters, 01/19/96).
Jan 27, 1996 The Shanti Bahini kill two Chakma tribes people reportedly because they were informers for the government (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 01/27/96).
Feb 12, 1996 Two border security force personnel are killed in a Shanti Bahini ambush near the border with Tripura. The government extends the ceasefire to March 31 (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 02/12/96).
Mar 10, 1996 The CHT National Coordination and Peace Council accuses the Indian government and the Shanti Bahini of preventing Chakma refugees in Tripura from returning home (Reuters, 03/10/96).
Apr 15, 1996 The Shanti Bahini kill 3 Bengalis during a religious celebration. The truce is extended to April 30 (Reuters, 04/15/96).
May 20, 1996 Two soldiers are killed in a Shanti Bahini ambush. A few days earlier two rebels were arrested (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 05/20/96).
Jun 1996 The Awami League forms a new government following federal elections. Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of the country's first leader, Mujibur Rahman, becomes Prime Minister. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) government stepped down in March amid protracted shutdowns and violent protests that left 130 dead and thousands injured (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 04/25/96; Reuters, 07/11/96).
Jul 1, 1996 The government and the Shanti Bahini agree to extend the ceasefire until the end of the month (Reuters, 07/01/96).
Jul 27, 1996 The Shanti Bahini reportedly abducts 9 Bengali settlers (Reuters, 07/27/96).
Jul 30, 1996 The truce is extended until the end of September. The Shanti Bahini abducts a local government official and burns down eight homes in the attack (Reuters, 07/30/96).
Sep 11, 1996 The Shanti Bahini allegedly abduct and subsequently kill 30 Bengalis settlers near the town of Rangamati. This is reported to be the worst massacre since 1986 (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 09/11/96).
Sep 11, 1996 Some reports indicate that the PCJSS recently scaled down its demand from independence to autonomy in exchange for a ceasefire until Sept 30. The first talks between the PCJSS and the new Awami government reportedly stalled on the rebels' demand that the Bengali settlers be expelled from the region. The government appears willing to give local powers over administration and law and order (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 09/11/96).
Sep 12, 1996 Hundreds of people demonstrate in Dhaka to press the government to take stern action to curb rebel attacks in the CHT (Reuters, 09/12/96).
Sep 30, 1996 The PCJSS unilaterally extends the truce until October 31 (Reuters, 09/30/96).
Nov 3, 1996 The Shanti Bahini unilaterally extends the ceasefire until November 30 (Agence France Presse, 11/3/96).
Nov 11, 1996 The Awami League government offers to hold peace talks this month with the PCJSS, the political wing of the Shanti Bahini (Reuters, 11/11/96).
Nov 19, 1996 The PCJSS says that peace talks should be held on December 10. The ceasefire is extended (Reuters, 11/19/96).
Nov 30, 1996 Tribal rebels kidnap six Bengali settlers, including two government officials. The government suggests that peace talks begin on December 21 (Reuters, 11/30/96).
Dec 12, 1996 India and Bangladesh reach an agreement on the Farakka barrage dispute which has been a key irritant in their relations since the mid-1970s. The 30-year treaty outlines how the two countries will share the output of the Ganges River, which flows through both states (Reuters, 01/01/97).
Dec 18, 1996 Army commandos free six Bengali settlers, abducted by the Shanti Bahini two weeks ago (Reuters, 12/18/96).
Dec 21, 1996 As peace talks resume, the ceasefire is extended to March 31, 1997(Reuters, 12/21/96).
Dec 24, 1996 Both sides agree to meet again on January 25 (Agence France Presse, 12/24/96).
Dec 26, 1996 A pro-peace tribal leader, the head of the tribal and non-tribal CHT National Coordination and Peace Council, is killed. An extremist faction of the Shanti Bahini is blamed. Hundreds of tribals and settlers attend his funeral (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 12/26/96).
Jan 6, 1997 Bangladesh and India agree to cooperate to fight insurgents in their border regions. The two countries will activate a joint working group to investigate guerrilla activity (Reuters, 01/06/97).
Jan 25, 1997 Another round of peace talks is held. This is the first time that the PCJSS and the government's negotiating team meet in Dhaka. This is viewed as a sign of progress as all the previous meetings were held in the CHT (Reuters, 01/25/97).
Jan 27, 1997 Significant progress is reported after three days of talks between the PCJSS and the government's parliamentary national committee. The committee includes members of all the major political parties, with the exception of the BNP which has refused to participate. The government is apparently ready to provide some form of regional autonomy but the rebels still want the settlers expelled and an immediate troop withdrawal from the region. The two sides are set to meet again on March 12 (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Reuters, 01/27/97).
Feb 15, 1997 Three policemen and a soldier are killed in Shanti Bahini ambushes. A hard-line rebel faction opposed to the talks is reported to be responsible (Reuters, 02/15/97).
Feb 24, 1997 Bangladesh has expressed its concern to Thailand about its hosting of an upcoming international peace conference on the CHT. Dhaka fears that it might jeopardize the peace process. The conference is being organized by various NGOS including the Australia-based Jumma People Network of the Asia-Pacific. Some 25 Bangladeshis, who were to attend the conference, were refused Thai visas (Xinhua News Agency, 02/24/97).
Mar 2, 1997 Following a visit to the refugee camps in Tripura, a senior Awami League leader says that the repatriation of the Chakmas will likely resume this month (Agence France Presse, 03/02/97).
Mar 6, 1997 India orders the demolition of Shanti Bahini camps in Tripura (Agence France Presse, 03/06/97).
Mar 7, 1997 A little-known rebel group, the North-Eastern Liberation Tigers warns that it will blow up the main port city of Chittagong if Bangladesh participates in security operations with the Indian army against insurgents in their border areas. Prime Minister Hasina recently announced that Indian separatist rebels will not be allowed to use Bangladeshi soil (Agence France Presse, 03/07/97).
Mar 9, 1997 Beginning on March 28, some 5000 Chakma refugees will start returning home from refugee camps in Tripura. Dhaka has promised to provide them with money and food rations to facilitate their resettlement. The last repatriation was in 1994. Some 50-60,000 Chakma are in Tripura's refugee camps (Reuters, 03/09/97).
Mar 13, 1997 Two days of peace talks end in Dhaka. The ceasefire is extended. The main issues on the table include the future status of the Bengali settlers and a troop withdrawal. Prime Minister Hasina recently stated that the settlers will not be relocated. The two sides will meet again on April 30 (Reuters, 03/13/97).
Mar 13, 1997 A general strike, called for by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the Islamic Jamaat-i-Islami Party and the Parbatyo Bangalee Gano Parishad (which represents settlers in the CHT), is held to protest ongoing peace talks which the organizations believe are against the interests of the Bengali settlers (Agence France Presse, 03/13/97).
Mar 19, 1997 Eleven tribes people are abducted in the CHT by unknown assailants (Reuters, 03/19/97).
Mar 28, 1997 The first 278 Chakma refugees are greeted by government officials as they return to Bangladesh. Some 6700 are expected to return by April 7 (Reuters, 03/28/97).
Apr 4, 1997 Up to 6700 Chakmas in refugee camps in Tripura return to the Chittagong Hill Tracts. India and Bangladesh recently reached a new agreement to facilitate their repatriation (Reuters, 04/04/97).
Apr 12, 1997 Some 50 people are injured in clashes between tribals and Bengalis in a market in Khagrachari hill district. The Bengalis reportedly attacked the tribes people after they allegedly assaulted a Bengali who was accused of pick-pocketing (Reuters, 04/12/97).
Apr 15, 1997 Tribal students blockade roads, damage vehicles, and attack travelers to protest harassment by Bengalis on April 12 (see above) (Reuters, 04/15/97).
Apr 26, 1997 The PCJSS defers talks until May 11. No reason is given (Xinhua News Agency, 04/26/97).
May 4, 1997 Four soldiers and two rebels are killed in gun battles. It is not clear if the rebels belong to the Shanti Bahini or are from Indian or Burmese insurgent groups. While speaking to a rally of tens of thousands, BNP leader Khaleda Zia calls for a day-long strike in the CHT. Bengali settlers also threaten to strike to be allowed to stay in the region and to ensure that the government will keep the troops there (Agence France Presse, 05/05/97; Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Reuters, 05/04/97).
May 11, 1997 Talks between the two sides resume in Dhaka. A day-long strike is called in the CHT by an anti-tribal Bengali settler group (Agence France Presse, 05/11/97).
May 12, 1997 A tribal Awami League MP is appointed chairman of a task force that has been formed to oversee the rehabilitation of the Chakma refugees. The position has the status of a state minister (Agence France Presse, 05/12/97).
May 14, 1997 Bangladesh says an agreement has been reached with the PCJSS. No details are released. The bodies of two suspected tribal rebels are discovered in the CHT (Reuters, 05/14/97).
Jul 19, 1997 Around round of talks between the PCJSS and the parliamentary national committee ends. The two sides are preparing a draft agreement. A new group, the New CHT Council has been formed by Priti Kumar Chakma. The groups wants total autonomy or independence. Meanwhile, the entire country has been subject to widespread flooding (Agence France Presse, 08/10/97; Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 07/14/97; Xinhua News Agency, 07/19/97).
Sep 14, 1997 Talks open again, reportedly following a secret meeting between the Shanti Bahini and Prime Minister Hasina (Agence France Presse, 09/14/97).
Sep 17, 1997 Following four days of talks, the government and the PCJSS agree on a draft settlement. They will meet again after discussing the deal with their respective sides (Agence France Presse, 09/17/97).
Sep 18, 1997 While no official announcement has been made about the deal, it is reported to include: 1) an elected regional hill council for the CHT that will be responsible for local administration and law and order; 2) the closure of several military camps and a reduction in security forces in the region; 3) the creation of a separate federal government ministry to speed up development in the region; 4) the government agrees to evict only illegal settlers(Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 09/18/97).
Oct 16, 1997 The peace accord is expected to be signed in a month. The PCJSS has ratified the deal. Around 15,000 Bengali settlers in the CHT protest against the settlement. Opposition parties such as the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jamaat-i-Islami also express their opposition, stating that the deal is a threat to the country's security and a sell-out to India. They contend that the region will become Indian territory. Meanwhile, the refugee repatriation is set to resume on November 21 (AAP Newsfeed, Agence France Presse, 10/16/97).
Oct 22, 1997 A large rally by tribal peoples is held in the CHT on October 17 to support the peace agreement. Five days later, the region witnesses a general strike against the deal called by the BNP and other right parties. It is reported that the Shanti Bahini will surrender its weapons once the deal is signed (Inter Press Service, 10/22/97).
Oct 30, 1997 The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jamaat-i-Islami agree to launch a united movement to oppose the peace agreement (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 10/30/97).
Nov 1, 1997 A day-long strike called by the BNP and the Jamaat is held in the three districts of the CHT (Hindu, 11/01/97).
Nov 12, 1997 At least 5 people are killed and 50 injured in Chittagong city after clashes between the police and supporters of the BNP who began rioting after a rally against the peace accord (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 11/12/97).
Nov 13, 1997 Bangladesh recently closed secret warfare training centers near its border with India. They were reportedly set up by Pakistan's Inter Intelligence Services to train militant tribal groups in India. Meanwhile, political parties opposed to the peace deal hold a strike in Chittagong (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 11/13/97).
Nov 27, 1997 Talks between the two sides resume, along with the repatriation of Chakmas in refugee camps in Tripura (Agence France Presse, 11/27/97).
Nov 28, 1997 At least 4 people die during clashes between supporters of the Awami League and opposition political parties. The incidents occur as the BNP and other parties continue protests/strikes against the peace accord (Agence France Presse, 11/28/97).
Dec 2, 1997 Representatives of the parliamentary national committee and Shanti Bahini leader Jyotindra Bodhipriyo Larma formally sign the peace accord. Reached after seven rounds of talks over the past year, the agreement provides for broad autonomous powers to administer the three hill districts of Rangamati, Khagrachari, and Bandarban, an area of around 14,000 sq. km. Its provisions include: 1. the region will be governed by a 22-member regional council; two-thirds of its members will be tribals. It will be led by a tribal chairperson who will have the status of a Minister of State. The council will be responsible for public administration, law and order, and promoting the region's development; 2. The Shanti Bahini rebels will surrender their arms under a general amnesty. They will receive financial assistance to return to normal life; 3. Bengali settlers will not be expelled from the region; 4. The government will withdraw security outposts manned by the army and paramilitary forces; 5. Laws will be developed to ban the sale of tribal lands to non-tribal settlers unless the regional council gives its permission (Deutsche Presse-Agentur). In Khagrachari district, both tribals and non-tribals hold a march to celebrate the signing ceremony. In Dhaka, various political parties hold demonstrations both for and against the accord (Agence France Presse, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 12/02/97; Hindu, 12/08/97).
Dec 3, 1997 The BNP and 7 other opposition parties hold 4 days of protests and strikes to oppose the accord (Agence France Presse, 12/03/97).
Dec 7, 1997 Around 50 people are injured as supporters of rival political parties and police forces battle in Dhaka during a general strike over the peace deal (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 12/07/97).
Dec 11, 1997 Around 150 people are injured and 100 arrested after a 48-hour strike in the city of Chittagong. Bengali settlers torched an Awami League office and destroyed a bridge to oppose the accord (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 12/11/97).
Dec 14, 1997 BNP-led protests against the peace agreement continue in Khagrachari district. No injuries are reported (Agence France Presse, 12/14/97).
Dec 17, 1997 A coalition of opposition parties and the Bengali settler group, the Bengali Oikya Parishad, enforce roadblocks in the three hill districts (Agence France Presse, 12/17/97).
Dec 22, 1997 The government formally ratifies the peace treaty; this is the last step before its implementation. The BNP and the Jamaat-i-Islami continue their strikes/protests in Dhaka and Chittagong to oppose the accord. The BNP also maintains its boycott on attending Parliament (in effect since August) (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 12/22/97).
Jan 15, 1998 Around 600 Shanti Bahini rebels are expected to turn in their arms during a ceremony on February 10. Other surrenders will occur on February 16, 22, and 28 (Agence France Presse, 01/15/98).
Feb 6, 1998 The government announces an amnesty for all tribal rebels who turn in their arms (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 02/06/98).
Feb 7, 1998 The Hill Peoples' Council says that it will boycott the February 10 surrender ceremony as it disagrees with certain clauses of the agreement (Agence France Presse, 02/07/98).
Feb 10, 1998 Thousands of people attend a formal surrender ceremony at a football stadium in the town of Khagrachari. Led by PCJSS and Shanti Bahini leader Jyotindra Bodhipriyo (Shantu) Larma, some 740 rebels hand in their weapons. Larma announces the formal disbandment of the Shanti Bahini, the military wing of the PCJSS. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pledges a $470 million development package for the region. A small group representing the Hill Students Council protests against the deal. They want full autonomy and the expulsion of the Bengali settlers. A BNP-called strike is observed in Chittagong city (Agence France Presse, 02/10/98).
Feb 22, 1998 Around 650 rebels give up their arms, raising the number Shanti Bahinis that have surrendered to 1282 (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 02/22/98).
Mar 4, 1998 The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) announces that it will rejoin Parliament. It has been boycotting parliament since last August to protest harassment of its party members (Agence France Presse, 03/04/98).
Mar 5, 1998 A final group of 209 Shanti Bahini rebels surrender their weapons (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 03/05/98).
Mar 5, 1998 The US oil company, United Meridian Corporation, suspends oil and gas exploration in the CHT, contending that its personnel are subject to intimidation by tribals who are demanding money. The company began its surveys late last year (Agence France Presse, 03/05/98).
Mar 21, 1998 Members of the Hill Students Council set fire to a bus in Khagrachari district to protest the arrest of four of their activists. No injuries are reported. The activists were arrested for instigating a campaign against the peace treaty (Agence France Presse, 03/21/98).
Apr 15, 1998 A countrywide strike, called by political parties opposed to the peace deal, is partly observed. Four people are killed and 200 injured in clashes between supporters of rival parties. On April 12, four bills to ratify the agreement were tabled in parliament (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 04/15/98).
Apr 18, 1998 Five people were killed recently in the CHT by unknown assailants (Agence France Presse, 04/18/98).
Apr 23, 1998 The PCJSS and the government hold three days of talks to clarify the bills that are before parliament. Three tribal groups are reported to oppose the accord. They are the Pahari Chhatra Parishad, the Pahari Gano Parishad, and the Hill Women's' Federation (Hindu, 04/23/98).
May 6, 1998 Clashes between supporters of opposing political parties during a nation-wide general strike result in injuries to 50 people. The strike was held to oppose the tribal agreement (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 05/06/98).
May 11, 1998 The Supreme Court rejects a BNP member's petition that challenges the legality of the peace treaty. Last week, parliament passed the four bills needed to implement the accord (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 05/11/98).
May 12, 1998 BNP legislators hold a one-day hunger strike to protest parliament's adoption of the peace agreement bills (Agence France Presse, 05/12/98).
May 13, 1998 An Awami League member informs parliament that 55,000 people died during the twenty-five year tribal insurgency (Agence France Presse, 05/13/98).
Jun 11, 1998 Some 50,000 people, including members of the political parties that oppose the peace accord, complete a two-day march from Dhaka to Khagrachari. Most of the people traveled by car or truck. Some 100 people were injured when members of the march clashed with Awami League supporters (Deutsche Presse Agentur, 06/10/98; Hindu, 06/11/98).
Jun 18, 1998 An opposition-called general strike is partially observed across the country. The strike was called to protest the peace accord, political persecution, and rising prices. Clashes between rival party supporters result in 50 injuries (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 06/18/98).
Sep 5, 1998 The Asian Development Bank will conduct a study to develop a 15 to 20 year development plan for the CHT. The United Nations is also undertaking similar studies (Agence France Presse, 09/05/98).
Sep 7, 1998 The government appoints the leader of the PCJSS, Jyotindra Bodhipriyo Larma, as chairman of the CHT Regional Council. The government also announces the other 21 appointments for the interim council which will govern until elections are held (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 09/07/98).
Oct 3, 1998 A rift has emerged between the government and the PCJSS. The tribal organization says that the government had previously agreed to appoint the three Bengali settlers it had selected to the regional council but instead it chose members from its own political party. The PCJSS has rejected the regional council (Hindu, 10/03/98).
Oct 11, 1998 A second meeting between government officials and the PCJSS fails to resolve the issue of appointments to the interim regional council (Agence France Presse, 10/11/98).
Oct 30, 1998 The tribal All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) says that beginning on November 1 it will drive some 50,000 Chakmas out of the Indian state and into Bangladesh. While the Chakmas have resided in Arunachal Pradesh for over thirty years, they have not been granted Indian citizenship. India's Supreme Court recently directed the state government to ensure the safety of the Chakmas. Human rights groups have reported that the Chakmas are subject to gross human rights violations. The AAPSU says that the Chakmas will overwhelm their state's tribal population and that they are planning an insurgency (Agence France Presse, 10/03/98).
Nov 23, 1998 India vows that it will not allow any CHT insurgents to operate from its territory. New Delhi also says it fully supports the peace agreement reached last year (Agence France Presse, 11/23/98).
Nov 30, 1998 The PCJSS and the government remain deadlocked over the formation of the regional council. PCJSS leader Jyotindra Larma says that the government has not adhered to its commitments on dismantling temporary army camps and releasing detained Shanti Bahini rebels. Another tribal leader states that his community has gained nothing from the accord (Inter Press Service, 11/30/98).
Dec 1, 1998 More than 90 deaths and abductions were reported in the CHT in the past year. Most of these involved settlers and tribals and were usually linked to land disputes or extortion. Meanwhile, the government says parts of the agreement have been implemented as some army camps have been closed and former rebels are being integrated into the police forces. The government recently ensured the residence and voting rights of the region's Bengali settlers. The PCJSS announces that it will contest the next general elections, likely in 2001 (Agence France Presse, 12/01/98).
Apr 28, 1999 The worst floods in a century devastated Bangladesh last year. The country is now in the midst of a six month drought (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 04/28/99).
May 10, 1999 The PCJSS says that it will immediately take charge of the regional council. The tribal organization's decision follows governmental assurances of speedy implementation of the peace accord (Agence France Presse, 05/10/99).
May 25, 1999 Some 50,000 Chakmas are reported to have returned to the CHT from refugee camps in India's Tripura state (Agence France Presse, 05/25/99).
May 26, 1999 PCJSS leader Larma claims that a section of the government opposed to the peace agreement is backing a tribal group that also rejects the accord. Larma's convoy was attacked by unknown persons en route to Rangamati, where the regional council will be situated. No injuries were reported (Agence France Presse, 05/26/99).
May 27, 1999 A formal ceremony is held to install PCJSS leader Larma as chairman of the regional council. The government's choices to represent the three Bengali settlers will remain in place. Strikes to protest against the accord are held by settlers in Rangamati and opposition parties in Dhaka. Larma asserts that the government has not fulfilled its requirement to withdraw all army camps except those in six cantonments (Agence France Presse, 05/27/99).

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