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Bangladesh hill tribes seek support against their ‘extermination’

  • Published
    31st Jan, 2023

An organisation representing the Chin-Kuki-Mizo communities living in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar has sought the help of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in ending the “policy of extermination” of ethnic minorities inhabiting the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh. 

Who are Chin-Kuki-Mizo?

  • Chin-Kuki-Mizo belongs to the same tribe with different names residing in Myanmar, Bangladesh and India with close geographical proximity along the border region between the countries. 
  • This ethnic armed group is engaged in political and military endeavours to establish an independent state in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
  • Their political front, the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), also has an armed component known as the Kuki-Chin Army (KNA). 
    • It emerged as a non-profit development organization, but since 2017, it has evolved into a separatist group.
  • The Kuki-Chin is a geographical grouping of numerous Tibeto-Burman language-speaking ethnic communities that make up the majority in the Indian state of Mizoram and the Chin state of Myanmar. 
  • Along with the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, they also reside in the hilly regions of the Indian states of Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland. 
  • The KNF is made up of six members of the Kuki-Chin ethnic group: the Bawm, Pangkhua, Lusai, Khumi, Mro, and Khiang.

The location (Chittagong Hill Tracts)

  • The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is an impoverished hilly, forested area that sprawls over more than 13,000 sq km of the Khagrachari, Rangamati, and Bandarban districts of southeastern Bangladesh, bordering Mizoram to the east, Tripura to the north, and Myanmar to the south and southeast.
  • A significant portion of the population is tribal, and culturally and ethnically different from the majority Muslim Bangladeshis who live in the country’s deltaic mainland.
  • The tribal population of the CHT has ethnic links with tribal populations in the adjacent areas of India, mainly in Mizoram. 
  • Mizoram shares a 318-km-long border with Bangladesh.

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