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Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021
Outlook.com

Shrill Chimes Of Chittagong

The 20-year-old insurgent conflict may have quietened down but is far from resolved

Shrill Chimes Of Chittagong
Shrill Chimes Of Chittagong
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

A semblance of normality is slowly returning to the picturesque Chittagong Hill Tracts. For some two decades now, southeastern Bangladesh has witnessed a bloody conflict pitting the security forces against the Shanti Bahini, the militant wing of an embittered tribal people, a majority of them Chakmas, fighting for a measure of autonomy to ensure their way of life.

With a ceasefire announced by the insurgents in 1992 still holding, people can now be seen loitering around late into the night—unthinkable even three years ago. Most of the military checkpoints that restricted free movement have virtually disappeared and as Mohammad Ismail, the deputy commissioner of Khagrachari, says, "You can actually come and go without the fear of being waylaid, even after midnight."

It is still not clear why the insurgents actually declared the unilateral ceasefire. The PCJSS (Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity), the political wing of the Shanti Bahini, maintains that it was effected to test the government's commitment to a...

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