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Security Perceptions and Practices of the Indigenous People of the Chittagong Hills Tracts in Bangladesh

Chakma, Bhumitra


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Dr Bhumitra Chakma
Senior Lecturer, Director of the South Asia Project and Director of Postgraduate Studies (Research and Taught Programmes)


This paper explains the security perceptions and practices of the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh. In doing so, it adopts an interpretive ethnographic approach in which it posits, based on fieldwork experiences and by reflexive interpretation, that the security perceptions of the CHT indigenous people are primarily formed by the process of marginalisation, first in the state of Pakistan and later, from 1971 onward, in the state of Bangladesh. And, marginalisation occurred mainly due to the assimilationist nation-building policies and ill-conceived development projects pursued by the two states which not only affected the livelihood of the indigenous people, it also threatened their survival as identity groups. To cope with insecurities, the Paharis have employed a variety of strategies to protect their identity and livelihood which include constitutional political activism, non-constitutional armed struggle, peace building, international networking, coordination with national level rights groups, and several other mundane measures.


Chakma, B. (2019). Security Perceptions and Practices of the Indigenous People of the Chittagong Hills Tracts in Bangladesh. International Quarterly for Asian Studies, 49(1-2), 83-104.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 10, 2018
Publication Date Mar 20, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 7, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 7, 2020
Journal International Quarterly for Asian Studies
Print ISSN 2566-686X
Electronic ISSN 2566-6878
Publisher Arnold Bergstraesser Institute
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 1-2
Pages 83-104
Keywords indigenous; marginalisation; insecurity; security practice; ethnographic approach
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