Shanti Bahini

The Shanti Bahini (Bengali: শান্তি বাহিনী; meaning "Peace Force") was the armed wing of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (United People's Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts) in Bangladesh. It is considerend an insurgent group in Bangladesh.[2] The Shanti Bahini was made out of mostly members from the Chakma tribe.[3]

Shanti Bahini
শান্তি বাহিনী
LeadersM.N. Larma
Shantu Larma
Dates of operation1972 (1972)–1997 (1997)
Active regionsChittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh
IdeologyAutonomy for the indigenous tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts
Size2,000–15,000[1]
Part of PCJSS
Allies India
 Myanmar
Opponents Bangladesh
Battles and warsChittagong Hill Tracts conflict

HistoryEdit

Following the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Manabendra Narayan Larma founded the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) on 15 February 1972, seeking to build an organization representing all the tribal peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Larma was elected to the Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad, the national legislature of Bangladesh as a candidate of the PCJSS in 1973.[4] When Larma's continued efforts to make the government recognize the rights of the tribal peoples through political discussions had failed,[5] Larma and the PCJSS began organizing the Shanti Bahini (Peace Corps), an armed force operating in the Hill Tracts area. It was formed in 1972 and fought for many years against the government.[6]

 
Members of Shanti Bahini in Khagrachari on 5 May 1994.

Shanti Bahini began attacking Bangladesh Army convoys in 1977.[7] They carried out kidnappings and extortion.[8][9][10] Larma subsequently went into hiding from government security forces.[8][10] Factionalism within the PCJS weakened Larma's standing and he was assassinated on 10 November 1983.[8][10] On 23 June 1981 the Shanti Bahini attacked a camp of Bangladesh rifles, killing 13 people. They later captured and executed 24 members of the Bangladesh rifles.[11] In the 1980s the Government of Bangladesh started to provide land for thousands of landless Bengali . Many Bengali were forced to move to secure regions because of the insurgency, abandoning their land to the tribal communities.[12] On 29 April 1986, Shanti Bahini massacred 19 Bengali.[13][14] On 26 June 1989 the Shanti Bahini burned down villages where inhabitants had voted in Bangladeshi elections.[15] In 1996 Shanti Bahini abducted and killed 30 Bengali.[16] On 9 September 1996, the Shanti Bahini massacred a group of Bengali woodcutters, who were under the impression they'd been called to a meeting.[17] Members of Shanti Bahini extracted some four million dollars from the local population in the name of toll collection.[18]

The Shanti Bahini abandoned militancy when the Bangladesh Awami League negotiated the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord between the government and the PCJSS on 2 December 1997.[19] Members of Shanti Bahini surrendered their weapons in a stadium in Khagrachari. The treaty saw the lifting of nighttime curfew and the return of 50 thousand refugees.[20] However, some members opposed to the peace deal formed a dissident group.[21] Some of those who opposed the peace treaty formed the United People's Democratic Front as an alternate to the PCJSS.[22] The treaty was also criticised by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party[23][page needed] and has not been fully implemented.[24] Some members of Shanti Bahini became police officers after the peace treaty. In August 2014 Indian Border Security Forces arrested members of Shanti Bahini, two Bangladeshi Chakmas and three Indian national Chakmas with weapons in Mizoram.[25]

Alleged foreign helpEdit

The spokesman for the Shanti Bahini, Bimal Chakma alleged Indian involvement by stating that after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the removal of Bangladesh Awami League from power in 1975,[26] India provided support and shelter to the members of Shanti Bahini.[27][28][29] Members of Shanti Bahini were trained in Chakrata, India.[30][31]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Fortna, Virginia Page (2008). Does Peacekeeping Work?. Princeton University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-4008-3773-1. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Where is Kalpana?". The Daily Star. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  3. ^ Ahmed, Ishtiaq (1 January 1998). State, Nation and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia. A&C Black. p. 235. ISBN 9781855675780.
  4. ^ Kader, Rozina (2012). "Larma, Manabendra Narayan". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  5. ^ "An engrossing perspective on the Chittagong Hill Tracts". The Daily Star. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  6. ^ Hazarika, Sanjoy (11 June 1989). "Bangladeshi Insurgents Say India Is Supporting Them". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "18 Days That Shook Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Nagendra K. Singh (2003). Encyclopaedia of Bangladesh. Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd. p. 229. ISBN 81-261-1390-1.
  9. ^ Bushra Hasina Chowdhury (2002). Building Lasting Peace: Issues of the Implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Pr. Archived from the original on 1 September 2006.
  10. ^ a b c Kader, Rozina (2012). "Shanti Bahini". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  11. ^ The Election Archives. Shiv Lal. 1 January 1982. p. 218.
  12. ^ "Chittagong Hill Tracts land issue". The Daily Star. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Samo Adhiker demands punishment of culprits". The Daily Star. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  14. ^ Uddin, G. M. Masbah (1 January 1992). The Chittagong Hill Tracts: falconry in the hills. s.n. p. 82.
  15. ^ Tahir, Naveed Ahmad (1 January 1997). The Politics of Ethnicity and Nationalism in Europe and South Asia. Area Study Centre for Europe, University of Karachi. p. 145.
  16. ^ "Militant attacks in Bangladesh claim 393 lives in last 11 years". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Army pullout from CHT opposed by settlers". The Daily Star. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  18. ^ Haque, Azizul (February 1981). "Bangladesh in 1980: Strains and Stresses -- Opposition in the Doldrums". Asian Survey. 21 (2): 190. JSTOR 2643764.
  19. ^ "CHT accord and ten wasted years". The Daily Star. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Peace Accord must not remain on paper only". The Daily Star. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  21. ^ "One rescued as BD commandoes search for kidnapped workers". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Brother against brother". The Daily Star. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  23. ^ Chima, Jugdep S. (24 March 2015). Ethnic Subnationalist Insurgencies in South Asia: Identities, Interests and Challenges to State Authority. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-55705-0.
  24. ^ "A saga of un-kept promises". The Daily Star. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Two Bangladeshi Chakmas among five arrested with huge arms in India". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  26. ^ Prakash, Ved (1 January 2008). Terrorism in India's North-east: A Gathering Storm. Gyan Publishing House. p. 553. ISBN 9788178356617.
  27. ^ Times, Sanjoy Hazarika, Special To The New York (11 June 1989). "Bangladeshi Insurgents Say India Is Supporting Them". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  28. ^ "Bangladesh is in 'Great Game'". The Daily Star. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  29. ^ "The India-Bangladesh Relationships - Lookback and Reality Check". TIMES OF ASSAM. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  30. ^ Gunaratna, Rohan; Iqbal, Khuram (1 January 2012). Pakistan: Terrorism Ground Zero. Reaktion Books. p. 219. ISBN 9781780230092.
  31. ^ Hazarika, Sanjoy (14 October 2000). Strangers Of The Mist: Tales of War and Peace from India's Northeast. Penguin UK. ISBN 8184753349.