(A Documentary film on the plight of the indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts)
length : 60 minutes
format : Betacam
photography : Anwar Hossain
editing : Mahadeb Shi
sound : M. Abdus Satter
music: Syed Shabab Ali Arzoo
year of production : 2005
script & direction : Tanvir Mokammel
Synopsis of the film
Comprised of three districts of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachari, Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is situated in the south-east of Bangladesh bordering Myanmar and India with an area 5,093 square miles. Twelve ethnic groups i.e. Chakma, Marma, Chak, Tanchangya, Tripura, Bom, Pankhu, Mrung, Lushai, Kheyang, Mru and Khumi live here who together like to be known as the "Jumma" people. The Chakmas, Marmas, Tanchangyas and Chaks, the vast majority of the Hill people, are Buddhist in religion.
The first crisis in the peaceful life of the Chittagong Hill Tracts took place in 1959-1962, when as part of the Kaptai hydro-electric project, a dam was constructed on the Karnaphuli river and the artificial Kaptai lake was created. 54,000 acres of arable land submerged and about one hundred thousand people were evicted.
Another severe crisis took place in the lives of the hill people when, since 1979, the Bangladesh government, by its own initiative, began to bring plain land Bengalees from outside and settled them in an artificial manner in the CHT. After two decades of armed conflict a peace accord was signed in 1997 between the Bangladesh government and the Shantibahani the armed wing of the PCJSS, the political organization of the Hill people. But many clauses of the peace accord have not yet been implemented.
Though having resources and having immense possibilities, not much development has taken place in CHT. The region has still remained as the most backward area of the impoverished Bangladesh. The Chittagong Hill Tracts remains as a sad example what happens to a people and a region if kept outside the main "national" sphere.