The CHT remained immune from the turmoils of the anti-British
nationalist movement of the Indian subcontinent. This movement
which began as an anti-colonial movement soon acquired religious
dimensions. The majority of the Indian Muslims appeared to had
polarised behind the Muslim League, which was seen as the champion of the
Muslim cause, while the Indian National Congress was
seen by the Muslims as representing secular Hindu interests.
The people of the CHT could not associate themselves with the
politics of Muslim League, since the Jumma people were non Muslims.
The Jumma leadership approached the Congress leaders and pleaded
for the merger of the CHT with the Indian Union. The Congress leadership
promised there was no question of the CHT being incorporated into
The Bengal Boundary Commission in the meantime invited representations
and memoranda from the competing parties. The Muslim League submitted
its memorandum on 17 July 1947. It made a strong case for the
incorporation of the CHT into Pakistan. The League claimed that East
Bengal had no natural resource and the CHT was the only source of
raw material and hydroelectric power for it's industries in
British granted independence to Pakistan on 14 August 1947 and to India on
15 August 1947. The Bengal Boundary Commission headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe
had not yet made the India - Pakistan border public. The
Jumma people under the leadership of Sneha Kumar Chakma hoisted
tricolor Indian flag at Rangamati, capital of the CHT, on 15 August 1947
on the day Indian independence. On 17 August 1947 the Radcliff Commission
declare the CHT as part of Pakistan against the wish of the Jumma people
and against the very principle of partition that Muslim majority regions
for Pakistan and non Muslim majority regions for India. The Jumma people
vehemently opposed the annexation of the CHT into the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan. The Indian flag was lowered by the Pakistani
Army on 21 August at gun point in the mid of violent protest from the
The Boundary Commission's award of the CHT to Pakistan was the greatest
injustice done to the Jumma people. The Indian leaders were infuriated
on the incorporation of the CHT to Pakistan. Jawaharlal Nehru is on the
record saying "Pakistan had committed patricide and yet claimed it deserves
extra largesses for being an orphan".
Pakistan was constructed on the basic idea of the religious unity of all
Muslim people in earstwhile British India, but Islam was non existent
among the Jumma people of the CHT. More importantly, the incorporation of the CHT in
Pakistan was bound to result in tragedy.
For the first time in history
the Jumma people came under the direct domination of the Bangladeshis.
The CHT was sadly unique in being the only non Islamic, non Bengali
and low population density district in overwhelmingly Bengali Muslim environment,
in which old population expansion trends had accelerated dangerously and
were now somewhat confined in several directions by new international
boundaries. For the first time the Jumma people had to deal with the
Bangladeshis directly and in a situation of vastly inferior power.
Now it was only a matter of time for Bangladeshi interests to start shaping
events in the CHT.
- The Charge of Genocide: Organizing Committee CHT Campaign, The Netherlands, 1986
- The Politics of Nationalism: by Amena Mohsin