Hill Tracts Treaty, 1997
Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) peace accord was signed on December
2, 1997 in Dhaka at the Prime Minister's office between the government
the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS). However,
some hill tribe sects and organisations have rejected the accord.
Under the framework
of the constitution of Bangladesh and having fullest and firm confidence
in the sovereignty and integrity of Bangladesh the national Committee
on CHT Affairs, on behalf of the government of the People's Republic
of Bangladesh and the Parbattya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti, on behalf
of the inhabitants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, with an objective
to elevate political, social, cultural, educational and financial rights
and to expedite socio-economic development process of all citizens in
CHT, arrive at an agreement described in four parts as below:
- Both sides, considering CHT as Tribal
Populated Region, recognised the necessity for protection of the character
of this region and for overall development of it.
- Both sides, in accordance with the decisions
and responsibilities state in these paragraphs under this agreement,
determined to make, change, amend and add concerned rules and procedures
as per laws/rules.
- With an aim to observe the implementation
process of this agreement an Implementation Committee shall be formed
with the persons stated below
- A member to be nominated by the
Prime Minister - Convenor
- Chairman of the Task Force formed
under this agreement - Member
- President of the Parbattya Chattagram
Jana Samhati Samiti - Member
- This agreement shall be in force from
the date of signing the agreement. This agreement shall remain in
force until all steps and measures according to this agreement are
completed by both sides.
B) HILL DISTRICT
LOCAL GOVT. COUNCIL/HILL DISTRICT COUNCILS
Both sides agreed to
change, amend, add and repeal the Hill District Local Government Council
Acts, 1989. (Rangamati Hill District Local Government Counci1 Act, 1989,
Bandarban Hill District, Local Government Council Act, 1989 and Khagrachari
Hill District Local Government Council Act, 1989) and its various sections
described as below :
- The term 'Upajati' shall be in
- The name of the Hill District Local
Government Council shall be Hill District Council.
- Who is not a tribal and possesses land
legally in the Hill District and generally lives at a certain address
in the Hill District he shall be meant 'non-tribal permanent resident'.
- There shall be 3 (three) seats for
women in every Hill District Council. There shall be one-third
of the said seat for non-tribal women.
- Sub-section (1), (2), (3) and (4)
of section 4 of the original rule shall exist.
- The words "Deputy Commissioner"
and "of the Deputy Commissioner" placed in the second line of
sub-section (5) of the section 4 shall be replaced with the words
"Circle Chief" and "of the Circle Chief" respectively.
- Following sub-section shall be added
in the section 4 :
Whether a person is a non-tribal shall be determined, along with
the identity of non-tribal to which he belongs, by the concerned
Circle Chief on the provision of submission of certificate from
concerned Headman/Pourasabha Chairman/Union Parishad Chairman
and no person can be a candidate for the office of the non-tribal
member without a certificate from the concerned Circle Chief in
- It is narrated in the section 7 that
a person elected chairman and member shall make an oath or announce
confirmation before Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong. By amendment
of it there shall be added the portion that the members shall make
oath or announce confirmation before "Justice of High Court Division"
in lieu of "Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong".
- In lieu of the words "Divisional Commissioner
of Chittagong" shall be placed the words "as per election procedure"
in the fourth line of section 8.
- The words "three years" placed in the
second line of section 10 shall be replaced with the words "five years".
- There shall be a provision in the section
14 that - If the office of the Chairman falls vacant and in absence
of the Chairman a tribal member elected by other members of the Council
shall preside and perform other responsibilities.
- The existing section 17 shall be replaced
with the sentences mentioned as below:
A person shall, under the Act, be elligible
to be enrolled in the electoral roll, if
(1) he is a citizen of Bangladesh;
(2) his age is not less than 18 years;
(3) he is not declared mentally unsound by any competent court;
(4) he is a permanent resident of Hill District.
- The words "determination of electoral
constituency" shall be added in the sub-section (2) of section 20.
- There shall be a provision in the sub-section
(2) of section 25: The chairman and in absence of him a tribal member
elected by other members shall preside over all the meeting of the
- As all the area of Khagrachari District
is not included in the Mong Circle, so the words "Mong Circle Chief
and Chakma Circle Chief" shall be placed in lieu of the words "Mong
Chief of Khagrachari" in the section 26 of the Khagrachari Hill District
Council Act. Similarly facility of attending the meetings of the Rangamati
Hill District Council by Bohmong Circle Chief also shall be maintained.
In the sameway there shall be a provision of attending the meetings
of the Bandarban Hill District Council by Bohmong Circle Chief.
- There shall be provision in the sub-sections
(1) and (2) of section 31 that-
There shall be a Chief Executive Officer as secretary in the Council.
Tribal Officers shall be given priority in this post.
- There shall be a provision in the
sub-section (1) of section 32 that-
For the proper conduct of its affairs the Council may with the
approval of the government, create posts of various categories
of officers and employees.
- The sub-section (2) of section 32
shall, by amendment, be made as follows:
The Council may, in accordance with regulations, appoint, transfer,
suspend, dismiss, remove class three and class four employees
and inflict any other punishment on them.
Provided that, priority to the tribals
is maintained in the matter of the said appointment.
- There shall be provision in the
sub-section (3) of section 32 that-- The government in consultation
with the Council may, as per regulation, appoint, transfer, suspend,
dismiss, remove or inflict any other punishment on other officers
of the Council.
- In the sub-section (3) of section 33
shall be mentioned "as per regulation".
- The words "or any other way determined
by the government" placed in the third line of sub-section (1) of
section 36 shall be omitted.
- The original rule shall be in force
in the fourth of sub-section (1) of section 37.
- Sub-section (3) of section 38 shall
be repealed and by amendment, the sub-section (4) shall be framed
At any time before the expiry of the financial
year, if deemed necessary, budget may be framed and sanctioned.
- In the section 42 the following sub-section
shall be added--
The Council with the fund received from
the government shall formulate initiate and implement development
projects on the subjects transferred and all the development works
initiated at the national level shall be implemented by the concerned
ministry/department through the Council.
- The word "government" placed in the
second line of sub-section (2) of section 45 shall be replaced with
the word "Council".
- By amendment of rules of sections 50,
51 and 52 the following section shall be made--
"The government, if deemed necessary may
advice or order the Council, in order to ensure conformity with the
purpose of the Act. If the govt. is satisfied that anything done or
intended to be done by the Council or on behalf of the Council is not
conformity with law or contrary to public interest the government may
seek information and clarification and give advice or instruction to
the Council on concerned matters in writing".
- The words "if the period of supersession
is completed" shall be repealed and in lieu of them shall be added
"within ninety days of supersession" before the words "this Act".
- The words "of the government" in the
third and fourth lines of section 61 shall be replaced with the words
"of the ministry".
- By amendment of sub-section (1)
of section 62- this section shall be made as follows:
"Notwithstanding anything contained
in any Act for the time-being in force, all members of the rank
of Sub-Inspector and below of Hill District Police shall be appointed
by the Council in manner laid down by regulations and the Council
may transŁer and take disciplinary action against them as per
procedure laid down by regulation: provided that in the matter
of such appointment tribals shall be given priority".
- By repealment of the words "on the
provision of all other laws for the time-being in force" placed
in the second line of sub-section (3) of section 62 shall be placed
the words "as per rule and regulation".
- The words "giving assistance" placed
in the third line of the section 63 shall be in force.
- By amendment of the section 64 the following
sub-sections shall be made--
- Notwithstanding anything contained
in any law for the time-being in force, no land within the boundaries
of Hill District shall be given in settlement, purchased, sold
and transferred including giving lease without prior approval
of the Council:
provided that this provision shall
not be applicable in case of areas within the reserved forests,
Kaptai Hydro-electricity Project, Betbunia Earth Satellite Station,
State-owned industries and factories and lands recorded in the
name of government.
- Notwithstanding anything contained
in any law for the time-being in force, no lands, hills and forests
within the boundaries of the Hill District shall be acquired and
transferred by the government without consultation and consent
of the Hill District Council.
- The Council may supervise and control
functions of Headman, Chairman Amin, Surveyor, Kanungo and Assistant
- Fringe land in Kaptai Lake shall
be given in settlement on priority basis to original owners.
- By amendment of section 65 this section
shall be framed as follows:
Notwithstanding anything contained in
any other law for the time-being in force, responsibility of collecting
land development tax shall be entrusted in the Council and the said
tax collected in the District shall be credited to the Council Fund.
- By amendment of section 67 it shall
be made as follows- "If deemed necessary for co-ordination of activities
between the Council and govt. authorities, government or the Council
shall put proposal on certain matter(s)".
- By amendment of sub-section (1) it shall
be made as follows- "The government having discussion with the Council
may, by notification in the official gazette, make rules for carrying
out the purposes of this Act and even after having rules made the
Council shall have special right to file petition for reconsideration
of the said rules".
- By omission of the words "with the
prior approval of the government" placed in the first and second
line of the sub-section (1) of section 69 and to add the following
portion after the words "may"-
"provided that if the government differs
with any part of the regulation made by the Hill District Council
then the government shall give advice or instruction for amendment
of the said regulation"
- The words mentioned in the (h) of
sub-section (2) of section 69 "transfer of power of Chairman to
any officer" shall be omitted.
- Section 70 shall be omitted.
- By amendment of section 79 it shall
be made as follows- "If any law by the Jatiyo Sangsad or any other
authority, applicable to Hill District, is found to be hurtful to
the District or objectionable to the tribal people in the opinion
of the Council, it may file a petition in writing to the government
stating the reasons of its being hurtful orobjectionable for the purpose
of amending or relaxing its application and the govt. shall, in the
light of the petition, adopt necessary measures".
- The word "supervision" shall be
added after the word "order" in the No.1 of the function of the
Council of the first schedule.
- The following subjects shall be
added in the No. 3 of the function of the Council-
(1) Vocational training;
(2) Primary education in mother tongue;
(3) Secondary education.
- The words "or protected" placed
in sub-section 6(b) of the function of the Council in the first
schedule shall be omitted.
- The following subjects shall be added
in the functions and responsibilities of the Hill District Council:
- Land and land management
- Police (local)
- Tribal law and social justice
- Youth welfare
- Environment preservation and development
- Local tourism
- Improvement trust and other local
govt organisations except Pourasabha and Union Councils
- Licencing for local trade and business
- Proper utilisation of water resources
of rivulets, canals, ponds except Kaptai lake and irrigation
- Preservation of death, birth and
- Money lending and trade
- Jhum cultivation.
- The following sectors and sources shall
be included in the taxes, rates, tolls and fees to be imposed by the
Council as stated in the second schedule:
- Registration fee from non-mechanical
- Tax on sale and purchase of goods
- Holding tax from land and buildings
- Tax from sale of domestic animals
- Fees from cases of social justice
- Holding tax on government and non-government
- Part of royalty from forest resources
- Suplementary tax from cinema, theatre
and circus etc.
- Part of royalty from licence or
lease for exploration and extraction of mineral resources given
by the government
- Tax from business
- Tax from lottery
- Tax from fishing.
C) CHITTAGONG HILL
TRACTS REGIONAL COUNCIL
- A Regional Council shall be formed in
co-ordination with the 3 Hill District Local Government Council provided
that various sections of the Hill District Local Government Council
Act, 1989 (Act No. 19, 20 and 21 of 1989) shall be amended with an
aim to make the 3 Hill District Local Government Councils more powerful
- Chairman bf this Council shall be elected
indirectly by the elected members of the Hill District Councils where
status shall be equivalent to a State Minister and he must be a Jumma.
- The Council shall be formed with 22
(twenty two) members including the Chairman. Two-third of the members
shall be elected from among the tribals. The Council shall determine
its procedure of functioning.
Composition of the Council shall be as
Chairman -- 1
Members tribal (men) -- 12
Members tribal (women) -- 2
Members non-tribal (men) -- 6
Members non tribal (women) -- 1
Among the tribal men members 5 persons
shall be elected from among the Chakma tribe, 3 persons from the
Marma tribe, 2 persons from the Tripura tribe, 1 person from the
Murung and Tanchongya tribes and 1 person from the Lusai, Bawm,
Pankho, Khumi, Chak and Khiyang tribes.
Among the non-tribal men members 2 persons
shall be elected from each district. Among the tribal women members
1 woman shall be elected from the Chakma tribe and 1 woman from other
- 3 (three) seats shall be reserved for
women in the Council. One-third shall be non-tribals.
- The members of the Council shall be
elected indirectly by the elected members of the Hill District Councils.
Chairman of three Hill District Councils shall be ex-officio members
of the Council and they shall have voting rights.
Eligibility and non-eligibility of the
members of the Council shall be similar to that of the Hill District
- The term of the Council shall be 5 (five)
- There shall be a chief executive officer
in the Council equivalent to a Joint Secretary and priority to a tribal
candidate shall be given in appointment to this post.
- If the office of the Chairman of
the Council falls vacant then a Chairman shall be elected from
among the tribal members for an interim period by the members
of Hill District Councils.
- If any office of a member of the
Council falls vacant on any reason then that shall be filled through
- The Council shall supervise and
co-ordinate the subjects vested under the Hill District Councils
including co-ordination of all development activities conducted
under the three Hill District Councils. Besides these, if there
is found any lack of co-ordination and inconsistency among the
three Hill District Councils in discharging their responsibilities
the decision of the Regional Council shall be taken as final.
- The Council shall supervise and
co-ordinate local councils including the municipalities.
- Regional Council may co-ordinate
and supervise in the matters of general administration, law and
order and development of the three Hill Districts.
- The Council may co-ordinate the
activities of the NGOs along with conducting of management of
calamities and relief works.
- Tribal laws and social justice shall
be under the control of the Council.
- The Council may issue licence for
- The CHT Development Board shall discharge
its responsibilities under general and overall supervision of the
Council. In case of appointment of Chairman of the Development Board
competent tribal candidate shall be given priority.
- If the Regional Council finds any rule
of the 1900 CHT Regulation and other related laws, rules and ordinances
contradictory to the 1989 Hill District Council Acts then the govt
shall remove that inconsistency by law according to recommendation
of and in consultation with the Regional Council.
- Until and unless Regional Council is
constituted through direct and indirect election, the government may
by constituting an interim Regional Council, entrust the responsibilities
of the Council.
- If the govt makes any law on CHT it
shall be in having discussion and in consultation with the Regional
Council. If there arises the necessity to amend any such law or to
make any new law which may be harmful for development of the 3 Hill
District or the welfare of the tribals, the Council may file a petition
or put recommendation to the govt.
- The fund of the Council shall be created
from the following sources:
- fund received from the Hill District
- money or profits from all properties
vested in and managed by the Regional Council
- grant and loan from the govt or
any other authority
- grant from any institution or individual
- profit accruing from investment
by the Regional Council
- any other moneys received by the
- money received from such sources
of incomes as the govt may direct to be placed at the disposal
of the Regional Council.
GENERAL AMNESTY AND OTHER MATTERS
This agreement is framed
as above in Bengali language and is done and signed in Dhaka on the date
of 02 December, 1997 as per 18 Agrahayan 1404 Bengali year.
- An agreement has been signed between
the govt and the refugee leaders on March 9, 1997 with an aim to take
back the tribal refugees from India's Tripura State based on the 20-Point
Facilities Package. In accordance with the said agreement repatriation
of the refugees started since March 28, 1997. This process shall continue
and with this in view, the JSS shall provide all kinds of possible
co-operation. The internal tribal evacuees of 3 districts shall, after
determination, be rehabilitated by the Task Force.
- After signing agreement between the
govt and the JSS and implementation of it as well as after rehabilitation
of the tribal refugees and internal tribal evacuees the govt shall
start survey of land in CHT as soon as possible and after proper inquires
ownership of land shall be recorded and ensured.
- The govt shall ensure providing two
acres of lands to each landless family and the family who possesses
less than 2 acres of lands, provided lands were available in the local
areas. If requisite lands are not available then grove land shall
- A commission (land commission) headed
by a retired justice shall be formed for settling land disputes. This
commission, in addition to settle disputes of lands of the rehabilitated
tribal refugees, shall have fullest power for cancellation of ownership
of those lands and hills which have been so far illegally settled
and occupied. No appeal can be made against the judgement of this
commission and decision of this commission shall be final. This (arrangement)
shall be applicable in case of fringe land also.
- This commission shall be set up with
the following members:
- Retired justice
- Circle Chief (concerned)
- Chairman of the Regional Council/representative
- Divisional Commissioner/Additional
- Hill District Council Chairman (concerned).
- The term of the commission shall
be three years. But the term of it can be extended in consultation
with the Regional Council.
- Commission shall settle disputes
according to the existing rules, customs and usages of Chittagong
- The tribal refugees who received loan
from the govt but could not use them properly due to conflicting situation
shall be exempted with the interests.
- Allotment of lands for rubber plantation
and other purposes: All the non tribals and non locals who were given
in settlement of lands for rubber plantation and other purposes but
had not implemented any projects within the past 10 years or had not
utilised their lands properly, settlement of these lands shall be
- The govt shall allot additional fund,
on priority basis, with an aim to implement more number of projects
in CHT. New projects formulated with an aim of making necessary superstructures
for development in the area, shall be implemented on priority basis
and the govt shall provide fund for these purposes. The govt shall,
having consideration about the environment in the region, encourage
to develop tourism for tourists from the country and abroad.
- Quota reservation and scholarships:-
Until development equal to other region of the country tho govt shall
continue reservation of quota system in govt services and educational
institutions for the tribals. With an aim to this purpose, the govt
shall grant more scholarships for the tribal students in the educational
institution. The govt shall provide necessary scholarships for research
works and receiving higher education in abroad.
- The govt and elected representative
shall make efforts to maintain separate culture and tradition of the
tribals. The govt in order to develop the tribal cultural activities
at the national level it shall provide necessary patronisation and
- The Jana Samhati Samiti shall submit
to the govt the lists of its all members including the armed ones
and the arms and ammunition under its possession and control within
45 days of signing this agreement.
- The government and the Jana Samhati
Samiti jointly shall determine the date and place for depositing arms
within the 45 days of signing this agreement. After determination
of date and place for depositing arms by the members included in the
list of the Jana Samhati Samiti the govt shall ensure security for
return of JSS members and their family members to normal life.
- The govt shall declare amnesty for the
members who shall deposit their arms and ammunition on the scheduled
date. The govt shall withdraw the cases against whom cases have been
- If anyone fails to deposit arms on the
scheduled date the govt shall take lawful measures against him.
- After the return of all JSS members
to normal life general amnesty shall be given to them and the permanent
residents who were involved in the activities of the JSS.
- In order to providing rehabilitation
to all returnee JSS members a lump sum of Taka 50,000/- shall
be given to each family.
- All the JSS members including the
armed ones against whom cases have been lodged, warrant of arrest
and police circular for apprehension issued and punishment has
been sentenced/inflicted in the absence, after surrendering of
arms and return to normal life all the cases, warrants of arrest,
police circulars and punishment sentenced in the absence against
them shall be exempted as soon as possible. If JSS members are
detained in the jails they also shall be released.
- Similarly after surrendering of
arms and return to normal life no cases can be lodged, warrant
issued and punishment inflicted against anyone only for the reason
that he was a JSS member.
- All the members of the JSS who took
loans from various banks and organisations of the govt but could
not utilise them properly those loans including the interests
shall be exempted.
- The JSS members who were posted
in the services of the govt or govt institutions they shall be
reinstated in their own posts and services and the JSS members
and their family members shall be given appointment in accordance
with their competence. In this case, the rule of the govt for
relaxation of age shall be followed.
- The JSS members shall be provided
bank loans on easier terms and conditions to give assistance for
cottage industry, horticulture etc. self-employment activities.
- The children of JSS members shall
be provided educational facilities and their certificates received
from foreign educational Boards and institutions shall be taken
- After signing the agreement between
the government and the Jana Samhati Samiti and immediately after the
return of the JSS members to normal life all the temporary camps of
military, Ansar and Village Defence Party shall be taken back to permanent
installations except the Border Security Force (BDR) and permanent
cantonments (3 at the 3 District Hqs. and Alikadam, Ruma and Dighinala)
by phases and with this in view, time limit shall be determined. In
case of deterioration of law and order situation, natural calamity
and such other works the army can be deployed under the civil administration
like all other parts in the country as per necessary laws and rules.
In this case, Regional Council may, according to necessity or time,
request the proper authority for the purpose of getting assistance.
- Permanent residents of CHT, on priority
basis to the tribals, shall be appointed to all posts of officers
and employees at all levels of govt, semi-govt, council offices and
autonomous bodies in CHT.
Provided that in case of non-availability
of qualified candidate among the permanent residents of CHT for a
particular post, appointment in that post may be made on deputation
from the govt for a term of certain period.
- A ministry on Chittagong Hill Tracts
Affairs shall be established by appointing a Minister from among the
tribals. An Advisory Council shall be formed to assist this ministry
with the persons stated below -
- Minister on CHT Affairs
- Chairman/representative, Regional
- Chairman/representative, Rangamati
Hill District Council
- Chairman/representative, Bandarban
Hill District Council
- Chairman/representative, Khagrachari
Hill District Council
- Member of Parliament, Rangamati
- Member of Parliament, Khagrachari
- Member of Parliament, Bandarban
- Chakma Raja
- Bohmong Rnja
- Mong Raja
- Three members from non-tribal permanent
residents of Hilly areas nominated by the government from three
On behalf of the inhabitants of
Chittagong Hill Tracts
(Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma)
Parbattya Chattagram Jana
On behalf of the government of the
Peoples Republic of Bangladesh
(Abul Hasanat Abdullah)
Hill Tracts Affairs, government of