Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Bangladesh tackling KNF’s separatism and terrorism in CHT for promoting peace

In early 2022, the general people of Bangladesh suddenly began to notice a political articulation of an armed political organization named Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF). Members of the organization maintain a Facebook page titled: Kuki-Chin National Front-KNF, through which they are seen making the photographs and military training videos of their regulars, and political statements public, specifically, propagating concocted tales about a separate state. As mass people of Bangladesh are active social users, they started to show interest in this unknown organization and almost believe their cooked and untrue information. But now, the cheap and deceitful activities of KNF have left nothing secret under the sky.

The Emergence of KNF

The Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), the political organization of the small ethnic groups of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), demands a separate State in the CHT of Bangladesh with full-fledged autonomy to the present government. KNF was established in 2008 with some educated circles of the backward and disadvantaged Kuki-Chin communities. Generally speaking, the compound word refers to the Bawm ethnic group only. But the KNF leaders profess that the Bawm, Pungkhua, Lushai, Khumi, Mro, and Khyang ethnic groups belong to the ‘Kuki-Chin’ race. Intending to organize a Kuki-Chin ethnic race, the organization has been continuing to prepare and spread cocktail information.

For more than a decade, KNF leaders have been accused of discriminatory and stepmotherly behavior by both larger communities and the government in their inhabited regional lands. The leaders of this organization have also expressed their anger over the government. Their demands were getting tougher and tougher as the government had not taken any action. The organization has recently claimed that the entire region from Sajek Valley in the northeastern part of Chittagong Hill Tracts to the southeast and the entire region in the eastern part of Chittagong Hill Tracts is their ancestral territory (namely Baghaichari, Juraichari, Borkol, Bilaichari, Rwangchari, Ruma, Thanchi, Lama and Alikadam).

The KNF had tried to create an image to show themselves fighting for the oppressed, excluded, and right-loving people, in a bid to earn support from the masses and humanitarian quarters. But with the passage of days, their self-contradictory character is getting clear and exposed to the people all by itself. Recently, the KNF has warned the present government that if their demands are not accepted, the armed movement will be forced to take a difficult shape. KNF leaders also have been attempting to bring in a change in the history of CHT by introducing untrue historical information.

Major Security Concern for Bangladesh

Although this organization, in the initial period, was established to promote economic development, preservation of cultural features, and protect land grabbing, KNF became an armed branch in 2016 due to special needs. Later in the same year, KNF sent several hundred members of the organization to Manipur for military training. In 2019, after completion of the infantry commando training, hundreds of armed men returned to the CHT. At present, the number of members (armed and unarmed active members) of this organization is about 3 to 4 thousand (2% population of CHT). The group has called on the international community to intervene in their problems internationally as the aim of this organization is to establish a separate and autonomous region.

Again, the KNF exhibits no sign of concern at the growing figure of internally displaced and the families fleeing to neighboring countries under suppressive measures of the regime. Rather the organization is seen as engaged in maligning and spreading ill propagation against the individuals who speak of land rights and other rights of the indigenous people. To the KNF, it is none but the Chakma, Marma, and Tripura people who are their enemies. The prime attacking target of the organization is the PCJSS and its leaders. The KNF leaders are seen becoming too glad and readily agree with the statements made in favor of the settlers and army. Consequently, for the KNF, taking a pose to show themselves as the deprived and right activists gets exposed as nothing but a plea and deceit.

Link with Other Militant Groups

Security forces have found a strong link between KNF Jamatul Ansar fil Hindal Sharqiya, a Muslim extremist group that was formed in 2019. In 2021, the Amir of this outfit had an agreement with the  KNF regarding militant training in the area till the next year. Before that, a joint operation by Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies was being conducted against suspected militants in the Bandarban district based on information about the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) training JAFHS in hideouts deep in the hilly areas bordering Ruma and Rowangchari in the district.

In October, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested 10 suspected militants and separatists along with a large cache of firearms and ammunition after conducting an operation in the remote areas of Bandarban and Rangamati. Later the arrestees disclosed that the militant group had an agreement with the separatist group Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) to provide them with shelter and training in exchange for money. The militant group has provided Tk 17 lakh to KNF to buy arms to train their members. They get funds to serve their purposes from different sources. More than 50 militants were being trained at the camps in the CHT areas.

Following the joint operations by ARMY, RAB, and Police, KNF had no option but to leave the area. They also compelled some ethnic people to push over to Mizoram. Bangladesh may request India’s aid in returning them safely. Bangladesh may also ask India to monitor that no Kuki-Chin terrorist can flee to India in disguise as a refugee. As well as ask India to monitor the fled refugees so that they don’t get involved with any terrorist or extremist groups. 

As the KNF is engaged in vile activities designed to create confusion by spreading untrue information and data, the media should telecast true events that are happening in CHT. Bangladesh is trying hard to bring stability to CHT. Through these operations, peace may come to the CHT permanently as after every storm, there is a rainbow.

Must Read