Indigenous people in Madhupur upazila under the district yesterday formed a human chain, held a rally and submitted memorandum to the prime minister demanding proper steps for ensuring legal ownership of their land and withdrawal of 'false' cases against them.
The indigenous people organised the hour-long programme from 11:00am to 12:00pm on Tangail-Mymensingh Road at Jalchhatra Bazar in association with Manusher Jonno Foundation, Enhancement of Indigenous Peoples' Land Rights and Community Based Advocacy and Networking Committee.
After the programme, they submitted a memorandum to the prime minister through Muktadir Aziz, upazila nirbahi officer of Madhupur, demanding realisation of their nine-point demands, local indigenous leaders said.
The demands include demarcation of the indigenous villages through survey by forming three teams comprising representatives from the land ministry, forest department and social organisations dealing with indigenous people, ensuring traditional land rights of the indigenous people, giving them the opportunity to maintain forests and natural resources, cancellation of the gazette notification of 1984, withdrawal of a total of 1098 false cases filed by the forest department against 184 indigenous families in the upazila and establishment of a cultural academy for preservation and development of the local indigenous people's history, culture and tradition.
Eugene Nokrek, president of Joinshahi Adivasi Unnoyon Parishad, William Dazel, president of Tribal Welfare Association, Maloty Nokrek, president of Achik Michik Society, Sulekha Mrong, its secretary, Koch community leader Gouranga Bormon, Jostina Nokrek, former vice-chairman of Madhupur upazila parishad, Shree Kumar Guha, upazila unit president of Sachetan Nagorik Committee, and Golam Kibria, upazila unit president of Manobadhikar Bastobayon Parishad, addressed the rally, among others.