Leaders of the country's Harijan community yesterday demanded that the government ensure proprietary accommodation facility for all Harijans, and make their cleaning jobs permanent.
Harijans are landless and have been working mostly as cleaners for generations at different municipalities and city corporations, but their jobs are not permanent. They live in colonies across the country without ownership over the dwellings, they said.
Therefore, the government should allocate the houses in the colonies in their names permanently, or create their residence in khas land to eradicate the age-long accommodation problem of the community, they added.
The demands were placed at a conference organised by Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad, a platform of Harijan community, in association with Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) at Mahanagar Natya Mancha in Dhaka's Gulistan.
The conference was organised on occasion of the 21st founding anniversary of the Oikya Parishad. At the programme, the platform placed a five-point demand, which will be handed over to the prime minister later.
Their other demands are: ensuring quota for Harijans in cleaners' recruitment; eradicating bribery and irregularity in the recruitment process; forming of Harijans Welfare Trust; allocating quota for Harijans' children at all government educational institutions; and approving the draft of Elimination of Discrimination Act.
At the conference, General Secretary of the organisation Nirmal Chandra Das said, “Our children who are educated and qualified do not get job, just for being Harijan. But we are the people who keep your surroundings clean.”
Speaking as the chief guest, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan said the government will consider the demands, which the Oikya Parishad made.
MJF Director Rina Roy and the Oikya Parishad President Krishna Lal, among others, spoke at the programme.