The country’s indigenous and Dalit community leaders yesterday demanded that the government form a ministry or separate cell under the Chattogram Hill Tracts affairs ministry for their wellbeing.
They also demanded formulation of a new law protecting Dalits and indigenous communities.
The demands were raised at an advocacy meeting on “Indigenous and Dalit people’s rights and inclusion in government services” arranged by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), says a press release.
TIB arranged the meeting at its premises following a recent research on “Challenges of Dalits and indigenous people’s inclusion in government services.”
At the advocacy meeting, indigenous and Dalit leaders supported a 13-point demand earlier raised by the graft watchdog for the consideration of concerned authorities.
Besides, indigenous and Dalit leaders placed a few more demands like their inclusion in Bangladesh Public Service Commission’s training policy, separate bank loan policy for them, recognition of different indigenous and Dalit communities through government gazette, and bringing torture, rape, and land-grabbing cases filed by them under the Speedy Trial Act.
Addressing the meeting, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum General Secretary Sanjeeb Drong said indigenous people’s rights have not been established in the existing system.
He said the state clearly violated the constitution over indigenous and Dalit issues.
“Colonial-era attitude has been shown towards indigenous and Dalit people,” he said, adding that reports like the one published by TIB would help strengthen their cause.
TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said, “Through the report, our aim was to create a kind of sensitivity on indigenous and Dalit issues.”
He said they tried to accumulate the kind of data which would help indigenous and Dalit community people continuing their struggle for rights.
“Data-based campaigns are now vital in light of the changed nature of movements,” he added.