Ethnic communities of Gaibandha observed ‘youth unity fair and cultural session’ at Shilpakala Academy in the district town yesterday demanding protection of their rights and culture.
Adivasi Jubo Milon Mela Udjapon Committee and Gaibandha Abolambon, a voluntary organization, jointly organised the programme.
They brought out a procession with banners, festoons and placards, which paraded main roads of the town.
Later a discussion meeting was held at the hall room of Shilpakala Academy.
Sanjib Kumar Vati, Indian assistant high commissioner to Bangladesh, attended the programme as chief guest, while Alamgir Kabir, additional deputy commissioner (General) of Gaibandha, Abdul Awal, additional superintendent of police, and Salam Azad, president of Soheli-Mirza Cancer Foundation, were special guests.
There is a deep relation between the Indian and Bangladeshi ethnic communities, said the chief guest.
Expressing solidarity with lawful demands of the ethnic community, he emphasized on peaceful solution of the problems of ethnic community without any confrontation with the government.
The ethnic people submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner for forwarding it to the prime minister.
The memorandum included demand for recognition of ethnic communities in the constitution, formation of a separate ministry and land commission for ethnic peoples, establishment of ethnic cultural academy in the upazila level, separate hostels for ethnic students in academic institutions, stipend for ethnic students, mother tongue-based schooling for ethnic children, vocational training for youths and stopping all kinds of repression on ethnic people.
Later ethnic women rendered traditional songs and performed dances.
The session was conducted by Rumila Hembrom.