‘Munda’s death: a failure of the state’
As a member of the majority community, I sometimes think, whether we have the right to live our lives with our heads held high when we hear about the rights of the minority communities being violated.
It is the primary responsibility of the state to protect the human rights of the country's people, said speakers at an event yesterday.
"Irrespective of the citizen's class and colour, the country's constitution says the state will treat all equally and will protect everyone's rights. But I must say with sorrow that the state has failed to save the human rights of its people," said rights activist Sultana Kamal.
The event was organised at Jatiya Press Club by nine rights organisations, demanding punishment of those involved in the killing of Narendranath Munda and in protest of grabbing land of indigenous communities in Satkhira.
The nine organisations are Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, ALRD, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Human Rights Culture Foundation, Kapeng Foundation, Ain o Salish Kendra, Swadesh, SAMS and Nagorik Somaj.
I cannot send my children to school. I would like to draw the attention of the government so that exemplary punishment for the perpetrators is ensured.
Speaking as chief guest, Sultana Kamal said the state will have to take responsibility if it fails to protest the rights of the people.
She also said oppression, rape and killing of the country's indigenous peoples cannot continue like this.
"As a member of the majority community, I sometimes think, whether we have the right to live our lives with our heads held high when we hear about the rights of the minority communities being violated," said Sultana Kamal.
Pointing to the current government, she said, the ruling party took power by pledging to protect people's rights.
"But they are not keeping their promises. Rather, it sometimes happens that they are breaking them, going against their own words," she added.
"In every case, we hear the same story of minority communities' land and properties being encroached upon. The people of these communities are being subjected to physical torture. Murders and rapes are happening as well."
"We want justice and exemplary punishment for such incidents so that such incidents do not take place again. It is the responsibility of the state to compensate the people for the damage. This cannot go on in an independent country," added Sultana Kamal.
Pointing to the killing of Narendranath Munda, she said this type of incident is not acceptable in the time of the government that claims to be the force in favour of the spirit of the Liberation War.
"They are not using power to protect the people's rights," said Sultana Kamal.
Rina Munda, daughter-in-law of deceased Narendranath Munda, said, "Our crops have been destroyed. We cannot plant new seeds on the land as we do not have the money."
"I cannot send my children to school. I would like to draw the attention of the government so that exemplary punishment for the perpetrators is ensured," she added.