Courtesy: The Daily Star, Dhaka, National, Friday, October 1, 2010
Give constitutional recognition to indigenous people
Rakhines demand at rally
A Correspondent, Barisal
The speakers at a rally of Rakhine community have demanded constitutional recognition and rights of the indigenous people with separate socio-cultural-ethnic identity for their survival in different regions of Bangladesh.
They also demanded proper access to natural resources and government organisations, land rights, food security and medical facilities for the indigenous people.
The made the demands at a rally organised by the Rakhine community of Barisal region at Taltalii upazila town under Barguna district on Wednesday noon.
Rakhine people also formed a human chain in the area.
The indigenous communities played glorious role in the struggle for liberation and emergence of Bangladesh but in absence of constitutional recognition, indigenous communities are facing problem to preserve their traditional customs, culture and language, speakers said at the rally.
The indigenous people in different areas of the country are being victims of discrimination as they have to struggle amid dire poverty, bad communication, harassment and deprivation by greedy land grabbers and administration and lack of education, healthcare, housing and sanitation facilities, they said.
The indigenous people have little representation either in government, semi-government and local government organisations, they added.
They also criticised the conventional trend of showcasing indigenous culture in national programmes without giving constitutional recognition and rights to the indigenous people.
They emphasised immediate formation of a land commission to stop grabbing of ancestral lands of indigenous people and their harassment through filing of false cases by unscrupulous people.
Mong Tahan, Chumen Matubbar, Ang Shist, Myenthen Promila among the leaders of indigenous Rakhine community in Barguna and Patuakhali and human right activists addressed the rally.