Ethnic communities want aid for jobless during Covid-19, reiterate demand for land rights | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 11, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 11, 2020

Int’l Day Of Indigenous Peoples Observed

Ethnic communities want aid for jobless during Covid-19, reiterate demand for land rights

Indigenous communities organised programmes in different districts marking International Day of the World's Indigenous People on Sunday.

This year's slogan of the day is 'COVID-19 and indigenous people's resilience'.

Hundreds of men and women from the Santal community in Gobindaganj upazila of Gaibandha brought out a procession and arranged a human chain in observance of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples on Sunday, reports our correspondent from Bogura.

They demanded return of their forefathers' land, justice for the killing of three   Santals and looting and torching of their houses at Sahebganj in 2016.

They urged for government help for those who lost income sources during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and measures for establishment of all rights and privileges for the indigenous people.

The Santals from Joypurpara and Madarpur villages in Gobindaganj joined a nine-kilometre procession to the upazila town under the banner of Sahebganj-Bagda Farm Bhumi Uddhar Sangram Committee, Adivasi-Bangalee Sanghati Parishad, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Bangladesh Adivasi Union, Janaudyog and ALRD, Gaibandha.

They organized a human chain beside Dhaka-Rangpur highway at Gobindaganj Thana More intersection at noon.

Rabindranath Soren, president of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, addressed the programme, over mobile. Mihir Ghosh, president of the Gaibandha district CPB, also attended, among others.

Speakers at the programme alleged that the then parliament member from Gobindaganj Abul Kalam Azad and some policemen were responsible for the torching and looting of Santal houses and killing of three Santal men at a village in Sahebganj on November 6, 2016 but Gaibandha PBI dropped their names in the charge sheets.

They urged the Criminal Investigation Department, which is doing their investigation now, to conduct a neutral probe and frame charge against the main culprits.

Our Tangail Correspondent reports: The organisations of indigenous communities at a press conference in Tangail Press Club on Sunday presented their 11-point demands, including constitutional recognition and land rights.

Joyenshahi Adivasi Unnoyon Parishad, UCGM, TWA, ACVF, Thongani Co-operative Credit Union, Abima Adivasi Co-operative Credit Union, BAGSAS, GASU, GSF and Achik Michik Society jointly organized the press conference.

Ajoy-A-Mre, former president of Joyenshahi Adivasi Unnoyon Parishad, presided over the programme while Sulekha Mrong, general secretary of Achik Michik Society, read out a written speech.

The written speech stated that thousands of indigenous people of greater Mymensingh region lost their job from different sectors including beauty parlours, garment factories, and different companies and organisations due to the impact of Covid-19 situation.

The indigenous leaders demanded providing help for the affected families.

The 11-point demand include their recognition as 'Indigenous People' in the constitution, establishing a separate ministry for the indigenous peoples of the plainland areas and giving an indigenous person the responsibility as a full minister, forming a separate land commission for protecting land rights of the plainland indigenous peoples, preserving five percent quotas for the indigenous people in all levels of education and government jobs, and quick disposal of the false cases filed against them.

Joyensahi Adivasi Unnoyon Parishad President Eugin Nokrek, Josthina Nokrek, vice-chairman of Madhupur Upazila Parishsad, and Goutam Chandra Chanda, senior research officer of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, attended the press conference, among others.

Our Dinajpur Correspondent reports: Once again, the people of the indigenous community have demanded constitutional rights and urged the government to formulate an independent land commission to protect their land rights and separate ministry to deal with the indigenous peoples living in plain lands.

The demands were made at a programme on Sunday, marking the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, being observed on August 9 every year across the globe.

Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) organized a public meeting and formed a human chain at Kolom Soren-Alma Soren Ground at Barokona village in Parbatipur upazila of Dinajpur on Sunday, marking the day.

The speakers urged the government to provide help for those who became jobless during the coronavirus pandemic.

They urged the police in Dinajpur's Hakimpur upazila to find the criminals who slaughtered a man of the indigenous community on August 2.

Rabindranath Soren, president of JAP, and Basanti Murmu, president of Adivasi Nari Parishad, spoke, among others.

Our Chapainawabganj Correspondent adds: People belonging to small ethnic communities formed human chain and held a rally in Nachole bus stand area of Nachole upazila town on the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples on Sunday.

Miscreants often attack indigenous people, harass their women, and threaten them in different areas, but adequate action are not taken against the culprits, speakers said at the programme organised by Jatiyo Adivasi Parishad's Nachole and Gomostapur upazila units.

They alleged that land grabbers have been grabbing the cultivable lands, residences, ponds, graveyards, cremation ground and temple's lands.

They urged the government to form a separate ministry and an independent land commission for the plainland indigenous peoples and ensure their security and other social rights.

Bichitra Tirki, president of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad's district unit, and its general secretary Tunu Pahan, spoke at the rally, among others.

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