Human chain formed across the country demanding constitutional recognition of IPs
On 25 September 2010 Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF) and other Indigenous Peoples Organisations (IPOs) organized Human Chain in Dhaka, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tracts and other parts of the country where indigenous peoples live in. Many IPOs and CBOs representatives, political leaders, journalists, lawyers, university teachers, human rights defenders, indigenous peoples rights activists had joined the demonstrations and raised their voices for the constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples of Bangladesh.
Indigenous people’s organizations led by Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum organized a human chain in front of Jatiyo Jadughor, Shahbag, Dhaka, demanding Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh. Many organization including Kapaeeng Foundation, CHT Hill Students’ Council (PCP), Bangladesh Adibasi Chatra Songram Porishod, Hill Women’s Federation (HWF), Tripura Students Forum (TSF), Indigenous Peoples Development Services (IPDS), Association of Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Bangladesh Adibasi Odhikar Andolon etc. joined the demonstration.
On the contrary, President of PCP Mr. Bablu Chakma, Organizing Secretary of Bangladesh Adibasi Chattra Sangram Porishod Mr. Litus Chiran, Organizing Secretary of HWF Ms. Chanchana Chakma, teacher of Dhaka University Professor Dr. Dalem Chandra Barman and Zobaida Nashrin Kona, chairperson of Patra Somprodai Kalyan Parishod Mr. Gouranga Patra, presidium member of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB)Haider Akbar Khan Rono, researcher Mr. Pavel Partha, Mr. Sharif Jamil of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon, general secretary of Bangladesh Adibasi Adhikar Andolan Professor Mesbah Kamal and general secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum Mr. Sanjeeb Drong have delivered their solidarity speeches during the demonstration, While Mr. Hiran Mitra Chakma conducted the program.
In their speeches, speakers urged the Government to seriously consider the issue of constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples; otherwise, the process of amendment of constitution will remain incomplete. This time, it is the unique opportunity for the county to erase the wrong done in 1972, they added.
In three hill districts of Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region, human chain was also formed by CHT branch of BIPF and other local IP organisations. In Rangamati, BIPF and M N Larma Memorial Foundation jointly formed human chain in front of Deputy Commissioner’s office long the mail road. Among others, convenor of CHT branch of BIPF Mr. Prakriti Ranjan Chakma, convenor of M N Larma Memorial Foundation Mr. Bijoy Ketan Chakma, Dr. Kaniska Chakma, former teacher Mr. A K Newar, youth leader Mr. Udayan Tripura at el spoke during the human chain.
On the other, human chain was formed in front of Shapla Chattar area in Khagrachari while in front of Press Club in Bandarban district.
Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Socheton Nagorik Somaj, Pahari Shramik Kalyan Forum, CHT Hill Students’ Council (PCP) have jointly organized the Human Chain in front of Shaheed Minar in Chittagong town. Hundreds of indigenous people and rights activists participated in this demonstration. Among others Mr. Sharat Jyoti Chakma of PCJSS, Mr. Indra Nandan Dutta, Vice-president, Jatiyo Somajtantrik Dal; Advocate Abu Hanif, General Secretary, Chittagong Metropolitan Unit, Workers’ Party of Bangladesh; Advocate Rana Dasgupto, General Secretary, Bangladesh Hindu-Buddha-Christian Oikyo Parishod and Mr. Andrew Solomar, Finance Secretary, Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum at el spoke during the demonstration.
All speakers demanded the constitutional recognition of the indigenous peoples. They urged the government for the greater interest of they country and for ensuring fundamental rights and dignity of the indigenous peoples, government should consider this issue seriously.
Human Chain was formed in front of Shaheb Bazar Zero Point in Rajshahi city. Hundreds of indigenous and mainstream people have taken part in this demonstration. Principal Shafiqur Rahman Badsha, General Secretary, Rajshahi Metropoliton Unit, Bangladesh Awami League; Mr. Liakat Ali Lipu, General Secretary, Metropoliton Unit, Workers’ Party of Bangladesh; Mr. Bimal Chandra Rajowar, Organizing Secretary, Jatiyo Adibasi Porishod; Mr. Anil Marandi, President, Jatiyo Adibasi Parishod; Mr. Rabindranath Soren, General Secretary, Jatiyo Adibasi Parishod and Vice-President of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum at el spoke during the demonstration.
In addition, Adibasi Chattra Porishod and Hill Students’ Council (PCP) of Rajshahi University unit have also joined the Human Chain and delivered their solidarity speeches demanding constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples.
Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Sylhet Chapter organized Human Chain in front of Sylhet Central Shaheed Minar. Many other IP organizations have joined the demonstration. Advocate Shahidul Shaheen, President, Lawyers Association of Sylhet, Ghana Sangma, Ex President of Tribal Welfare Association, Mr. Mintu Deshowara, President, Sylhet Adibasi Chattra Parishod et al spoke and delivered their solidarity speeches.
BIPF published a leaflet demanding constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh on the occasion of human chain programme where following demands were placed before government of Bangladesh-
1. Ensure constitutional recognition of national entities, languages and cultures of indigenous peoples;
2. Provide constitutional recognition of special governance arrangement of CHT region for the protection of political, economic, cultural and religious rights of CHT;
3. Provide seat reservation for indigenous peoples including women in the parliament and local government councils;
4. Ensure constitutional guarantee so that no law and constitutional provisions related to indigenous peoples’ rights would be changed without consent of indigenous peoples;
5. Recognise rights to control over land, territory and natural resources of indigenous peoples;
6. Provide constitutional recognition of CHT Accord signed in 1997 and laws formulated under this Accord.
(An Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)