Hill bodies ask ethnic minority, leftist lawmakers to vote against 15th amendment
Five organisations of the hill people in a joint statement on Wednesday called on the lawmakers from ethnic minority communities and leftist parties to vote against the 15th Amendment Bill to ensure the separate identities of nationalities other than Bengalis.
The Democratic Youth Forum, Pahari Chhatra Parishad, Hill Women’s Federation, Sajek Bhumi Raksha Committee and Sajek Nari Samaj made the appeal to ethnic minority lawmakers Jatindralal Tripura, Dipankar Talukder, Bir Bahadur, Pramod Mankin and Aye Thin Rakhain and the lawmakers from the leftist parties.
‘You cannot give your consent to the bill which identifies all the minority nationalities as Bengalis,’ the statement said.
The organisations asked the lawmakers to clear their stand on Bengali nationalism, Bismillah, Islam as state religion and secularism. ‘Do not go against the sentiment of your electorates and forget your identities in exchange of power and some benefits,’ the statement read.
Leaders of the organisations reminded the consequence of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s command to the ethnic minorities to be Bengalis and said, ‘The ethnic and linguistic minorities in Chittagong Hill Tracts and elsewhere in the country are in no way Bengali nationals.
Each of the communities has their own national identity and culture. Imposing Bengali nationalism on people speaking different languages by the might of absolute majority indicates sheer undemocratic and fascist attitude,’ the statement said.
Democratic Youth Forum president Natun Kumar Chakma, Pahari Chhatra Parishad president Aongya Marma, Hill Women’s Federation general secretary Konika Dewan, Sajek Bhumi Raksha Committee vice-president Jyotilal Chakma and Sajek Nari Samaj general secretary Nirupa Chakma signed the statement.