Nat’l minorities resent being recognised as Bengalis
New Age Staff Correspondent
ties speaking other languages as Bengalis.’
Two major political parties of the national minorities, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti and the United People’s Democratic Front, and a coalition of national minority groups, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, have condemned the changes saying that ‘no state can change the identity and culture of a community.’
Jana Sanghati Samiti said, ‘We condemn the passage of the Constitution (Fifteenth Amendment) Bill that features clauses that undemocratic, communal and aggressive against nationalities by ignoring strong public opinions by the force of absolute majority.’
‘The clauses denied indigenous people their national identities and their basic rights as was done in the past. It dishonoured and demeaned the indigenous communities by identifying them as “tribe,” “ethnic sects and communities”,’ the party said.
‘The clauses identify all the people irrespective of their ethnicity as the Bengalis. The government has once again showed its ultra-chauvinist, ultra-communal and undemocratic mentality in the bill,’ the party said.
Jana Sanghati Samiti rejected the clauses adopted the in parliament in the constitution amendment bill and gave a warning that the government should shoulder the responsibility for any consequence of the imposition of rules that are undemocratic, communal and aggressive against nationalities.
The United People’s Democratic Front condemned the passage of the bill and asked the president not to give his consent to the controversial and anti-people bill.
The party’s president Prasit Bikash Khisa and general secretary Rabishangkar Chakma in a statement said that the passage of the bill was the first step of the government to grabbing absolute power in the style of the BKSAL. ‘It will trigger chaos and political conflicts which will have serious impact on the stability of the country and its economy.’
The leaders also criticised three lawmakers elected for the Chittagong Hill Tract constituencies for supporting the bill which wipes out the identities of ethnic and linguistic minorities. ‘People elected them to protect the interest of the hill people but they proved that they were government’s people.’
The party went on demonstrations at places in the Chittagong Hill Tracts immediately after the passage of the bill condemning the state’s refusal to recognise the ethnic and linguistic minorities and the retention of state religion and other contradictory provisions.
It also announced to hoist red flags for an indefinite period and called on all ethnic and linguistic minorities not to join any state-level programme of the government.
The police obstructed the party’s procession carrying red flags at places in the Khagrachari town and in upazila headquarters.
Speakers at the rallies said that the wrongdoing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of establishing ‘one state, one nation’ was repeated by his daughter and she would face the consequence of the similar wrongdoing.
The Adivasi Forum general secretary, Sanjeeb Drong, expressed his dissatisfaction at the passage of the constitution amendment bill without acknowledging the existence of ‘indigenous peoples’ although it was an election-time pledge of the ruling Awami League.
‘We wanted to be recognised as indigenous but the government has termed us tribal and ethnic minorities… We are disturbed, hurt and aggrieved,’ he said.
Sanjeeb said that the ruling Awami League had also backtracked from its election manifesto in the passage of the bill.
courtesy: New Age