Hill Voice, 30 March 2023, Mymensingh: Greater Mymensingh Adivasi Oikya Parishad (UCGM) has made 11-point demands, including constitutional recognition of the indigenous peoples (IPs) of the plains.
On Wednesday (29 March) Adivasi Oikya Parishad leaders presented these demands at a press conference at the Nasrul Hamid Auditorium of Segunbagicha DRU in the capital. The Adivasi Oikya Parishad consists of 30 organizations of indigenous peoples of the plains.
In the press conference, the secretary general of the Parishad, Aranya Chiran, said that in 2021, a survey by the Caritas organization showed that the Garo population in Mymensingh district are 98 thousand 61 people. But in the 2022 census of the Bureau of Statistics, this number is shown as 75 thousand 846 people across the country. Indigenous peoples are scattered in almost all the districts of the country except some districts in the central and southern regions.
He said that indigenous communities in Bangladesh have their own language, dress, traditional culture, their own way of life and original customs. Still, survival of the indigenous peoples of the plains are under the threat of extinction. After the forties of the last century, this threat has gradually increased.
The president of the organization, Ajay A Mree, said that although the Minorities Act 2010 was enacted, the constitution did not recognize indigenous peoples as Adivasi. Awami League’s manifesto for the 11th parliamentary elections included the issue of the establishment of Land Commission for indigenous peoples of the plains, but it has not been implemented so far.
The other demands include allocation of 5 percent reserved seats in the national parliament and formation of a separate ministry for indigenous peoples, appointing a full minister for this ministry, formation of a separate land commission, nomination of indigenous women for reserved seats and formulation of rules and regulations as per ILO convention. Moreover, the organization demanded quick disposal of the writ petition in the court to stop extraction of sand and stone from the Mahadeo river in Kalmakandar of Netrakona, along with upholding the 5 percent quota allocation in education and government jobs.