Hill Voice, 24 February 2023, Special Reporter: As the fifth program in the ongoing human rights movement demanding the implementation of the ruling party’s commitments related to the minority interests, a torch march under the initiative of the Minority Oikya Morcha led by Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad was held today (24 February 2023) in the evening.
In an announcement before the torch march held at the Shahbagh square in the capital Dhaka, General Secretary of Oikya Parishad Advocate Rana Dasgupta expressed hope that the Prime Minister will take appropriate initiatives within the first week of July to implement the government’s promises, otherwise the hunger strike program will be started from the middle of next July. He said, from March to mid-July, representative gatherings will be held at eight divisional headquarters.
Advocate Dasgupta also said, we do not want to be victims of deprivation, discrimination, suppression, oppression in any way in independent Bangladesh. We will wait for the active initiative of the honorable Prime Minister.
One of the presidents of Oikya Parishad and former MP Ushatan Talukder presided over the rally. One of the presidents, Professor Dr. Nim Chandra Bhowmik and Nirmal Rosario, Presidium Member Kajal Debnath, Milan Kanti Dutta, Ranjan Karmakar, Joint General Secretary Manindra Kumar Nath, Adv. Shyamal Kumar Roy, Adv. Kishore Ranjan Mondal, Rabindranath Bose, Organizing Secretary Uttam Chakrabarty, Padmabati Devi, Joint Organizing Secretary Bappaditya Bose, Associate Student Affairs Secretary Sumana Gupta, Acting President of Dhaka Metropolitan North Atul Chandra Mondal, Acting General Secretary of Dhaka Metropolitan South Motilal Roy, President of Chatra Oikya Parishad Sudipta Sarkar Surya, General Secretary Shipon Baraik, General Secretary of Lawyers Oikya Parishad Adv. Sunil Ranjan Biswas, General Secretary of Dhaka Bar Branch Adv. Sushanta Bose, Supreme Court lawyer Adv. Prabir Halder, President of Bangladesh Hindu Mahazot Prabhas Chandra Roy and others.
Minority leaders said that the state religion has turned the religious ethnic minorities of the country into state minorities. To become such a national minority and victims of genocide and crimes against humanity, none of us Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, indigenous peoples have fought a liberation war. Through the misuse of the holy religion, many minorities have been forced to emigrate after years of continuous deprivation, discrimination, suppression and oppression in the then Pakistan and now independent Bangladesh.
The leaders said, today there is no way to deny, the state, politics, social system and the constitution have fallen far from the original spirit of the liberation war. Religious-ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples have their backs against the wall today. Minority men and women, teenagers today are generally depressed and upset. We fear that as the election date approaches, the continued multifaceted attacks on them may intensify. On the eve of the 11th National Parliament Elections in 2018, based on the demands raised from the gathering at Suhrawardy Uddyan organized by the Oikya Parishad-led Minority Oikya Morcha, the ruling party Bangladesh Awami League expressed its commitment for the formation of a National Commission for Minorities, the formulation of a Minority Protection Act, the formulation of an Elimination of Discrimination Act, the proper implementation of the CHT Peace Accord, the CHT Land Commission and proper implementation of Vested Property Transfer Act, the formulation of an Inalienable Property Act and the formation of a separate land commission for the indigenous people of the plains in its election manifesto.
The leaders also said that only ten months are left for the 12th parliamentary elections. However, no initiative has been observed to implement the minority-indigenous peoples interest-friendly promises of the ruling party’s 2018 election manifesto – which is very disappointing for the religious-ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples of this country. In order to overcome this disappointment, to attract the attention of government, political parties and people in this regard, various programs have been being carrying out continuously since last March to till date demanding to implementation of the promises.
Today’s torch march is a part of continuous movement.