Minorities will not be able to vote to any anti-minority interest nominee

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Hill Voice, 20 November 2023, Rangamati: Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, in a press conference, has called on all the political parties and alliances participating in the elections not to nominate any person accused of being involved in communal, anti-minority interest activities in the upcoming 12th National Assembly elections. It is said in a press release signed by the Office Secretary of the organization Mihir Ranjan Hawlader today (20 November).

It has been said in the conference, if such person is nominated, it will not be possible for the religious-ethnic minorities to cast their vote for them.

The conference was held today (November 20, 2023) at Tafazzal Hossain (Manik Mia) auditorium of the National Press Club. Rana Dasgupta, General secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, read out the written statement.

The statement said, all the patriotic democratic parties and alliances of the country, in the conference, were urged to come forward to play a responsible patriotic role in order to institutionalize democracy, and expressing the hope that, will commit to reflect the constitution in their election manifestos before elections and to protect the existence and equal right and dignity of ethnic-religious minorities, will to pledge to form the National Minority Commission, enact Minority Protection Acts, enact Anti-discrimination Acts, Vested Property (Return) Act, implement Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord, proper implementation of CHT Land Commission, formation of separate Land Commission for indigenous peoples in plains and protection of Debottar Property (Protection) Act.

It is expected, to make pledges for the constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples as ‘Indigenous’, implement the recommendations of the report of the then district judge and the present president of Bangladesh, Mr. Sahabuddin Commission to find out the cause of communal violences and identify the perpetrators occurred in 2001-2006, and ensure proper participation and representation in all the representative bodies including the national parliament at a proportional rate of the population.

The press release added, an 8-point proposal has been demanded to the Election Commission and the interim government of election in the conference that to express their interest to vote for the candidate of their choice in the upcoming 12th National Parliamentary elections, as patriotic citizens of the religious-ethnic minority community. Of the proposals-

(1) To make the 12th National Assembly elections fair, neutral and violence-free, and the election time government, all political parties participating in the elections and other related institutions should play their proper role in urging the Election Commission of Bangladesh to be strengthened and institutionalized,

(2) the Election Commission will create a level playing field paving the way for the religious-ethnic minority voters can go to polling stations without fear and hindrance, face no obstacles in becoming candidates and have equal opportunities to participate in election campaigns;

(3) Prohibition of use of religion and communalism in election campaigns. If any candidate, party or alliance uses religion and sectarianism in elections, to bring the violator under the law immediately;

(4) To ensure the safety of the religious-ethnic minorities prior and post-election times, and take regular measures- patrolling of RAB and BGB beside Police and Ansar identifying the minority localities as risky, to control the public safety, law and order situation.

(5) To properly inform, all the measures taken by the Election Commission, the Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police, all the members of the law and order forces involved in the election, the leaders of political parties and alliances, the candidates and the supporters of the candidates and publicize it on radio and television for the public awareness;
(6) To prohibit the use of all religious institutions- mosques, temples, pagodas, churches for election campaigning;

(7) Taking appropriate measures to criminalize religious hate speech, statements, spreading false rumors or any such propaganda as a harmful act under the Special Powers Act and Simultaneously step taken to cancel the candidature of the persons responsible immediately.

(8) To take measures of BGB and RAB patrolling in the constituencies of minority localities from two days before to next 15 days of the elections.

The press conference was chaired by one of the presidents of the organization, Professor Dr. Nimchandra Bhowmik. Nirmal Rosario, one of the presidents of the organization, presidium member Ranjan Karmakar, Bhikshu Sunandapriya and Joint General Secretary Manindra Kumar Nath spoke among others in the event. There, among others were present- Hirendranath Samajdar Hiru, Rabindranath Bose, Abhijit Bhattacharya, Biswajit Sadhu, Chittaranjan Saha, Sudhanshu Kumar Gain and Professor Prashant Kumar Biswas.