Hill Voice, 28 September 2019, Thakurgaon:  On 28 September 2019 people belonging to ethnic minority groups and Dalit community organised a human chain as well as a rally in front of Thakurgaon Press Club of Thakurgaon district in Bangladesh and demanded effective measures to protect their rights. The programme was organised by Eco Social Development Organisation in cooperation with Heks Eper under the banner of ‘Promotion of Rights of Ethnic Minority and Dalits for Improvement Programme’.

The programme was addressed by, among others, Advocate Imran Hossain Choudhury, adviser to Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Advocate Zahid Iqbal, district unit general secretary of Human Rights Commission, Raju Bashfor, general secretary of district unit of Harijan Samiti, Chaina Ram Tirki, president of Adivasi and Dalit Unnayan Forum, and Monsur Ali, president of Thakurgaon Press Club.

The speakers, at the rally, alleged that ethnic minorities face discrimination in the country as the authorities are indifferent to their issues and rights. They demanded formation of a separate land commission for protecting the lands of ethnic minority people living in plain lands and establishment of a separate ministry for dealing with their matters.

The speakers also mentioned that the ruling party Awami League in its election manifestos in 2008 and 2014 pledged formation of a separate land commission to protect dwellings, lands and water bodies of ethnic minority peoples living in plain lands and measures for preservation of their traditional rights on specific forest areas. But the commission is yet to be formed.