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Ethnic minority people want education in mother tongue

New Age, Dhaka, September 6, 2008

Leaders of the ethnic minority communities, from both hill and plan land, of different districts on Friday called on the government to take necessary steps to stop occupation of land of the people in their areas.

They also urged the government to take initiative to introduce primary education system of the ethnic minority communities in their mother languages, saying that the ethnic minority people should be given their constitutional recognition.

The call came from an extended meeting of the Bangladesh Adivasi Union, held at Mukti Bhaban at Purana Paltan in Dhaka.

Chaired by Rebeka Soren, convener of the union, the meeting was also addressed, among others, by Woo Soo Rey of Patuakhali, Kasa Mong of Bandarban, Amin Kujur of Naogaon, Khagendra Hajong of Netrakona, Emil Hajda of Dinajpur, Thirati Rani of Chapainawabganj, Srimati Moormo of Phulbhari and Dhirendra Nath Mahato of Bogra.

Demanding constitutional recognition of the ethnic communities, Woo Soo Rey said, ‘The ethnic minority people would be deprived of their basic rights as long as a repression-free society is not established.’

The land of the indigenous people was being encroached upon in various ways. This malpractice must be stopped, he said.

The land and homesteads of the indigenous people were being occupied indiscriminately by the influential quarters across the country, the speakers said, and called upon the ethnic groups to forge a unity to realise their demands.

They also demanded introduction of a permanent rationing system for them and exemplary punishment for the killers of Alfred Soren, Satyaban Hajong, Piren Snan, Kalpona Chakma and other indigenous people.

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