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Indigenous people demand constitutional rights

The Daily Star, Saturday, September 6, 2008

Indigenous leaders at a meeting yesterday called on the government to give constitutional rights to the indigenous people and take steps for an end to encroachment on their lands.

Bangladesh Adivasi Union (BAU) organised the meeting at Mukti Bhaban in the city’s Purana Paltan area.

Indigenous leaders from Patuakhali, Bandarban, Netrokona, Bogra, Sirajganj, Jamalpur, Cox’s Bazar and Dinajpur took part in the programme.

They said there is no alternative to establish a repression-free society in order to establish rights of the indigenous people, adding that they are fighting to get their constitutional rights for long.

The leaders also urged the government to protect their culture and heritage, including their traditional language, and ensure their right to land.

They called for a united effort to resist all kinds of repression against them.

The indigenous leaders at the meeting were critical of influential people who grabbed their land taking the advantage of their poverty and illiteracy.

Presided over by BAU Convener Rebeka Soren, the meeting was addressed by Khiroti Rani, Pavel Coch, Rupchand Barman, Binoy Majhi and Amin Kujur.

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