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Moloy Sundar Saha | HENB | Dhaka | May 15, 2016:: Eminent politicians, academics, human rights activists and civil society leaders on Saturday called on the ruling Awami League-led government to take steps to ensure the rights of the all minorities comprising religious, ethnic, linguistic and others across the society in an Islamic Bangladesh.
The minorities, especially the religious ones, are being deprived of their constitutional ‘rights of equality’ in many cases, they alleged.
They said minorities are often used as ‘Chess Pieces’ and that they lack proper representation in the political parties and the parliament.
Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) organised the national dialogue at CIRDAP auditorium to discuss ways to implement the 7-point demand raised by the organisation in a grand rally in the capital on December 4, last year.
The demands included, employing at least 20 per cent of people coming from across minor religions and ethnicities to the administrative posts, preserving 60 seats in the Parliament for those minorities, dropping Islam (religion) from state religion and forming a minority ministry.
BHBCUC leaders sat with various political parties and cultural organizations to earn their supports, following the grand rally.
Many agreed with the religious minority forum and said they would support the causes.
‘Rights could not be accomplished until they get political patrons,’ said Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim.
‘The movement of the minorities should be engaged with national politics to get the rights accomplished,’ he said.
The forum will hold countrywide demonstrations on May 20, to press home their demands, said Rana Dashgupta, general secretary of the forum.
Mohammad Nasim, the presidium member of the Awami League, said that the Awami League-led government was working to execute the ideals of Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.
The government will take adequate measures to ensure the securities of the minority population, Nasim, also the spokesman of the AL-led alliance, said.
Mahbubur Rahman, the standing committee member of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, said that the country now lacked democratic rule and that ‘we want to establish a democratic country.’
The BNP leader said they would establish the rights of the religious minorities if they come to power.
Workers Party of Bangladesh president and also civil aviation and tourism minister Rashed Khan Menon, said, ‘We have failed to establish a secular and democratic country.’
‘We also trying to fully implement the peace treaty in the hills,’ he claimed.
He called on the minorities to make their voices louder shout frequently in favour of their seven-point demands.
Suranjit Sengupta, the advisory council member of the AL, said, that it is unfortunate that the minorities are stripped of their various rights when AL-led alliance government is in power.
He called on the government to take steps to implement the demands of the minorities, immediately.
Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma alias Shantu Larma, president of the Parbatya Chattagram Janasanghati Samiti, alleged that the ruling alliance government was not sincere enough to establish the rights of the minorities.
‘They are also not sincere to implement the peace treaty in the hills,’ Shantu alleged.
Gono Shastho Kendra founding trustee Zafrullah Chowdhury said the country is passing through a very critical time and minorities were suffering from insecurities.
The “National Dialogue on Minority Rights” also condemned the recent killings of liberals, intellectuals, academics, social workers and religious leaders by the Islamist in recent times in Bangladesh. The Forum also urged the present Govt to save Bangladesh from the growing threat of Jihad.
Chaired by president of the forum, Usatan Talukder, Dhaka University teachers, Anwar Hossain, Mesbah Kamal, cultural activists Kamal Lohani, Golam Quddus, columnist Syed Abul Maksud, human right activists Sultana Kamal, Shahrier Kabir, Khushi Kabir, Shamsul Huda, Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, Ranjan Karmaker and politicians Dilip Barua, Khalequzzaman, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Pankaj Bhattacharya, Shirin Akhter and Habibur Rahman Shawkat spoke among others in the dialogue.
*Published in the interest of minorities in distress in BD. Input from New Age.