Bangladesh minority organisations, led by the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity (Oikya Parishad), held a meeting in Dhaka to ensure the protection of the minority communities and submitted a memorandum to the Bangladesh Prime Minister in order to implement a seven-point demand.
The leaders of the minority handed over the memorandum to the Prime Minister’s office after holding a rally in the capital, Shahbagh, on January 8.
The 7-point demands are: Enactment of the Minority Protection Act; Formation of the National Minority Commission; Enactment of the Elimination of Discrimination Act; Enactment of the Intestate Property Conservation Act; Return of Vested Property Act; Proper Implementation of the Hill Peace Treaty and Hill Land Commission Act and Formation of Separate Land Commission for Plains Adivasis.
The ruling Awami League’s 2018 election manifesto also had these 7 points. But the minorities of the country claim that they have not fulfilled even one point after coming to power. The minority organisations organised a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan adjacent to Ramana Kalimandir on January 7.
Leaders and activists of various organisations from different parts of the country also joined the rally and chanted slogans like ‘the state belongs to everyone.’
Supriya Bhattacharya, President, Mahila Oikya Parishad, said, “We have been presenting 7-point demands for a long time. In 2018, the Government assured us these seven points in the election manifesto as well, but not even a single point was implemented. We want immediate implementation of our demands. We no longer wish to be neglected, to be oppressed. We do not want a communal state but a secular one”!
The road march started from Ramanakali temple at 2 pm and ended at Shahbagh. From there, the organisation’s leaders went to the Prime Minister’s office.
The Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council started the road march from Ramana Kalimandir. When the road march reached in front of the Shahbagh National Museum, the police held a discussion with the leaders and activists of the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Parishad.
The committee of seven members headed by the president of the council, Nim Chandra Bhowmik, went to the Prime Minister’s office to give the memorandum.
At the end of the road march, Rana Dasgupta, Coordinator of the National Coordination Committee of Religious-Ethnic Minority and Tribal Organisations and General Secretary of Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Parishad, read the declaration. The manifesto highlighted the rationale for implementing the seven-point demand, “There is only one year left for the 12th parliamentary elections, however, no initiative has been observed to implement the minority-tribal interest-friendly promises of the government party’s 2018 election manifesto, which is very disappointing for the religious-ethnic minorities and tribes of this country”.
A similar rally to implement these seven-point demands was organised last year on March 24 2022; a mass signatures campaign with the support of over 2.5 lakh people held a hunger strike across the country.
The 3-page memorandum given to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urges the Government to ensure equal rights for all citizens, including the minority communities. The memorandum also states the minority community has been subjected to various forms of discrimination, torture and oppression after the assassination of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975. The memorandum mentions various communal attacks on the minority community and attacks on Hindus amid Durga Puja in October 2021.
The memorandum further reads that “We definitely believe the conspirator still continue the conspiracy.”
“The minority community has been subjected to various forms of discrimination, torture and oppression due to the coming to power of the government against the spirit of the Liberation War and the communalization of the constitution,” the memorandum read.
Minority Oikya Morcha
Organisations within the Minority Oikya Morcha are – Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, Bangladesh Christian Association, Bangladesh Buddhist Federation, Bangladesh Buddhist Samiti, International Krishna Bhavnamrit Sangh (ISCON), Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, Bangladesh Matua Mahasangh, Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Samaj Sanskar Samiti, Sri Sri Janmashtami Celebration Parishad, Bangladesh National Hindu Mahajot (Prabhas-Palash), Bangladesh National Hindu Mahajot (Sonali-Ray), Jagannath Hall Alumni Association, Swajan, Bangladesh Minority Struggle Parishad, Sri Sri Bholananda Giri Ashram Trust, Bangladesh Hindu League, Minority Rights Forum Bangladesh, Bangladesh Rishi Panchayat Forum, Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad, Anubhav, World Hindu Federation Bangladesh Chapter, National Tribal Council, Bangladesh Rabidas Development Council, International Rabidas Development Council, Sharadanjali Forum, Sammilit Sanatan Parishad, Sanatan Organization, Bangladesh Sanatan Kalyan Jot, Bangladesh Lawyers Association.
The organisation also lauded the Prime Minister for coming forward to protect the minority community after the atrocious violence from 1990 to 2001.
The memorandum also cited communal attacks on members of minority communities as it sought implementation of the seven-point demand before 12th Parliamentary elections.