Sunday, August 16, 2009

Long march by indigenous people to protest attacks

Monday, July 27, 2009
Over two hundred members of the indigenous community yesterday began a two-day long march across 55 kilometres from Porsha upazila to Naogaon town yesterday to protest attacks on indigenous families.

The march was organised under the banner of Jatiya Adibashi Parishad (JAP) after a gang led by Nur Hosssain Master of Soraigachhi attacked the houses of some 74 families including 54 indigenous families at Katirpur on June 12.

They torched, damaged and looted the houses and also randomly beat up indigenous men, women and children during the attack.

Since the attack, some 300 members of the affected families have been left without homes, and the local administration has not come forward to help them, the protesters allege.

On the first day yesterday, the protesters walked some 30 kilometres from Soraigachhi in Porsha to Mohadevpur upazila sadar.

They will be joined by 300 more people this morning as they begin the march to Naogaon town. At Naogaon they will submit a memorandum to the local administration.

The protesters are carrying traditional bows and arrows to show that they will fight for their demands for security and protection of their ancestral lands, JAP leaders said.

They have meanwhile placed forward a nine-point demand which include demands for their rights and security, the arrest of Nur Hossain Master and his accomplices and the removal of the officer-in-charge of Porsha police station as the OC, they allege, is joining hands with the land grabbers.

Their demands also include constitutional recognition, formation of a land commission and a separate ministry for plain land indigenous people.

Communist Party of Bangladesh's central committee member Dr Fazlul Haque, Naogaon unit president Mainul Haque Mukul, general secretary Mohsin Reza, Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal leader Subhrangsu Chakrabarti and Joynal Abedin, Jatiya Krishak Samity's general secretary Aminul Islam Golap, Dinajpur unit president Abdul Haque, and Workers' Party's Mainuddin Chisti took part in the march and expressed their solidarity.

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