When entire Bangladesh celebrates the Independence Day amidst festivity and fanfare, a group of youths went out on demonstration on bank of River Ichhamati in Pabna town on Tuesday demanding to save the river.
They observed a twelve-hour hunger strike beginning from 6:00am to press for their demands.
A Facebook group Amader Ichhamati organised the programme on the river bank near Barnamala Kindergarten in the town.
‘Ichhamati is the pride of Pabna. The river flowing across the district headquarter died many years ago due to the illegal occupation and rampant pollution. Once a mighty river, now Ichhamati flows in a narrow channel filled with filth and muck polluting the environment of Pabna,’ said Md Mahabubur Rahman, an organiser of the event.
‘The responsibility of saving the river also falls on us. So, we opened Facebook group Amader Ichhamati to initiate campaign for saving the river,’ he said.
Mahabub said few young people went there and observed 12-hour hunger strike sitting on the bank of the dirty river.
Asked why they began the demonstration on the Independence Day, Mahabub said, ‘Bangladesh got independent through a nine-month long struggle. Now it is our duty to save our people in the independent Bangladesh,’ Mahabub added.
Around 20 to 25 youths joined the sit-in and hunger strike programme while many people extended solidarity to their movement to save the river.
‘People of Pabna are struggling to free Ichhamati from grabbers and saving it from pollution for long. The demonstration on the dirty and polluted river bank will strengthen the struggle,’ said Sawal Biswas, vice-chairman of Pabna Sadar upazila parishad.
Sawal was among others who went there to support the movement.
Grabbers occupied most of the river Ichhamati. No effective step was taken yet to free the river from illegal occupants.
Recently the district administration issued a notice against 224 illegal occupants, officials said.
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