Rights activists at a national convention on Thursday asked the government to protect the rights of marginal and excluded people incorporating them into the development stream.
The two-day convention began at LGED Bhaban in Dhaka organised by Society for Environment and Human Development, Power and Participation Research Centre, Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh and Gram Bikash Kendra.
CCDB executive director Joyanta Adhikari said that over the decades the minority groups were deprived and not included in the development stream.
The aim of the convention was to raise their voice and reach it to the policy makers.
He urged the government to incorporate the disadvantage people with the development.
SEHD unveiled a study report on families living in 44 villages at Madhupur forest in Tangail titled ‘Madhupur: the vanishing forest and her people in agony,’ which unveiled that 89.57 per cent indigenous people in Madhupur have traditional ownership of land but no documents.
According to the report, only 13 per cent Bengali and 4.19 per cent Garo families have legal documents of cadastral survey record of their land.
The study also unveiled that social afforestation was the main cause of forest related cases there as 4,500 cases were filed following the dispute.
Addressing as chief guest, Centre for Policy Dialogue chairman Rehman Sobhan advised that only political movement could ensure rights of the minority groups. He said a legal protection was also needed for the traditional land ownership of the ethnic minority hill people.
He said Bengali people grabbed land of the ethnic community people making them landless.
PPRC executive chairman Hossain Zillur Rahman said that many minority people had no land by paper but the government had many policies for distributing Khas land.
He asked the government to distribute land to those who have no document on the basis of the government’s policy.
He also said that there was misconception over the development policy that the government ban fishing in sea but the fishermen get nothing to maintain their livelihood.
SEHD director Philip Gain presented the key note paper of the convention and said that there are many minority groups in districts not mentioned in the government statistics.
CPD’s distinguished fellow Rounaq Jahan, GBK chief executive Moazzem Hossain, Rambhajan Kairi, Rabindranath Soren, writer Harishankar Jaladas among others spoke at the event.