The Daily Star, Staff Correspondent
Indigenous leaders yesterday urged the government to stop illegal grabbing of their land across the country and to recognise their traditional land rights.
They also demanded introduction of permanent settlement system of indigenous land where permanent ownership has not been established yet.
They placed these demands at a press conference at the National Press Club in the city yesterday jointly organised by Bangladesh Adivashi Odikhar Andolan, Bangladesh Adivashi Forum, Adivashi Jagoron Samity and Andar Manik Bhumihin Samobaya Samity.
Referring to recent land grabbing and attacks in Kaliakoire in Gazipur, Parbotipur in Dinajpur, Moulvibazar and Chittagong Hill Tracts area, the leaders said continuous grabbing of indigenous land across the country is leading ethnic minorities to the verge of destruction.
Reading out a written statement, General Secretary of Adivashi Forum Sanjeeb Drong demanded punishment of the culprits involved with the March 5 attack in Andar Manik landless village in Gazipur and to distribute the land among the landless people living there since 1981.
He also urged the government not to evict the indigenous people in the name of mining coal in Phulbari and to return land to the indigenous people of Gamaridhala in Khagrachhari district where outsiders illegally grabbed indigenous land.
Gono Forum presidium member Pankaj Bhatyacharia, Prof Mesbah Kamal of Dhaka University, the daily Amader Somoy Journalist Anwar Kabir, indigenous leader Jagodish Chandra Barman and Manindra Chandra Barman were present at the press conference.