500 dalit families fall victims to violence in 2013-14: report

Staff Correspondent
Guests hold copies a human rights report on Dalits in the country in a programme organised by Manusher Janya Foundation and FAIR in Dhaka on Sunday. — New Age photo

Guests hold copies a human rights report on Dalits in the country in a programme organised by Manusher Janya Foundation and FAIR in Dhaka on Sunday. — New Age photo

About 500 dalit families across Bangladesh fell victims to various violence, ranging from physical attacks to rapes and even murders, in the last two years, a report said.
In economic term, their various losses due to the violence have been estimated at Tk 50 lakh, claimed a report titled ‘Dalit: Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh 2013-2014.’
The report was launched on Sunday in the city.
Friends Association for Integrated Revolution (FAIR), a human rights and research organisation prepared and presented the report at the National Press Club.
Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad and FAIR jointly organised the report launching programme with supports from Manusher Jonnya Foundation.
Presenting the report, FAIR director Dewan Akhtaruzzaman said about 5.5 million of marginalized dalit people currently live in Bangladesh. Of them, 1.5 millions belonged to dalit horijan or untouchable community, he said.
Women leaders, right activists and academics who attended the report launching programme urged the government to ensure constitutional rights to all the citizens, including the dalit people.
They urged the government to take prompt steps to formulate laws to abolish all sorts of discriminations in the country.
Dhaka University professor Mejbah Kamal said female members of the dalit community were facing ‘much  discriminations’ because they lagged behind their male counterparts, in terms of education and other entitlements.
Rights of the dalits over land ownership should be ensured, he said.
Khushi Kabir, coordinator of Nijera Kori said although the constitution has given equal rights to all, dalits are facing discriminations due to loopholes in laws.
Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad chairman Krishnalal and Manusher Jonnya Foundation director Rina Roy, among others, also spoke.

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