Prof Abul Barkat says that around 600 Dalits leave country daily for lack of jobs
Speakers at a seminar yesterday demanded introduction of special quotas for the minority and Dalit communities in all sectors relevant to their social and economic development, including education and government services.
The seminar, “Missing Minority and Dalit Situation in Bangladesh”, was organised by SHAREE at Curzon Hall of Dhaka University as part of the events marking the launch of South Asia Social Forum 2011.
The ruling party, in line with the mandate it got at the 2008 elections, must give priority in appointing minorities, Dalits and aboriginal people in the public services, said Prof Abul Barkat of the Department of Economics of Dhaka University.
These communities should also have priority when khas lands are provided and a special allocation should be kept in the national budget for them, he added.
He also said the government should ensure the social status of these communities, enabling them to live with their social and economic rights, through constitutional recognition.
Around 600 Dalit people leave the country every day due to a lack of employment opportunities and accommodation facilities, he said.
Justice Mohammad Ghulam Rabbani said students of the minority and the Dalit communities would greatly benefit if the government introduced a single and secular education system for all.
Criticising the government’s silence in resolving the vested property issue, journalist Abed Khan said the government must take necessary steps to protect human rights, especially of minorities and Dalits.
Bangladesh Dalit Rishi Panchayet Forum General Secretary Rajkumar Das reiterated the Dalit demand for a special quota.
SHAREE Executive Director Preo Bala Biswas, presenting a keynote paper, suggested that the government enumerate and mainstream the minorities and Dalits in compliance with the constitution and the government’s Vision 2021.
With agriculturist Dr M Gul Hussain chairing the seminar, Gobindo Chandra Saha of Bread for the World, Bangladesh and Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad Secretary General Nirmol Chandra Das also took part in the deliberations.