19-5-2015. With joy and gratitude the Bangladesh Dalit Parishad, Parittran, the Bangladesh Horijon Oikhyo Parishad and like minded organisations received the news that the Chief Advisor to the Honoroble Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has asked to all Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) with the exception of the Hill Tract, to send proposals for the social development of Dalits across the country for the year 2015-2016. The Dalit community has been included for the first time together with the Plain Land Adibasi in the SAD (Special Area for Development) programme implemented by PM Office.
The Rishi (also called offensively Muchi) hamlet of Hajrakati, a village in the Magura district, has come out as a place where medieval style untouchability is practiced and enforced. Rishi people are forbidden from entering shops, hairdressers’ and resturants, and even in schools they are discouraged from attending. Parittran and the Bangladesh Dalit Parishad are trying to raise awareness and launch a movement to redress the discrimination. Yet, even because of this the Rishi of that village are passing their days in fear being continually threatened and preassurised by the well-to-do and influential people of the village.
A good report in Bengali of the happenings can be found in the SOMOKAL
Today December the 6th the Bangladesh Dalit Parisad in tandem with Paritran has observed World Dignity Day in Kesabpur. A colourful gathering of Dalits has been vocal in demanding efforts by all concerned in order to build a discrimination free society and country.
It was apprehended that during the final examination of primary
education, what in Bengali is called Somaponi Porikkha, the word Muchi,
a highly offensive and derogatory word to indicate the members of the cobblers’
caste (a former outcast group which goes under the general denomination
of Dalit) has been used in a way offensive to the people. During the
exam of Hindu religion and moral education, the question no. 7 of the
first exercise so read: “At your home the Durgapuja festival (the
greatest religious festival of the Hindus of Bengal, ndr.) is going on.
At that time a Muchi comes and asks to take part in the festival. What
will you do?” Four the possible answers among which the student must
choose one: 1. I will ask my father. 2. I will let him join in. 3. I
will discourage him from joining. 4. Fearing the others’ reaction, I
will not let him join in.
On the 3 of December The Rishi (the proper and non-offensive name of the
“Muchi” of south west Bangladesh) community strongely protested the
happening, requesting the government to punish those responsible in the
education ministry. For the occasion gatherings were organised by both
the Bangladesh Dalit Parishad aided by Paritran in different parts of
the country, including Dhaka. The pictures in the slideshow above depict a number of
“Muchi” of Tala bazar in the Satkhira district carrying out a token
strike to protest the event. Below the pictures the text paper
incriminated is also shown.