Jul 21, 2011

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Protests Continue Over Constitutional Failures

The failure of the 15th Amendment to the Bangladeshi constitution to recognise the country’s indigenous population has been met by further protests in the Chittagong region. A peaceful blockade of access routes is the latest attempt to increase pressure on the government.

Below is an article published by BDNews24:

The United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) continues to block roads and waterways in Rangamati and Khagrachharhi for a second day.

No river vessels left Rangamati Sadar and people were seen walking to their workplaces on Thursday, the final day of the two-day protests.

In Khagrachharhi, the stoppage was being enforced peacefully.

Bandarban was spared from the protests on Thursday [21 July 2011].

Authorities deployed additional forces to patrol the streets of the towns to prevent any violence from happening.

The front is enforcing the blockade in the volatile Chittagong Hill Tract region to protest against a recent amendment to the country's constitution, saying the ethnicity of the indigenous people has not been recognised properly.

In the amended constitution, Bangladeshi citizens' nationality has been redefined as 'Bangalee' but the front, a political group of indigenous people in CHT, says they do not belong to that, and they should be recognised as 'Adivasi'.

The UPDF is also demanding annulment of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, passed by parliament on June 30, which has brought the indigenous people under the definitions of tribal, making them parts of minor races, ethnic sects and communities.


*             *             *