JAP staged road blockade in North Bengal demanding constitutional recognition of Indigenous Peoples and land rights

Picture: Bivuti Bhushon Mahato, Naogaon protest rally and gathering

On 9 July 2023 the Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) held road block and protest rally in Naogaon and Gaibandha districts of North Bengal demanding seven-point demands including constitutional recognition of Indigenous People, separate land commission for the indigenous peoples of the plains. The Noagaon program was held on Rajshahi-Naogaon highway at Chaumashia square area of Mahadevpur upazila of Naogaon in the afternoon whereas Gaibandha protest was held at Charmatha junction of Gobindaganj Upazila of Gaibandha district.


More than two thousand people from eight districts of Rajshahi division participated in this program. Along with the aforementioned demand, their other demands are restoration of quota for indigenous people in government jobs; justice for the killing of three Santals at Bagda Farm in Sahebganj, Gaibandha; trial of those who incited the suicide of two Santal farmers in Rajshahi’s Godagari upazila without getting irrigation water; stop killing, torture, harassment of indigenous peoples across the country, and in their name. Stop embezzlement of allocated money and land office corruption.

Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Adviser and Convener of Bangladesh Socialist Party Naogaon District Committee Zainal Abedin Mukul ; Shaheed Hasan Siddiqui from Workers Party Naogaon District Committee; JAP Spokesperson and Office Secretary Suvash Chandra Hembram;  Rajshahi Divisional Organizing Secretary Martin Murmu;  Naogaon District Committee Convener Naran Chandra Pahan; Chapainawabganj district committee President Bichitra Tirky, Bogura District Committee President Santosh Sing, Natore District Committee General Secretary Kalidas Roy Munda, Adivasi Jubo Parishad Central Committee Vice-President Nobodip Lakra, Indigenous Students Council Central Committee President Nokul Pahan spoke among others in the protest rally while JAP Central Committee President Rabindranath Soren presided over the discussion.

The speakers stated that ahead of the Ninth National Parliamentary election, current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other leaders of the 14-party alliance promised to give constitutional recognition to the indigenous peoples living in the plains and hills of the country as indigenous peoples. But they forgot that promise. On the contrary, in the fifteen amendment of the constitution government identified indigenous peoples as ‘small ethnic group’ instead of indigenous peoples. Rabindranath Soren addressed that the current head of government and the leaders of the ruling party claim that they are friendly to the minority people. But in reality they are not doing it. Even in independent countries, indigenous people have been oppressed for years, powerful people have taken away their land and displaced them, but no action by the government is visible. Most of the problems of the indigenous people are centered on land. Therefore, a separate land commission and separate ministry should be formed for the indigenous peoples of the plains without delay.

Picture: Philemon Baske, Gaibandha Protest rally


The JAP central committee held a road blockade program at Charmatha junction of Gobindaganj Upazila, Gaibandha on Sunday, 9th July, 2023 for the realization of various demands. Besides this, The indigenous peoples protestors took out a protest procession from Katamore area of Gobindaganj with bows and arrows and came to Char Matha junction of the upazila and held a road blockade program for an hour on the same day. The indigenous leaders JAP and Adivashi Bhumi Uddar Songram Committee spoke during the blockade program. In their speeches the leaders demanded   trial of Gobindaganj three Santals murder, constitutional recognition as indigenous peoples, formation of land commission and separate ministry for indigenous population in the plains, inclusion of excluded indigenous population, ensure guaranteed quota for indigenous communities in government jobs and implementation of that quota in higher education. They also demanded the prosecution of the instigators of Abhinath Mardi and Ravi Mardi’s suicide case of Godagari in Rajshahi.  Along with the aforementioned demands there was an urge as well to end the torture, murder, rape, kidnapping, land grabbing, false cases, looting, police harassment towards indigenous people and to stop land office bribery, corruption and embezzlement of money allotted to the indigenous peoples across the country.