Ethnic communities across the country should be recognised as "Adivasi" people and their equal rights and entitlements of should be ensured as any other Bangladeshi citizen, said speakers at a discussion yesterday.
An ethnic group should have the right to define itself, and the state should not impose a hegemonic Bangalee identity on the people or dismiss their demand by calling them "Upajati", they said.
Bangladesh Adivasi Forum organised the discussion titled "Unity in Diversity" in the RC Majumder Auditorium of Dhaka University.
The forum's general secretary Sanjeev Drong, DU law department associate professor Md Rahmat Ullah, linguistics department professor Sourav Shikdar, and mass communication and journalism department associate professor Robaet Ferdous, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Sanjeev Drong emphasised the importance of fostering pluralism in a democratic state.
Even the country's first constitution and all consecutive amendments have failed to give recognition to the Adivasis, he said.
DU students highlighted relevant questions about rights, culture, and languages of the people.