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Monday, March 22, 2010
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Demanding immediate end to social discrimination on grounds of caste and professions, Dalit people rallied around the country yesterday on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2010.

Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM) formed a human chain at Muktangan in the city demanding fulfilment of its 12- point demand, including formulation of a law against discrimination.

Other demands of the organisation include extension of government-allocated residential area and permanent allotment of land, immediate stop to eviction of Dalits, allotment of khas (fallow) land and constitution of a special cell in Human Rights Commission for them.

BDERM also organised such programmes in 20 districts across the country for fulfilling the same demands.

Our Khulna Corres-pondent adds: Parittran, a human development organisation for the outcaste, Khulna chapter of Bangladesh Dalit Parishad, and Manusher Jonno Foundation jointly organised a grand rally at Zia Hall.

Earlier at 10:30am, a colourful procession was brought out where Khulna City Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque also took part.

The mayor said social discrimination in a democratic country would not be allowed to go on.

The government is pledge-bound to remove social discrimination of all forms against members of Dalit community so that they can enjoy equal human rights like others, he added.

Bangladesh Dalit Parishad President Udoy Das and Parittran Executive Director said they would launch a movement this year to realise their demands for representation of Dalit community in local government bodies and national parliament, special quota in academic institutions, including universities, employment opportunities and inclusion of Dalits in the government's safety net programme and allotment of khas land for them.

Some 1,000 participants wrote separate letters at the rally, addressing the prime minister with a view to drawing her attention to eliminate social discrimination to ensure their rights.

Udoy said the letters would be sent to the PM through Khulna chapter of Bangladesh Dalit Parishad.

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