Public Hearing: Dalit victims claimed rapid trial and proper justice

Besides being discriminated due to work and descent, about 6.5 million Dalits in Bangladesh are also deprived of proper justice for belonging to the Dalit community. They can’t strongly raise their voice to get justice as they are considered to be untouchables and socially excluded community. As a result, it becomes easier for the accused to get rid of the charges. In these circumstances, to ensure that the Dalits can get proper justice in due time Nagorik Uddyog in collaboration with BDERM organized a `Public Hearing on Elimination of Discrimination and Atrocity against Dalits’ at CIRDAP on 22-23 December, 2015. Total 8 cases of land grabbing, rape, abduction, physical torture and killing were presented at the public hearing and the honourable jury members came up with their valuable suggestions. Ajay Rabidas of Halghoshpara of Naogaon district described how he had become the victim of physical torture by the local people for false charge of throwing faeces in the local mosque. He added that the local law enforcement agency forced him for mediation rather than giving him any legal support. As a result of that the local people have frequently been threatening them leaving their own property. Ashpuran Rabidas of Gazipur was compelled to sell his land at almost half of the current market price. He could not protest or escape such incident as the people involved are very influential. Father of Pakhi Roy from Khulna told that he had not yet got justice of the abduction case of his elder daughter though he had been fighting since 2013. He also informed that the accused had been frequently threatening them withdrawing the case. Jagajjoti Laskar from Moulvibazar told the house that Kamalgonj police at first denied filing case after his wife being raped by a group of people. Though police finally filed case due to movement of the tea community, they didn’t frame any charge sheet yet. A 8 years old Dalit girl was killed in Gazipur on 12 October, 2015 while she was on the way to Pubail Bazar to bring fish which her father bought. But police could not identify or arrest anyone in this case yet. Joyonti Robidas from Habigonj informed that no one from her community could rent any cooking materials from the local decorators or the local restaurants didn’t allow them to get in. The Dalits victim of discrimination and atrocity urged to the government to ensure justice to them while describing their experiences.  
Ms. Selina Hossain, Honourable Chairperson, Committee on Dalits and other Marginalized Group, National Human Rights Commission (JAMAKON), Bangladesh was present as the chief guest.
The honourable members of the jury board were Ms. Shamsun Nahar Begum, Senior District Judge; Professor Mesbah Kamal, Dept. of History, Dhaka University; Barrister Sara Hossain, Executive Director (Honourary), BLAST; Sheikh Hafizur Rahman, Associate Professor, Dept. of Law, Dhaka University; and Advocate Narayan Charmakar, District Session and Judge Court, Chittagong.
Advocate Tajul Islam, Bangladesh Supreme Court was present as the Legal Analyst.Mr. Sunil Kumar Mridha, President, BDERM was present as the chair and Mr. Zakir Hossain, Chief Executive, Nagorik Uddyog facilitated the event. The honorable jury board members provided their valuable suggestions to victims and their family members at the closing part of the public hearing.