Minority vote matters | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:25 AM, January 13, 2018

Minority vote matters

Community leaders tell event, say they won’t support candidates involved in violence against them

The minority community would not vote for candidates involved in carrying out violence against them, said leaders of a platform of 19 minority organisations yesterday.

They also demanded that the political parties refrain from nominating candidates in the 11th national polls, who being public representatives were either involved or are still engaged in activities that go against the interest of minorities.

In addition, political parties should work for ensuring that the number of religious or ethnic minority representatives in the polls is proportionate to the country's population, said the leaders of National Coordinating Committee of Religious and Ethnic Minority Organisation.

They made the remarks while declaring their five-point demand at a convention organised by Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad in the capital's Cirdap auditorium.

Noted economist Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said, “There are at least 80 parliamentary constituencies in Bangladesh where the votes of the minorities have the power to influence the result.”

However, the number of minority representatives in the parliament and political arena is not adequate compared to the number of voters, he said.

“Why will the minorities be nominated only for the minority-dominated constituencies? Why can they not be nominated from any constituencies?”

Such policies of the political parties indicated that they believed the minority representatives would not any get vote. There are many places in the world where minorities can become representatives from anywhere, he said.

Advocate Rana Das Gupta, coordinator of the committee, said religious and ethnic minorities were worried about the upcoming polls.

“Election is not like a festival, but rather it is like a curse to the minority communities,” he said. The minorities had the experience of facing pre-polls violence, he added.

He also said their committee will support the political parties who would declare their electoral agenda on minorities clearly.

The committee, including Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad and Bangladesh Christian Association, also demanded that the safety of the minorities during and after the polls must be ensured.

Also, using hate-filled speeches should be stopped and the Election Commission must take measures against those involved in such acts.

Pankaj Bhattacharya, president of Oikya Nap, and Hubert Gomez, one of the presidents of Oikya Parishad, were also present at the convention.

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