Bangladesh Adibashi Forum held a procession near the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital marking the International Day of the World's Indigenous People. Bangladesh. 9th August 2011
The International Day of the World's Indigenous People is being observed on Tuesday in the country and around the globe at a time when the very identity of the adivasi people has become a subject of debate in Bangladesh.
The government spokespersons in the country have denied the existence of indigenous people in Bangladesh. They suggested that the constitution would recognise them as "ethnic minorities" instead of indigenous people.
They claim neither the constitution nor any international laws recognise these people as indigenous.
These people did not reside or exist in the country before the 16th century and were not considered "indigenous people'' in any historical reference books, memoirs or legal documents, they argue.
However, leaders of the non-Bangalee indigenous communities have claimed they have been living in Bangladesh since the time immemorial with their own distinctiveness, languages, cultures, and identities.
They say the communities fulfil all the UN criteria required to be recognised as "indigenous".