Rashed Khan Menon
File photo

Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon said he doesn’t want such a Bangladesh where a teacher has to go to jail for teaching science or a woman gets harassed for wearing Bindi.

He made the remark at a discussion held with the demand of ensuring farmers’ right to water, at the National Press Club on Monday morning.

The event was organised by Jatiya Krishak Samity and Bangladesh Khet Mojur Union.

Santal farmers Rabi Marandi and Abhinath Marandi committed suicide consuming poison in Rajshahi's Godagari upazila on 23 March for being denied irrigation-water for their Boro paddy field despite requesting several times.

In the discussion held in memory of those two farmers, Rashed Khan Menon said, “We are depriving farmers of water. We are not initiating any step for proper management of water. The reason for that is people, involved with planning, have no connection with the public or the realty.”

Workers Party president also said thousands of acres of paddy fields in Kishoreganj and Sylhet region get damaged due to flash floods every year. Mismanagement and corruption are the causes behind that.

Crops are getting ruined every year because of the cracks on the dams constructed by Water Development Board, he added.

Workers Party general secretary Fazle Hossain Badsha alleged that Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) is failing to play a significant role in water-supply management. And, because of that, an incident like two farmers committing suicide occurred.

The nepotism, irregularities and corruption that exist on every level of BMDA, is liable for this, he added.

Association for Land Reform and Development executive director Shamsul Huda said the interests of ethnic minority, women and marginal people are not mentioned anywhere on the water act. So, the state will never take responsibility of these deaths.

A written statement of Sanjib Drang, general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum was read out in the discussion. In that statement he demanded inclusion of representatives of ethnic minority and marginal farmers in the local and regional committees on agriculture and to rearrange the BMDA.

Among others, Mahmudul Hasan, president of Jatiya Krishak Samity and Nazrul Islam, joint general secretary of Bangladesh Khet Mojur Union were present at the discussion.