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Dhaka Tribune

Stranded Pakistanis call for an end to eviction until rehabilitation

They also demanded the authorities to ensure uninterrupted power supply, and security in all the camps

Update : 24 Oct 2019, 08:37 PM

Stranded Pakistanis General Repatriation Committee (SPGRC), an organization representing the Urdu speaking “Bihari” community, has demanded an end to eviction drives in all the camps across the country until a dignified rehabilitation is ensured for them.

SPGRC came up with the demand in a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Thursday.

SPGRC leader Harunur Rashid said more than half a million people of their community have been living in 70 camps in 13 districts for the last 46 years. 

He also demanded the authorities to ensure uninterrupted power supply, and security in all the camps.

Mentioning the prime minister's assurance of rehabilitation made in 2015, the SPGRC leader said they have been requesting the government for allotment of plots instead of flats.

He also demanded removal of names of its leaders, and camp residents from the case filed against them by police, after the clashes at Geneva Camp in Dhaka's Mohammadpur area on October 5. 

The SPGRC leader demanded the police administration to take action against those who turned the peaceful demonstration into a violent clash on that day.. 

On October 5, dozens of people including law enforcement members were injured in intermittent clashes between police, and the Urdu speaking residents at Geneva Camp in Mohammadpur, over the demand for uninterrupted supply of electricity.

“Since the incident, the camp residents, and the SPGRC leaders are being harassed by police,” Harun said.

He urged the government to take steps so camp residents can lead a peaceful life.

At the press conference, SPGRC’s General Secretary Shawkat Ali said although they are now Bangladeshi citizens, they are still living in the camps provided by the government in 1973 with the facilities of free electricity, and water supply. 

"If the government rehabilitates us, we will start paying all kinds of utility bills," he added.

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