N I Mahmud: Shrouded Bangladeshi nationals gather before Bangladesh Embassy showing protest over discriminating policies in a housing loan scheme announced for non-resident Bangladeshis. The list of the countries expats living in excludes France and some other EU countries while US, UK Middle East along with other parts of the world are normally declared eligible.
Members of European Probashi Bangladeshi Association EPBA gather yesterday, 13 July, wearing shrouds to express iconic protest over lack of Government attention on the issue of dead bodies of expats which causes unbearable situation for families in homeland often.
Placards with “We Demand Rights, not Mercy”, “Why Discrimination to Expats in France?”, “Don’t Neglect Expats in France” and various words were held by EPBA members in capital city of France, where an estimated 50 thousand of Bangladeshis currently live in.
Non-resident Bangladeshis have witnessed a kind of deception on the issue of the dead body, adds Abu Tahir, the office secretary of EPBA France.
“As expatriates, its our loyal and humanistic demand that created the movement. You know, we do it for the country consuming time and energy. Sadly when we die abroad, tragic situation occurs specially because of financial inability to send the coffins back from overseas. We struggle to manage every single case of death by drawing attention of people for contribution and donations which is often a fraction of the fund needed”- explains Mr. Abu Tahir.
Accusing the policy taken by the government to be discriminating and dividing is also a noted issue from the statements given by the activists. “Often we are being pushed to be divided and classified by unknown criteria. On the issues like loan and other facilities, nobody got the right to play discriminating plots” – utters the office secretary. He regrets that the government officials travelling abroad enjoy warmest welcome at any cost by the citizens living abroad while those citizens have no minimal value in the eyes of those leaders.
“We demand and believe that we will be able to draw attention of the government and finally we will succeed”- says Mr. Saiful Islam, the employment secretary of the organization.
“We stood here before the embassy to ask – we contribute to keep the flow of remittance going, then why our dead bodies won’t be taken back to the country with government expense?”- asks Mr. Motaleb, the assistant secretary general of EPBA.
Monowar Hossain Muzahid, another activist questions the reason behind excluding Bangladeshis in France from the loan scheme announced recently.
“The government of the Bangladesh pays no attention to its citizens living abroad, whose hardworking money is boosting the remittance of the country” – regrets Ali Akbar Sumon, another activist.
The procession was led by Ferdaus Karim Akhanjee, the social welfare secretary and chaired by Fharuq Khan, the president of EPBA France. At the end of the procession, the key personnel of the organization handed over a memorandum to the Embassy of Bangladesh drawing attention of the prime minister and the president by stating and explaining the demands and their importance.