Mamunur Rashid, Ottawa
Members of the Bangladeshi community in Montreal led by the Save Bangladesh International, Global Environmental Concern and the International Farakka Committee (Canada Chapter) on Monday last paraded a long march to Ottawa protesting India's move to construct Tipaimukh Dam on Barak River.
They went at the Parliament Hill with a slogan "Cholo Cholo Ottawa Cholo" to demonstrate devotion to their motherland. The group first marched from Montreal on foot for a while then by transportation reached the Parliament Building.
The group began marching on the Parliament Hill from the location of the flame to the main building and the slogan on the placards read, "India Stop Building Dams", "India, Where is your Spirituality", "How can dam building be peaceful"? "Share Ganges water", "Stop building Tipaimukh Dam", "Save Sylhet", "Dam building is destroying the humanity", "India, be benevolent to your neighbor".
Addressing the rally near the flame in front of the Parliament building conference organiser Mamunur Rashid of the 'Save Bangladesh International' said, "India being known globally as a peace-loving country should practice what it preaches. Building dams over the Ganges, Tista and now Tipaimukh is not helping to promote peace in the region.'
Fazlee Elahi one of the organisers said, "India's unilateral action to building dams is to make Bangladesh a dependent state through desertification. Through this India is increasing shifting away from being a peaceful nation to its path to aggression."
Dr. Bahar, spokesperson for the 'Save Bangladesh International' said, "We are not against India or against Indian people but we are against India's ruling Congress Party's stated policy of dam building which Nehru called India's new temples."
Faisal Chowdhury cautioned that India's deceitful initiative is going to hurt Bangladesh.India as a big power in the region rather should work responsibly for regional harmony, he said.
The meeting was told that India is ignoring Bangladesh's and the international environmental group's concerns. Bangladeshis in Bangladesh and in abroad should continue to fight, and should keep up the pressure at home and abroad through demonstration and protests against India's destruction of eco-system of the region.
Some South Asians and some Canadian Friends of Bangladeshi members also joined in the demonstration in Ottawa.
The demonstrators also spoke with the representative of Canadian Prime Minister and informed them that India is adamantly going ahead with the plan even by ignoring expert claims that there is an increased risk of Tipaimukh dam failure due to its location in a high risk earthquake zone and in case of such a failure, the projected dam would be a tsunami like disaster for Bangladesh's eastern region.
The demonstrators sought help from the Canadian government to help mediate to settle this serious international issue that concerns the lives of millions of people.