Fifty reputed citizens have demanded the withdrawal of a circular issued by the information ministry asking the media and the civil society not to use the word "adivasi" to mention the ethnic minorities.
The eminent citizens made the call in a joint statement on Saturday.
In a circular issued on 19 July, the ministry asked the media to avoid the use of the word "adivasi" in different programmes, discussions and talk-shows that will be aired on the occasion of International Indigenous Peoples' Day on 9 August.
According to the statement by the eminent citizens, the circular is unconstitutional and amounts to contempt of the court.
The constitution of the country clearly mentioned that if any controversy or disagreement arises about any section or subject of the constitution, only the Supreme Court can give its interpretation. And in a judgment, the Supreme Court had given an observation that there is no legal bar to the use of the word "adivasi", the statement reads.
It also stated that the circular is actually based on and circulated as a copy of an intelligence agency circular.
The eminent citizens include noted human rights activist Sultana Kamal, ALRD Chairperson and Nijera Kori Coordinator Khushi Kabir, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, human rights activist Dr Hamida Hossain, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, renowned economist Dr Abul Barakat, Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar, Executive Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation Shahin Anam, Chief Executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association Syeda Rizwana Hasan, academics Geeti Ara Nasreen and Robayet Ferdous.