'Slaves of the sea'
The long-forgotten Jaladas community and their need for policy inclusion

Mamun Rashid, Mohammed

Publisher:  Inter Press Service: News Agency
Date Written:  06/01/2019
Year Published:  2019  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23258

Due to socio-econimical, political, and geographical reasons, the Jaladas community has been negelected and they are vulnerable. Relevant sectoral policies enacted by the government of Bangladesh would address these issues.




The fisheries sector of Bangladesh contributes 3.69 percent to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and fish accounts for 60 percent of national animal protein consumption. The sector also plays an important role in rural employment generation and poverty alleviation. Traditionally, low-caste Hindus have been engaged in the fishing profession. The Jaladas (slaves of the sea) belong to the Hindu fisherfolk community which is made up of caste-bound people. In most cases, they live in segregated paras which are localities within a village. The high-caste Hindu and the Muslim aristocracy and gentry carefully avoid any social mingling with them. Traditional fishing communities, which mainly comprise Hindus, are being put under pressure by incoming Muslims who have taken up fishing as their profession. The newcomers are either self-employed or find employment as labourers. The majority of Muslims opt for fishing due to population pressure, economic constraints in agricultural sector, and adverse effects of climate change.

Even though they have been in the fisheries sector for generations, they do not have a voice when it comes to policies and laws. Furthermore, they are not well-informed about clauses of the fisheries law although they are punished under this law.


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