Dhaka: Bangladesh`s 1.5 million Dalits are seeking recognition for the menial work they do and also a better deal for their children.
The Dalits were brought to present-day Bangladesh by the British rulers in 1835 from India`s Kanpur and Nagpur cities.
Community leaders say that although they educate their children, they are not given jobs because of their identity as Dalits.
Krishnalal, chairperson of the Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad, said at a conference here Tuesday: "We keep the city clean and for that occupation we are considered untouchables."
"Our children receive formal education, but they do not get jobs because of their identity as Harijans," The Daily Star quoted him as saying.
He received support from social organisations, human rights bodies and NGO speakers who called for creating alternative job opportunities for them.
They called on the Dalits to send their children to schools and prepare them for the future.
The Dalit leaders urged the government to reserve 80 percent of cleaning jobs for the community in city corporations and government offices as well as providing them basic rights enshrined in the constitution.