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Shillong: The Uttar Purba Bangla Sahitya Sabha, a Bengali literary organisation of the Northeast, on Saturday expressed concerns over Bengali students not opting for their mother tongue in education.

In a statement, it urged parents to encourage their kids to take up Bengali in school.

The organisation, which held its annual meeting in Shillong on Friday, discussed various issues relating to the Bengali language and Bengali identity in the region.

Among the delegates who attended the meeting were writers, poets, intellectuals, journalists, professors and lawmakers. They dwelt upon the state of Bengali literature in the region.

Maintaining that Bengalis were an integral part of the Northeast, the Uttar Purba Bangla Sahitya Sabha said the 1.5 crore Bengalis of the region were indigenous inhabitants of the undivided Assam and migrated to the peripheral hill areas long before the British had arrived.

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It was painful to dub all Bengalis as Bangladeshis, the statement said, resolving to work in tandem with the other communities towards harmonious progress, and protection of all identities and cultures in the region.

A 21-member coordination committee was formed to a fulfill the prime objective of the body — to give fillip to the use of the Bengali language and create fraternal liaison with other literary organisations of the region, it said.

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