After Selina Hayat Ivy Rahman, another Awami League leader MP Shah Alam has been accused of committing land jihad on Hindu-owned properties. The incident has surfaced from Banaripara Upazila Sadar of Barisal where decedents of martyred intellectual Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta have alleged that their land was seized and included in the Banaripara Girls Secondary School premises in the presence of the Barisal-2 constituency’s MP who is also the chairman of the school management committee.
This school was built on the land that belonged to martyred Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta and his cousin Prafulla Kumar Guha. On the afternoon of Sunday, January 2, the MP took possession of five percent of the land which is recorded in the name of late Prafulla Kumar Guha’s sons Anup Kumar Guha and Pallab Kumar Guha. This land was situated next to the school. Anup Kumar, who tried to prevent the grabbing of the land, alleged that MP Shah Alam had also threatened him in multiple ways.
Speaking to Bangladeshi daily Prothom Alo on Monday, January 3, Anup Kumar Guha said, “We two brothers had received 13 percent of the land next to the girls’ school as ancestral property. The local freedom fighters had asked for some of this land to build a Muktijoddha Complex; we agreed. In 2021, the government acquired eight percent of that land for this purpose. We had an old building on the remaining five percent of the land which was being used as a children’s kindergarten called Redson. It was fenced with tin and also had a signboard at the front with our names as owners.”
He further adds, “Yesterday, at around 4:30 PM, MP Shah Alam along with his people vandalized the tin fence of our property. He also tore down the walls of the girls’ school, took our land inside the school premises, and secured it with a new tin fence. After we received this news, we went to the spot and tried to stop the MP from occupying our land. But the MP threatened us in many ways at that time and said that we have no land here. He then took possession of our land, enclosing it with a tin fence. Today, the kindergarten building on that land is being demolished.”
Anup Kumar Guha also shared that when his father was alive, there was the Banaripara Sadar Union Parishad in that building. After the development in Banaripara municipality, the Ministry of Local Government issued a circular pronouncing that that land belonged to them. He has filed a writ petition in the High Court against the circular. After reviewing his application the High Court issued a stay order on the land. Anup also said that he was planning to file a written complaint with the deputy commissioner the next day.
When contacted, in his defense MP Shah Alam told Prothom Alo, “I am not a person who will occupy a land. That land belongs to the Union Parishad. In 1986, Anup’s father had issued a fake decree and taken the land near the main gate of Zamituku School in his name. Now teachers and parents want the land to be included within the school’s premises. The question of the safety of the school also arises here. If they are the real owners of the land, the school administration will pay them as per its market value.”
The MP also alleged that though Anup claims to be a relative of martyred Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta, he is not a relative of that family. He also asserts that he was on the scene for just a few minutes and rubbished the allegations of threats leveled against him by Anup.
But, contradicting Alam’s statements, Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta’s daughter Meghna Guhathakurta took to Facebook to announce that Shah Alam had indeed grabbed her ancestral land.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Meghna revealed, “Yesterday afternoon at 4.30 Barisal-2 MP. Shah Alam (Banaripara-Wazirpur) has taken possession of five percent of our land under the garb of using it for the girls’ school. That land has a market value of crores of Taka. He is currently the President of the Managing Committee of Banaripara Girls School. From this part of our land, we have already given eight percent to the government for building the Banaripara Muktijoddha Complex and DC, Barisal has acquired this eight percent land on behalf of the government. The five percent of the land (grabbed by Alam) was on the east side of this land, and had paved walls on three sides, had 30-16 feet construction with a roof and tin fence on the other side. That construction was also taken down between yesterday and today and was occupied by the MP. When I tried to stop him he said he asked me to leave and repeatedly said he would hit me. When I started taking pictures of the occupation and demolition, he snatched my mobile phone, and with his people he deleted the pictures.”
She also furnished the details of this five percent land stating it as part of the 525 mark of Khatian No. 259 in Banaripara Mouza No. 42. The record owner of land:
- Anup Kumar Guha,
- Pallab Kumar Guha.
This brings to the fore yet another horrid episode of powerful Muslim personalities being accused of strong-arming the defenceless minorities and trying to occupy their properties.