Despite a High Court restriction ordering authorities concerned to halt the demolition of a century old laboratory building in Khamarbari area,
A century-old building in Khamarbari, Dhaka, which housed the first research laboratory of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), has been demolished despite a restriction imposed by the High Court on Wednesday.
There are complaints that the demolition process of the historic structure was sped up after the court imposed the restriction.
The workers who were tasked with the demolition claimed that parts of the building had already been knocked down on October 27-28.
“We took permission of every officials concerned, including the officials of Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Department of Archaeology and Rajuk,” he said.
Asked about the writ petition to stop the demolition, he said: “The demolition was facilitated under open tender. If a writ is filed after the demolition of a building, what can be done?”
On the other hand, lawyer Ashik Al Jalil, who filed the writ, said: “The court gave a verbal order to halt the demolition of the building until a verdict was issued. Only 20% of the building had been demolished at that time. The office of the attorney general was also informed about the stay on demolition. Yet, it was knocked down in the next two days.”
Asked whether this incident qualified as a contempt of court, the lawyer said the matter would be brought up in the next hearing.
He further said there would be an inquiry in the next hearing on why the demolition of the building was sped up.
Meanwhile, responding to a query, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said by the time his office had gotten in touch with the officials concerned, the building had already been demolished.
“The court contacted one of my subordinates and directed the person to inform the officials concerned not to demolish the historic building until further notice,” he told Bangla Tribune. “My subordinate did contact them, but said officials claimed that the building had already been demolished as it was facing a serious risk of collapse.”
Environmentalist organisation Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA) Chairman Abu Naser Khan, who had been protesting the demolition, said: “We must preserve our heritage. When they started demolishing the historic lab building in Khamarbari, we protested. But the demolition was carried out anyway.”
He added that an investigation should be launched to identify those who facilitated the demolition, as the building was a 118-year old and was a historical heritage.
Eminent architect Mobasher Hossain also vehemently protested the demolition.