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Panelists: 70% cases unresolved despite vested properties return law

  • Published at 09:34 pm June 21st, 2016
  • Last updated at 12:54 am June 22nd, 2016

Although the government in 2013 passed the Vested Property Return (second amendment) Bill 2013, several activities by different government organisations is delaying the implementation process of the law. Human rights activists on Tuesday warned that such delays will turn people against the government since many will go homeless if the act is not correctly implemented. The view was expressed at a press conference arranged by 10 organisations under the Coordinated Cell for Implementation of Vested Properties Return Act at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity office in Dhaka. The activists alleged that assistant commissioners (land) in district areas were marking lands as government property to avoid handing them over to their rightful owners. In this regard, Kajal Debnath of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council told the Dhaka Tribune that the press conference was arranged after he learned that district deputy commissioners were not handing over land even after the cases concerned had been resolved at local tribunals. Contradictory circulars issued on April 12 this year were hindering the implementation process, he added. The then Awami League government enacted the Vested Property Act, 2001. Another Awami League government passed the Vested Property Return (second amendment) Bill, 2013 on October 8, 2013, which discarded widely criticised schedule B list. Shamsul Huda, executive director of the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) said a circular was gazetted by the government on April 12 this year directing district deputy commissioners to solve act related problems. But it also published a circular asking for another scheduled list to include hidden land or land not included in the schedule A list. Shamsul said a section of government officials had previously tried to delay the implementation of the law by asking for a list of hidden land that they believed were under the names of those were not on the list. Subrata Chowdhury, referring to the Faridpur Sagor case, said the case was sent for a writ although it was solved by the tribunal appellate division. He said DCs would take this as an opportunity to delay the hand over procedure. Sultana Kamal, human rights activist and former caretaker government adviser, said although the nation got the act in 2011, some 70% of cases were yet to be solved. Kamal Lohani, president of the Vested Properties Act protest movement said they were hoping that the conference would draw the attention of the government to continuing problems.