Working residents of Dhaka who live by themselves formed a human chain in the capital on Friday to protest alleged discrimination by landlords and to demand the mandatory allocation of flats in all residential complexes in the city.
Gathering under the banner Bangladesh Mess Organization (BMO), the demonstrators congregated in front of the National Press Club Friday morning to press home their demand to be able to rent flats without hassle.
Speaking to reporters during the demonstration, the BMO leaders complained about the troubles that single, independent tenants face when trying to find a place to live in the capital city.
They said men and women from all walks of life come to Dhaka from all over the country – particularly the rural areas – to pursue higher studies or in search of work.
Those who move to Dhaka by themselves typically find accommodation in a student hostel, a working hostel, or an officers' mess.
However, whenever these tenants try to rent a flat in a residential flat complex in the city, in most cases they are turned away by the landlords or building owners simply because they are unmarried or live alone, or both.
“This is a discriminatory attitude towards single working people,” one of the leaders said.
Marching under the slogan “Dhaka city – three years of election; city dwellers are upset”, the demonstrators put forward a list of 13 demands.
These included the mandatory allocation of places for single tenants in every flat complex in Dhaka, regular police inspections in such buildings to ensure peace and security, and initiatives to encourage flat/residential building owners to rent out to single, independent tenants.
Other proposals included the formulation of a mess rental guideline, appropriate measures to prevent criminal activities in messes, and proper treatment of mess tenants by landlords.
The human chain was organized by BMO founder Md Akhtaruzzaman Ayatullah, and members Syed Akhtar Niazi, Nayan Mridha, Liton and Momen Mehedi, among others.