On Thursday, a Rajuk mobile court fined the organization for operating in a residential area and ordered them to vacate the premises
Human rights group Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) has expressed deep concern about Rajuk’s (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha) mobile court drive that fined and ordered the organization to leave its Lalmatia office within two months.
"Such a drive against a rights body is a matter of serious concern and worries ASK," Sheepa Hafiza, ASK executive director said. "The court threatens the existence of all non-profit, service oriented, development and rights organizations as this will make them shrink their overall activities.”
She said this in an emergency press briefing held at its Lalmatia office in Dhaka Friday.
Earlier on Thursday, a Rajuk mobile court fined the organization Tk2 lakh for operating in a residential area and ordered them to vacate the premises in two months.
It also demolished part of its garage that was constructed flouting Rajuk's approved plan.
The mobile court also asked officials of the organization why they were running an office in a residential area.
Responding to which, ASK officials said they run their office maintaining all the conditions and agreements put forth for a tenant.
According to ASK, they have been carrying out human rights activities in Bangladesh since 1986 and their registration with the NGO Affairs Bureau has the Lalmatia office address.
"The mobile court fined us under the Building Construction Act 1952, which is directly related to the owner or construction firm of the building, but ASK is nothing but a tenant here. Thus, this law does not apply to us," Hafiza added.
She claimed that during the drive, when this issue was raised to Rajuk's mobile court, the magistrate threatened to seal ASK's office and arrest its officials, adding that despite repeated requests, they (ASK) was not provided with a copy of the order.