Rights activists have requested journalists to work alongside them and investigate the involvement of corrupt officials who are hindering the course of justice
Rights activists have demanded the immediate implementation of the High Court’s directives regarding the Vested Property Return Act to ensure a true environment for humane development in Bangladesh.
They placed the demand during a press conference jointly organized by Bangladesh Hindu Bouddha Christian Oikya Parishad and Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad at the National Press Club conference lounge in Dhaka on Sunday.
Activists from Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Sommilito Samajik Andolon, Arpita Sampatti Ain Protirodh Andolan, Nijera Kori, Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), and Ain O Salish Kendra were present at the press conference.
“From 1965 to 2006, a total of 1.2 million Hindu households lost a total of 2.6 million acres of land, along with other belongings,” said Advocate Subrata Chowdhury, general secretary of Arpita Sampatti Ain Protirodh Andolan.
He proposed setting up autonomous exclusive tribunals to deal with the return of previously seized properties to their rightful owners.
The Vested Property Act have been widely used to discriminate against the Hindu minority in the country, the activists said.
The law was reformed in 2001 by the Awami League government to return properties to the original owners or their heirs.
The High court also ruled that listing any property as enemy or vested property after March 23, 1974, is illegal and directed all government officials to refrain from doing so.
Speakers at the press conference also said the prime minister's wishes for quick disposal of disputes over vested property were being obstructed by the civil and land administrations.
They claimed that despite an instruction from the Ministry of Law, deputy commissioners are stalling the return of such properties.
Advocate Sultana Kamal strongly condemned the conspiracy by all government parties, including law enforcement officials, blocking the implementation of the act.
“The law enforcement officials are unnecessarily delaying the implementation of the court's directives,” said Kajal Debnath of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad.
The speakers also requested journalists to work alongside them and investigate the involvement of corrupt officials who are hindering the course of justice in this regard.