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POST TIME: 11 December, 2019 01:23:43 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 December, 2019 12:13:39 PM
Govt not to raze religious sites along Dhaka rivers
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, Dhaka

Govt not to raze religious sites
along Dhaka rivers

The government has no plan at the moment to demolish the illegal religious structures and educational institutions built along the riverbanks around the city. Rather, these mosques, madrasas, and temples will be adjusted under a beautification programme, state minister for shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said yesterday. Chowdhury was addressing a view-exchange meeting regarding the eviction of religious structures and educational institutions at the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) headquarters.

A total of 113 religious structures and educational institutions were built without approval from the appropriate authorities along the banks of the Buriganga, Turag, Balu, Shitlakhya, and Dhaleswari.  Of them, 77 structures are mosques, madrasas, orphanages, and shrines (Mazar), five graveyards, one Eidgah, 14 schools and colleges, 13 bathing ghats, temples, and crematory ground for Hindus and three other types of structures.

“We won’t demolish the illegal religious structures alongside the riverbanks around the city. These religious structures will be beautified through proper architectural designs. The government will assist to beautify these structures,” Chowdhury said. The matter will be discussed with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he added.

“A sub-committee will be formed very soon after discussion with the home ministry, religious affairs ministry, and the Islamic foundation regarding these illegal religious

structures on how to adjust them,” the state minister said, seeking cooperation from all quarters in this regard.

The government is constructing 500 mosques across the country, he said. “A project will be taken if needed to beautify these mosques. Everything will be done on the basis of opinions of Islamic scholars,” he added.

All rivers across the country should have to be protected from encroachment and pollution, he said.

“It would be difficult to protect Bangladesh if the rivers are not protected. We can demolish the religious structures during eviction drives, but we don’t want to do so considering them as holy places for prayers. So, we want everybody’s participation in the fight to protect the country’s rivers from encroachment, pollution, and grabbing,” he added.

The state minister said that they have also held discussions with the Khatib of Baitul Mukarram, Mufti, and Islamic scholars regarding the illegal religious structures. The Islamic scholars have opined that there are rules on the places where mosques can be constructed. The state minister said the government has a plan to make the water of the Buriganga pollution free within the next 10-12 years.

Shipping secretary Abdus Samad, BIWTA chairman Commodore M Mahbub-ul Islam, river police DIG Atiqul Islam, Islamic scholar Hafej Abdur Razzaq, Ataullah Hafez, and deputy commissioners of Gazipur and Narayanganj districts, among others, also spoke on the occasion.

IK