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Friday, July 17, 2009

A report on successful seminar on “Vested Property and Endowed (Debuttor) Property: Constitutional and Human Rights of Minorities”

Picture (Courtesy HRCBM-Bangladesh): A collection of news clippings from various national dailies covering HRCBM's seminar on vested property act.

The seminar was jointly organized by Samprity Mancha and Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) titled 'Vested property and Endowed (Debuttor) property: Constitutional and human rights of the minority people’ at the Dhaka National Press Club on 16 July, 2009. Professor Ajoy Roy President of HRCBM chaired the seminar.
Two-keynote papers were comprehended / presented in this seminar. One was by the Secretary General of the Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) and ex-additional secretary Rabindranath Trivedi and the other was by Dr. Denish Dilip Dutta.
Secretary General of the Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) and ex-additional secretary Rabindranath Trivedi suggested the government for constituting a minority commission like 'Justice Rajendra Sachar Commission' in India for analyzing the socio-economic status of the Hindus in Bangladesh by his keynote.
Dr. Denish Dilip Dutta added some other points relating to survey policy of Vested Property after independence of Bangladesh, as Holly Sea before the liberation war, in his notepaper. He also pushed for harassment of Christian community and other minority community members by the Local Surveyors and Attestation Officers, writing in pencil the letters ‘V,P” on the porchas or related papers, and then ask some speed money to correct (erase) the same correction of math porchas for correction of a mistake that they had intentionally written in the paper.
Eminent economist Prof Abul Barakat expressed that the vested property act as an 'uncivilized law'. This law must be repealed/abolished to establish a secular, progressive, liberal democratic and welfare state as stipulated in the Vision 2021 of the present government. He said around 3.5 lakh bighas of land of minorities were grabbed by the landlord as the vested property even after enactment of the "Vested Property Return Act 2001 and 50 lakh minority people of Bangladesh have felt as victim to property grabbers. He suggested the government to amend the 'Vested Property (Restoration) Act' after consulting with the victims, researchers, economists, and law specialists and human rights organizations.
As the chief guest of this seminar Barrister Shafique Ahmed, minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs told that civilians started violating the constitution first introduced the martial law in the country after brutal killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Later, Ziaur Rahman in connivance with the then Chief Justice A S M Sayem destroyed the spirit of the secular constitution established through immense sacrifices of the people of the country. He said that there are four pillars of constitution, secularism is one of them, and Islam itself is a secular religion as it acknowledges rights of every citizen irrespective of their religious faith, culture, creed, and caste. He ruled out the statement of a section of politicians that the 1972 constitution is against Islam as one of the four pillars of the constitution. He said that restoration of the constitution of 1972 only depends on the decision of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, which is on an appeal filed by the BNP secretary general against the High Court order in 2005. The High Court in an order in 2005 nullified fifth amendments of the constitution, which ratified the proclamation of the martial law as well as all acts of the non-elected governments after 1975. He ensured that the government has sincere efforts for restoration of the 1972 constitution to consolidate the democracy to establish equal rights of every citizen. He also said about the negative attitude of the government lawyers for helping the victims appropriately and for that reason, the grabbers get court's verdict in favor of them.
He invited common recommendations from the members of the Hindu community to enact personal inheritance and marriage registration laws to establish of Hindu women rights.
He also requested to the organizers to arrange another seminar without delay on this crucial issues involving with the three or four ministers of Land, Religion, law and Home ministry.
Advocate Masuda Rehana Rozi, Asstt. General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad urged to the law minister to execute Hindu Marriage Registration Programme immediately and to ensure equal inherence rights of the Hindu Women to mitigate the untold miseries and sufferings of Hindu Women.
Ayesha Khanam, President of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, Aroma Dutta, and Executive Director, PRIP Trust, Columnist Syed Abul Maksud, Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu, MP, were present in this seminar and all the said eminent persons requested to Law Minister to constitute a minority commission immediately.
Mr. Kumar Birendra Nath Roy Chowdhury from Naogaon District, Mr. Nripendra Nath Das from Bagura District, Mr. Dilip Vadra, from Chittagong Jewelry Committee, Prof. Nilkanta Bepari, from Barisal, Mr. Debendra Nath Saha, from Sirajgong, Mr. Bivasendu Sarkar, from Sirajgong, Mr. Arun Chandra Das from Dinajpur, discussed about the present sufferings of the said district to the law minister and handed memorandums from district committee of HRCBM.
Adv. J.K. Paul, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Mr. Shuvash Baral, on behalf of Sree Sree Ramna Kali Mondir, Brahmacharia on behalf of World Hindu Federation delivered their grief and urged to the law minister to mitigate the sufferings of the minorities soon.
Dr. Sourav Shikder and Mr. Rubyet Ferdous facilitated the seminar. About 100 people were gathered to make this seminar successful.
It is worth mentioning, the news of the seminar was vividly exposed in print and electronic media.

HRCBM's Seminar on Vested Property Act: Efforts on to restore 1972 constitution

Picture (courtesy HRCBM-Bangladesh): HRCBM's seminar on Vested Property Act. From top left: Bangladesh Law Minister Barrister Shafiq Ahmed and HRCBM-Bangladesh's leaders Prof. Ajoy Roy, President and R.N. Trivedi, Secretary General. Top Right: Mr. R.N. Trivdei working through papers while Barrister Shafiq Ahmed is giving speech. Bottom: Panel of speakers including Barrister Shafiq Ahmed.
Report from The Daily star News
Efforts on to restore 1972 constitution

Says law minister
Staff Correspondent
The government is trying wholeheartedly to restore the constitution of 1972, and for that it is waiting for a positive verdict of the appellate division of the Supreme Court (SC) on the High Court's (HC) verdict on the fifth amendment to the constitution, said Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed at a seminar yesterday.
"The HC verdict declaring the fifth amendment illegal is now pending in the appellate division as BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delware Hossain appealed against the verdict. If the SC verdict goes in our favour then the constitution of 1972 would be restored automatically," he added.

The seminar titled 'Vested property and endowed property: Constitutional and human rights of the minority people' was organised by Samprity Mancha and Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities at the National Press Club in the city. Speaking as chief guest Shafique said, “There might be some difficulties to restore the constitution of 1972 through parliament and as such we are looking for the SC verdict.” He said the government is firmly committed to try the war criminals in a way which would be accepted internationally. The minister said the minority people would not have been deprived of their land if the main principles of the liberation war like secularism were not removed from the constitution.He alleged that the government lawyers do not help the victims properly and for that the grabbers get court's verdict in favour of them. Rabindranath Tribedi, secretary general of the Congress, presented a keynote paper at the seminar. He suggested the government to form a commission to recover the vested and endowed property.

Eminent economist Prof Abul Barakat said around 50 lakh minority people fell victim to property grabbers in the name of vested or enemy property. He suggested the government to amend the 'Vested Property (Restoration) Act' after consulting with the victims, researchers, law specialists and human rights organisations. Hasanul Haque Inu MP, Columnist Syed Abul Maksud and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad President Ayesha Khanam also spoke at the seminar.