Several thousand people from the Hindu community staged a token hunger strike in Narayanganj city on Wednesday in protest against the alleged grabbing of their ‘debottar’ property by Mayor Selina Hayat Ivy and her family members.
Under the banner of the District and Metropolitan Puja Celebration Parishad, the Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Unity Parishad and Civil Society, the protesters thronged Shaheed Minar at Chashara in the city.Later, they went on a hunger strike at 2:00pm and ended it at 5pm.
Earlier on November 11, the protesters gave a memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after holding a protest progarmme.
Meanwhile, representatives from local professional bodies expressed solidarity with the hunger strike, showing a unique example of non-communalism.
Expressing solidarity with the protest programme, about one and half a dozen councillors of Narayanganj City Corporation, leaders of four business organisations, freedom fighters of the District Muktijoddha Sangsad, leaders of the District Lawyers’ Association, Narayanganj Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (Swachip), Bangladesh Teachers’ Association, six journalist organisations, district and city Awami League, district and city Jatiya Party, district and city JASAD, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee and various professional organisations joined the programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Abu Hasnat Shahid Badal, general secretary of the Narayanganj District Awami League, said Mayor Ivy wearing Awami League uniform tarnished the image of the party by trying to grab Hindu property.
He also said Ivy has forgotten that Awami League is for the people and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is the last shelter of the people. Ivy must stand trial in the court of justice. It is painful for us to come down to the field against the ‘grabbing’ of a temple’s property.Advocate Khokon Saha, general secretary of the Narayanganj City Awami League, said, “I have never had to face communalism in my political and professional responsibilities.”
Expressing solidarity with the strike, Advocate Mohsin Mia, president of Narayanganj District Lawyers' Association, said the British pamphlet mentions this property as Debottar. Debottar property is not eligible for sale or transfer even under customary law or Hindu law.
“We’ve decided at a meeting of the District Bar Association that if they ask for our help, we will stand by them and provide legal aid,” he added.
Convener of the City Jatiya Party and Bandar Upazila Vice-Chairman Sanaullah Sanu said, “Mayor Ivy did not allow the heroic children (freedom fighters) of the nation to perform at the Shaheed Minar on the pretext of getting permission.”
“Today, he is accused of grabbing temple property. We strongly condemn it and we will resist it,” he added.
Chandan Shil, the district president of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, said, “Those who grab properties of temples and a mosque-madrasas are not fit to live in this Narayanganj. They will be thrown in a trash soon.”
Deepak Kumar Saha, president of the District Puja Celebration Committee, said, “The family of Mayor Selina Hayat Ivy wants to grab Zeus pond, the own property of Laxminarayan Ji Vigraha Mandir.”
“Mayor Ivy's mother, two brothers, uncle, aunt and relatives are among those who are trying to grab the property through fake documents.”
During the vote, Ivy went to the temple to show herself as a person close to the Hindu community. Now, her family members are trying to grab the temple's property, they said.
Earlier, Mayor Ivy’s father, late Ali Ahmed Chunkao, became the leader of the Awami League and used to bring Delwar Hossain Sayedee to the meeting during the tenure of Ziaur Rahman. War criminal Ali Ahsan Mujahid was the principal of Adarsha School and Chunkao grabbed and sold the school’s land to Jamaat leaders.