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Schoolhouse looted in Bangladesh's southwest
Publication Date : 13-02-2013
A group of villagers dismantled a tin-roofed government primary school in Dumki Upazila in the south-western district of Patuakhali on Monday, following a dispute with the managing committee over the shifting of the institution from an erosion-prone area to a safer place.
Visiting the school on Tuesday, Abdur Rashid Gazi, chairman of the managing committee of the Rajganj Government Primary School, explained that over 200 people of the South Pangashia village, led by one Alauddin Mollah, had come to the Rajganj village in two trawlers at around 8 am.
They proceeded to dismantle the school and even took away its roof, forcing at least 300 students to attend classes under a makeshift tin-shed.
Mohammad Nasir Kazi, a member of the managing committee, subsequently filed a case with the Speedy Tribunal in Patuakhali, accusing over 150 people, including Alauddin Mollah, of the attack.
The court asked the officer-in-charge (OC) of the Dumki Police Station to treat the case as an FIR (first information report) and submit a report on the matter after investigation.
Locals said the primary school was built on 0.41 acres of land donated by Tufan Mollah of Rajganj village about 90 years ago. After independence, the school, the only one in Pangashia union, comprising Rajganj and South Pangashia villages, became nationalised.
But due to erosion caused by the river Paira, the school was shifted several times to different places in the village and Mollah's family and relatives had donated land for this purpose.
On January 24 in 2010, Gazi had sent a letter to the Dumki Upazila Education Officer, urging him to shift the school to a new place to save it from the onslaught of the river. In reply to the letter, the education officer said they would shift the school if someone came forward to donate a land.
Later, five villagers donated 0.33 acres of land through a registered deed.
The Upazila Nirbahi Officer (chief executive of the upazila) and the Upazila Education Officer visited the land donated by the villagers and decided to build a new school there.
Alauddin's relatives Fazlul Haque Akond, Majed Akond, Abdul Hadi Akond and Abdur Rob Akond also donated 0.33 acres of land at South Pangashia village the same year and wanted to shift the school to the village.
On May 2 last year, the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) took up a 5.18 million Bangladeshi taka project under the Primary Education Development Programme (DPE-3) to build a school-cum cyclone shelter on the land. It also finalised the contractor selection process.
Alauddin filed a petition with a Patuakhali court On May 29 last year, seeking injunction on the construction work of the school. After hearing, the court rejected the petition on September 27 the same year.
Contacted, Alauddin said he and his associates wanted to shift the school on the land which they donated in 2010, in their village.