Writ petitions filed against Suhrawardy Udyan tree felling

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:16, May 09,2021


Two writ petitions were filed on Sunday seeking a High Court directive to the government to stop tree felling at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka to construct restaurants, shops and walkways there.

The bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice SM Maniruzzaman is scheduled to hear on May 19 a writ petition jointly filed by five green organisations and architect Mubassher Hossain, one of the petitioners Syeda Rizwana Hasan told New Age.

The five organisations are Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Ain O Salish Kendra, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Nijera Kori, and Association for Land Reform and Development.

The other petition was filed by two Supreme Court lawyers Mahbubul Islam and Ripan Barai.

The two lawyers also sought a contempt of court ruling asking the liberation war affairs secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Public Works Department chief engineer Md Shamim Akhter and chief of architects Mir Manzur Rahman to explain why a proceeding of contempt of court would not be brought against them for the tree felling and the construction of a road inside Suhrawardy Udyan in violation of five directives issued by the High Court on July 6-7, 2009 to protect the historic place.

The bench of Justice Mamnoon Rahman and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman is likely to hear the contempt petition in the current week, the contempt petitioner’s lawyer Manzill Murshid said.

Manzill Murshid told in the contempt petition that the High Court in 2009 issued a five-point directive that included the removal of all kinds of existing structures from the Suhrawardy Udyan.    

The court issued the directives after disposing of a writ petition filed by historian Muntassir Mamun and Sector commander Major General (retd) KM Shafiullah in 2009 seeking a directive to protect the Suhrawardy Udyan.

The petitioners contended that the historic places of Suhrawardy Udyan had been distorted and damaged by constructing various structures on it.

They said, ‘The state shall adopt measures for the protection against disfigurement, damage or removal of all monuments, objects or places of special artistic or historic importance or interest’ as Article 24 of the constitution stipulates.

Syeda Rizwana Hasan, the lawyers for the five green organisations and the architect told New Age that the writ petition was filed on Sunday as the government was destroying the environment and the beauty of the historic places for the construction of a commercial restaurant and a walkway in the name of development.

She said that the green organisations would have no objection to the monuments dedicated to the memories of the liberation war in Suhrawardy Udyan and trees can be cut if required for such constructions, but no tree felling will be allowed for the construction of structures other than those monuments.

The writ petitions were filed amid the ongoing protests to protect the Suhrawardy Udyan from encroachment by people intent on constructing a restaurant, a road by felling several trees as the symbol of the liberation war stands here.

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