Stop construction of Kalabagan Police Station at Tetultala Playground

Photo: Prabir Das

“>



Photo: Prabir Das

Environmental organizations today called on the government to reverse its decision to build Kalabagan Police Station on the Tetultala playground and keep it open to all.

Environmental activists have demanded a fair investigation into the detention of Syeda Ratna, a community leader trying to save Tentultala Playground, and her 17-year-old son and bring those involved in the incident to justice.

They also urged the government to ensure the safety of Syeda Ratna, her family, including her son, and other residents protesting to protect the playground.

Syeda Rizwana Hasan addresses a press conference at DRU on April 25, 2022. Photo: Mostafa Yousuf

“>



Syeda Rizwana Hasan addresses a press conference at DRU on April 25, 2022. Photo: Mostafa Yousuf

Leaders of at least 12 organizations including Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Nijera Kari, Nagorik Udyog and Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Goshthi made the demand during a press conference held today at Dhaka Reporters Unity.

Photo: Prabir Das

“>



Photo: Prabir Das

On Sunday, April 24, 2022, Kalabagan Police arrested Syeda Ratna, who led protests to save Tetultala Playground in Dhaka, along with her son Mohammad Isha Abdullah yesterday morning.

They were released around 13 hours later after pledging not to stage a protest to save the Tetultala playground.

“The police could have arrested her after filing a complaint if they thought she had broken a law… But the police simply cannot randomly arrest someone on their whims and neither can they arrest a minor and keep him locked up,” Syeda said. Rizwana Hasan, Managing Director of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela).

Mentioning the detention of Ratna, accused of creating obstacles to government duty, Rizwana asked: Is building a police station on a playground a government job? Is picking up a woman and her son, who is underage, for protesting to save the playground a government job?”

“We don’t think it’s government work. There’s no possibility of legalizing illegal activities in the name of ‘government work,'” she said.

“There are a lot of abandoned houses in Dhaka where they can build police stations. Our country is densely populated and hence its capital city, which still tops the list of unlivable cities in the world. It will be suicide if the lands of games are removed,” Rizwana said.

“Where will the local children play? Can the government respond? Or will the children just play games on computers?” – she asked.

Iqbal Habib, co-secretary of Bapa, said in the proposed Detailed Area Plan (DAP), that Tetultola Playground is not designated as a Playground. But in Sub-Area 17 (Dhanmondi, Zigatola , Kalabagan and Kathalbagan), it is proposed to keep enough open spaces for the areas.

According to the law on the conservation of playgrounds, open spaces, parks and bodies of water, no one can alter the characteristics of a playground, said Habib, adding that the place was used as a playground. games for a long time and that modifying its characteristics would be illegal.

A protest rally was held at the Tetultola playground in the afternoon

Syeda Rizwana Hasan addresses a press conference at DRU on April 25, 2022. Photo: Mostafa Yousuf

“>



Syeda Rizwana Hasan addresses a press conference at DRU on April 25, 2022. Photo: Mostafa Yousuf

According to a 2014 High Court judgment, there is a specific directive for the DC office to take action against any encroachment on open spaces or playgrounds, but the office does not take any action in this situation, said activists.

On January 31, the Dhaka Deputy Commissioner’s Office handed over the playground land to the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) to set up a facility for the Kalabagan Police Station, which is currently located in a rented location at the 30 North Road.

Amid a dearth of open space in the capital, this is yet another example of how city dwellers continue to be deprived of playgrounds and parks.

For several months, local residents have been demonstrating with the demand to keep it as it is for the good of the children.

Over the years, the playground of Tetultala, which covers about a bigha of land, has been used in many ways. It has been used as a playground, Eidgah and place of janaza.

Harold B. McConnell