Dhanmondi playground in the capital. Photo: Star
Four environmentalists, sued for protesting occupation of Dhanmondi playground, received bail after surrendering before a court in the capital today.
The green activists face charges of entering Dhanmondi playground illegally and damaging construction work.
Surrendering before the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate MA Salam around 12:15pm, the four accused sought bail saying that they are respected persons in the society and the allegations brought against them are false.
Later, the magistrate granted their plea.
The accused environmentalists are: Mobassher Hossain, former president of Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB); Iqbal Habib, joint secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa); Kamrunnahar Dana, general secretary of Bangladesh Women's Sports Association; and architect Salma A Shafi.
Arifur Rahman, general secretary of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, lodged the case with Dhanmondi Police Station on April 18 accusing the four on charges of creating chaos near the “private property”.
The case was filed hours after the environmentalists entered the playground and staged demonstrations protesting "illegal occupation" of Dhanmondi playground by the club.
In the complaint, the club alleged that the environmentalists entered the playground forcibly and damaged construction work inside the boundary.
People of different walks of life protested the recent move to occupy the club which has long been the venue of sporting activities for the city dwellers.
The club authorities are constructing five courts – two for table tennis, two for badminton and one for basketball – on the playground.
Talking to The Daily Star today, Nurul Huda, former chairman of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) said the authorities have been constructing the courts without taking mandatory approval from the Rajuk, the city authority for approving public building construction.
The occupation of the playground continues also defying a 2011 High Court order that had asked the then Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) to reclaim the field from the club and reopen it for the public. The HC had given the DCC 15 days to implement its order which was delivered on March 15 that year, according to the leaflet.
The court came up with the order following a writ petition filed by the Bapa and the IEB in 2004.
The DCC then moved the Supreme Court with an appeal claiming that it could not reclaim the field, read the leaflet.
On May 27 last year, the Supreme Court asked the DCC to explain why it should not be charged with contempt of court.