Cultural belt on cards to protect heritage | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 15, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 15, 2010

Cultural belt on cards to protect heritage

International Mother Language Institute. Photo: Shawkat Jamil

The government is planning to establish a "cultural belt" at Dhaka University and its adjacent areas for protecting all historical heritages and preserving information about Bangladesh, including the 1952 language movement and 1971 liberation war.
The feature or design of the cultural belt is yet to be sketched as this project is now at the preliminary stage, Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Abul Kalam Azad told The Daily Star recently.
“We have planned to make the cultural belt involving Central Shaheed Minar, Bangla Academy and Karzon Hall of Dhaka University, International Mother Language Institute and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy at Segunbagicha to uphold our culture and historical heritage,” said the minister.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given her consent to establish the belt and the government has already formed an expert committee in this regard.
Replying to a question, he said it has not been decided whether the structure of the cultural belt will be like a monorail or flyover.
Earlier in April this year, the ministry of cultural affairs submitted a statement to the High Court, informing that the government is planning to improve the environment of the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka by establishing a cultural belt for protecting its historical heritage and preserving information about it.
The statement was placed before the court in response to a rule in February this year. The court issued the rule following a writ petition filed as a public interest litigation (PIL) by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB).
Following that petition, the HC on August 24 this year issued eight directives upon the government to protect sanctity and dignity of the Central Shaheed Minar that was set up to maintain spirit of the language movement and pay tribute to its heroes.
It ordered the government to set up Shaheed Minars on the premises of all universities and other educational institutions across the country to show respect to the memories of the language heroes.
It also directed the authorities concerned to set up a museum along with a library at any side of the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka and take effective measures so that no unsocial activities take place there.
On February 9, the HC has issued a rule upon the government and the Dhaka University authorities to explain why they should not be directed to take appropriate measures to protect the sanctity and honour of the Shaheed Minar, and set up a museum on its premises so that the visitors can know the history of 1952 language movement.
The HRPB filed the writ petition as a PIL stating that the 21st February is observed every year as International Mother Language Day, and the sanctity and honour of the Central Shaheed Minar are maintained for that day only.
But other days throughout the year, the Shaheed Minar is used by the people in different ways, and its honour and dignity and the memories of the language heroes are undermined, said the petition.
In response to the HC rule, Abdul Wahab Khan, a deputy secretary of the ministry, submitted a statement to it on April 27 this year, saying that discussion with the Dhaka University authorities will be needed to implement the project as the university owns its land.
The university authorities are properly taking care of Shaheed Minar to protect its sanctity and honour, it said, adding that the government always helps the university in this regard.
The government is trying to uphold the historical heritage of the language movement and will take all necessary steps in future, it added.

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