The dilapidated 'Neel Kuthi' in Jhenaidah (top), local activists form a human chain demanding restoration of the historic structurePhoto: STAR
In 1847, construction of a 'Neel Kuthi' at Hat Khalishpur Bazar at in Jhenidah, by the Kapotakkho River was completed. The English indigo planters used this structure as a stronghold and forced the farmers of East Bengal to produce "neel" (indigo). Those who did not comply were tortured. Certain rooms in the now dilapidated Kuthi witnessed the torture.
According to Abdul Mannan, a local trader, "This Kuthi was used as the C.O. office in 1956-'57 and 1983-'84." He added that it was used as a Union Tafsil Office from 1984 to 2002.
There are around 90 fully-grown mango trees around the Kuthi. The Bir Srestha Hamidur Rahman Museum is also in the vicinity. Locals demand that this historic site be developed into a tourist attraction.
Hundreds of people of the area recently formed a human chain and demanded renovation of the historic site. Chairman of Bangladesh Paribesh Bachao Andolon, Abu Nasser Khan and Kamal Pasha Chowdhury, coordinator of the organisation joined in this human chain.
The activists said that though this crumbing edifice bears witness to the oppression and torture of the locals during the Raj, it is historically significant. It should be preserved for our future generations.