Historic courthouse must be preserved
It is saddening to see Darul Adalat, known as Chattogram's first colonial court, dilapidated due to lack of conservation efforts. The courthouse stands on a hilltop adjacent to the Government Haji Muhammad Mohsin College, a reputable educational institution in Chattogram. The building – whose exact date of founding remains disputed – is unique in its architectural traits that incorporate both Mughal and Western styles. It is magnificent not only because of its historical significance, but also because of its architectural beauty, and thus warrants proper care and preservation.
The lack of protection and preservation of Bangladesh's archaeologically significant structures has come to the fore repeatedly over the years. Historically valuable buildings have been demolished in Old Dhaka with support from powerful locals, disregarding the laws protecting them. Recently, another attempt was taken to destroy the natural beauty of the Central Railway Building (CRB) area in Chattogram, which was later averted due to massive public pressure. It is difficult to mount that kind of movement every time there is an attempt on the existence of a historically significant site. The government, therefore, must be proactive in protecting these heritage sites and not let any forces destroy them.
Unlike other divisional headquarters, Chattogram does not have a divisional museum. The building can serve the purpose of housing that museum.
However, in the case of Darul Adalat, it is not exactly about the exceeding interest in it, but in the lack thereof. No government agency seems to be willing to take up the task of protecting and preserving this site of cultural heritage. Officials of the Department of Archaeology in Chattogram last visited it in 2013 and wrote to the director general of the agency to protect the building, declaring it a heritage site, but no progress has been made on that front. Another report was submitted to the head office to protect the building in 2019, according to a report published in this daily, but nothing came out of it either.
The regional director of the Department of Archaeology in Chattogram said that a recommendation to protect the building has been sent from the department to the cultural affairs ministry. It is yet to be seen what outcome, if any, comes out of it. The building's location, space, and historical nature suggest that, if repaired and preserved correctly, it can come to great use of the city. Unlike other divisional headquarters, Chattogram does not have a divisional museum. The building can serve the purpose of housing that museum. It does not make sense to keep such a building unpreserved, and unused. We call upon the authorities to ensure collaboration within departments and ministries to protect Darul Adalat and put it to use for public good.