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Illegal Land Grabbing and Corruption of District Government

 

Highlights

Introduction
About the Land/Schedule of the Suit-Land
My Claim
Physical Location of My Claim
Events Leading to this Situation and Those involved in the Illegal Land Grab
Advocate's Incompetence
Illegal Revision of Records-of-rights by SOB/DLRS
Current Occupiers
Local Government Corruption (Huts and Bazar Act)
Claim under Vested Property Legislation
Conclusion

 

Introduction

My name is Abu Bakkar and this website has been publisehd to expose Government corruption.  I have some land that has been forcefully and illegally taken over (possession) by land grabbers.  The local or district government administration are aiding and colluding with these land grabbers by helping them in any way they can. I will prove all allegations with irrefutable evidence.

 

About the Land/Schedule of the Suit Land

For your clarification and understanding I will summarise the events leading to this predicament.  The land in question falls in the mouza of Birkolosh, JL no. 282 in the union of Durgapasha, district of Sunamganj.  The concerned plot/dag numbers are 45, 71 and 318 (hereinafter referred to as “the suit land”), marked in green, see map/noksha in evidence A. The total area within each plot being 0.52 acre, 12.55 acre and 5.19 acre, respectively.

Table 1

 
Area per Plot in Acre
Descripiton
45
71
318
Total
Total Area of Plot
0.52
12.55
5.19
18.26
Government SA Katian no. 1
0.09
2.09
0.87
3.05
Hindu Zamindar DP Katian no. 3
0.46
10.46
4.32
15.24
Mutation Katian no. 144
0.30
8.70
0
9.00
My Claim with Dolil
0.36
9.54
0.90
10.80
My Claim under VP
0.08
1.80
0.76
2.64

Note: Data extracted from Evidence B, C, D, F and Z

 

Under the last settlement operation the suit land was recorded under the name of the government (SA katian no. 1 in evidence B) and the local Hindu zamindar of Kamarkhal (see DP katian no. 3 in evidence C).
The Government share of the suit land includes 0.09 acre, 2.09 acre and 0.87 between plots 45, 71 and 318 respectively. This was barren land (‘potit’) until the Government funded for and constructed a mud road on their portion of the suit land.
The Hindu zamindar’s share of the suit land consist of 0.46 acre, 10.46 acre and 4.32 acre between plots 45, 71 and 318 respectively. Before the land grab this was mostly fertile land used for cultivation and now a bazaar stands on a section of plot 71 while the remainder has been turned into barren land.

 

My Claim

My father Haji Ashkor Ali bought most of the suit land from the Hindu zamindar, see deeds of sale (X3) in evidence D. At the time of sale, the deed writers seemed to have entered the wrong plot number, in error, for one of the three plots. Within the 3 deeds they wrote 527 instead of 318. This is not an uncommon phenomenon and has been petitioned in the current lawsuit – evidence M.

Relevant tax has also been paid (evidence E) and Mutation carried out (evidence F) in order to show change of legal ownership. Although our mutation application managed to transfer 9.0 acre of the suit land (0.30 acre and 8.70 acre between plots 45 and 71 respectively) in my father’s name, our claim is for the full amount as sold by the Hindu zamindars and as stated in the deeds. Therefore our claim is 0.36 acre, 9.54 acre and 0.90 acre between plots 45, 71 and 318 respectively. This was also the area in our possession before the land grab.

 

Physical Location of my Claim

With regards to the physical location as to where my claim fall within the three plots, this is outlined on the deed of sale (evidence D) which states the boundaries and/or boundary marks of the suit land.
The Government has funded and constructed a mud road (sorok) on their share of the suit land.
With this in mind I have plotted the physical location/area of my claim for plot 71 in evidence G, which covers approximately 9.54 acres.
The Government mud road is indicated by pink and covers about 2.09 acres.
This was also the location where we had possession of our share of the plot prior to the land grab.
The remaining 0.92 acre of plot 71, belonging to the Hindu zamindar is on the south eastern side of the Government sorok.

 

Events Leading to this Situation and Those Involved in the Illegal Land Grab

Because I live in the UK with my family, local villagers (from my village, Burumpur and other nearby villages such as Amria, Holdarkandi, Birkolosh and Sridorpasha etc.) held meetings and formed a committee (hereinafter referred to as the “bazaar committee”). This bazaar committee consist of, but not limited to, local villagers, those that are well connected such as the elites, rich land owners, expatriates (NRBs) and the rich and wealthy etc.  The names of the initial land grabbers are available from evidence H, I & J. The bazaar committee then took forceful possession of a section of plot 71 next to the government earthen road (‘sorok’).  A bazaar, which they named Bangla Bazaar, was built out of mud/straw/tin-constructed shops that were then sold (via false/invalid deeds) by the bazaar committee to themselves and others like themselves. 
Meanwhile my father held a meeting with local people and the bazaar committee and objected to their plans.  The objections were that the land is crop bearing land, legally owned by us and that they should not go ahead with their plans because they do not have any legal rights to the land.  It was also emphasized that if they wanted to build a bazaar in our land, they should buy the land from us, which were all rejected by the bazaar committee. 
Fearing for his safety, my father returned to the UK and instructed my stepbrother, Dhon Miah to ask the Ward Chairmen to intervene. This was followed by my step-brother reporting the incidents to the local police station that also yielded no results (see evidence H for copy of the report).  At this point, my stepbrother was threatened by members of the Bazaar Committee.  My father then wrote a letter directly to the Sunamganj Police Station (see evidence I) summarising the events that had taken place, including the main people involved.  Without any positive outcome, my father came to Bangladesh and filed civil proceedings against those involved (see evidence J).  When my father returned to the UK, the vakil, advocate Abdul Salik had died and therefore the lawsuit stopped/stood pending. 

In the meantime, the Bazaar Committee researching on how to legitimise their illegal possession got their secretary - Abdul Goni to file a land claim suit in the Sunamganj district court.  Aware of these incidents and weaknesses, Monor Ahmed of Kamarkhal also filed a claim to part of the suit land in the Sunamganj district court. 
At this point my father and brother (Abul Bashar) came to Bangladesh and filed counterclaims against these two individuals (Abdul Goni and Monor Ahmed) and won the case (see evidence K). 
Abdul Goni had no legal claim to the suit land and as such could not substantiate his claim with any valid/legal documents. Monor Ahmed on the other hand had registered deed to part of the suit land. According to his deed, in evidence L, Monor Ahmed bought part of the suit land in 1978 from the same people as my father, yet my father’s deeds were from 1975. It is clear from this that my father’s deeds are valid and therefore my claim to the suit land.

Having failed at the courts, Monor Ahmed filed mutation review application at the Sunamganj Land/Revenue Office (evidence M). The idea was to strikeout my father’s name and get his own name inserted on the record books. As before, this failed due to being invalid and against the law.

Soon afterwards my brother took possession of some of the land and with the aid of labourers constructed pools of water (water bodies).  In order to discuss the situation, the bazaar committee arranged a meeting for my father and brother to attend.  At the meeting my father and brother were informed by the bazaar committee that the bazaar was built on government land at which point my brother argued that most of the suit land does indeed belong to us since we have all the relevant legal documents.  My brother also asked as to why the bazaar committee was preventing us from accessing our land.  Their reply was that the suit land did not belong to us.  Whilst the meeting was taking place, some members of the bazaar committee retook possession of the suit land by destroying the water pools constructed by my brother.  There was abuse and clear threats against my father and brother at the meeting and afterwards when my brother confronted them as to why they held a meeting with us and retook possession of the land by destroying the water pools.  My father and brother realised then that the meeting was a distraction to move my brother away from the suit land in order for the bazaar committee to take back possession of the suit land.

Thereafter, in order to keep/maintain our claim to the suit land alive and reclaim our land my father filed a lawsuit (‘bonton mamla’) against the (original) record holder of the suit land, the Hindu zamindar.  The lawsuit has progressed very slowly as can be seen in evidence N.  Upon appeal the judge decreed 6.71 acre in our favour. 

Advocate's Incompitence

Our advocate has been difficult, making our lawsuit insignificant and not acting in our best interest.  Ali Ahmod (our advocate) dishonestly including the Government and others as additional defendants to our lawsuit without our permission.  He was able to do this because we live in the UK and were unable to oversee the day-to-day running of the lawsuit.  My father has passed away and we are having difficulties changing our advocate.  Therefore I would like to emphasis that this lawsuit was just for ‘show’ and was filed in order to maintain our claim for the suit land.  We are of the opinion that the decree obtained under lawsuit filed against Abdul Goni and Monor Ahmed (see evidence K) has more significance with regards to our claim for the suit land. 

 

Meanwhile the bazaar committee proposed and collaborated with a rich non-resident Bangladeshi - Kwaz Ali (also known as Ruab Ali) from my village (village: Burumpur, PO: Amria, district: Sunamganj). They persuaded Kwaz Ali to buy Monor Ahmed’s invalid claim to the suit land. By this time Monor Ahmed had died, therefore his son Fokhor Uddin transferred the invalid claim by registered deed. This deed along with other related deeds can be seen in evidence O. The Bazaar Committee did this even though they knew that Monor Ahmed (along with Abdul Goni) had lost his claim to the suit land in the lawsuit filed at the district court (evidence K). But more importantly, they did this to ensure Kwaz Ali, being a rich expatriate from the United Kingdom would keep us busy so that they can carryout their survey and settlement operation without any interference from us. 
In 2002, Kwaz Ali submitted application at the Sunamganj district land office to amend the record books (photocopy of the petition filed by Kwaz Ali can be seen in evidence P). Kwaz Ali wanted my father’s name struck off from the record books and his own name placed in it. Being legally invalid and in addition to my step-brother, Dhon Miah’s counter petition (evidence Q), it was dismissed.
Kwaz Ali then took possession of some of the suit land.  My brother, Abul Bashar was in Bangladesh at the time and therefore objected.  Kwaz Ali, with the aid of local criminals/gangsters and their weapons threatened and forced my brother to retreat.  In return, my brother filed criminal proceedings against Kwaz Ali and his men – see evidence R.  

 

Survey and Settlement Operation

In the meantime, The Directorate of Land Records and Surveys (DLRS) started to conduct survey and settlement operation around my village.  Sala-uddin, the surveyor/amin responsible for the ‘maat zorif’ issued us 'maat forsa' (evidence S) for most of our land in Birkolosh mouza except the suit land, which were recorded under the name of the Bazar Committee and the Government.

When Sala-uddin came to carryout the ‘maat zorif’ of Birkolosh mouza, my brother Abul Bashar (who went to Bangladesh to oversee the survey and settlement operation of all of our land/whole estate) asked him about the suit land.  Sala-uddin requested evidence of our ownership and my brother submitted dolils (X3), tax receipts and mutation forsa etc. (as mentioned above in evidence D, E and F respectively).  Having inspected the documents, Sala-uddin enquired as to why others (bazaar committee) are occupying our land.  Sala-uddin was informed of the events leading to the illegal land grabbing of the suit land.  It was emphasised to Sala-uddin that the Bazar Committee have no legal documents to the suit land and that the main reason for the land grabbing was because we live abroad.  Furthermore Sala-uddin was informed that there were ongoing court proceedings for the suit land that have been going on for over the past 15 years.

Sala-uddin told my brother that he could not do anything about the suit land in question, that he will not issue a maat forsa for the suit land and that my brother has to take the matter up in court.  My brother persistently emphasised to Sala-uddin that as a government official he is duty bound to be just and show impartiality. And that we have legal ownership rights (title) to the suit land with legitimate documents, having paid relevant tax, records mutated to our name etc. and therefore should have the suit land recorded under our name.
Sala-uddin told my brother that there were too many people involved, including elites, rich/powerful land owners, expatriates and the well connected etc. and that he was threatened.  Sala-uddin also told my brother that if he was to record the suit land in our name, his life would be in danger.  Because of my brother’s insistence, Sala-uddin told my brother to meet and discuss the situation at a later date.  He stressed that once the situation settles down; he would try and record the suit land under our name at the next meeting. Sala-uddin took BDT 40,000 from my brother and told him to meet him in a few days.

After a week or so my brother was informed that Sala-uddin had left our village in secret having recorded the suit land under the name of the bazaar committee.  My brother went to the district survey and settlement office in Jamtola, Sunamganj and protested.  Officials present at the time informed my brother that since the maat forsa had already been issued; we should file disputes and take up the whole issue at the next stage of the survey and settlement operation - the attestation.  They explained that at the attestation we are to show our documents to the respective official and get the record-of-rights amended to our name.  My brother filed disputes as instructed.

Attestation

At the time of the attestation my brother sent his father-in-law (Abdul Lotif) to meet Ali Akkas (the attestation officer) at the Durgapasha union office.  Ali Akkas only attested the other plots of our land in Birkolosh (see evidence T).  When Abdul Lotif enquired about the disputed suit land, Ali Akkas informed him that a large sum of money (over BDT 5 laak) would have to be paid in order to amend the record-of-rights to our name.  The amount requested by Ali Akkas was too much, given the fact that the suit land is legally owned by us.  On this basis we did not pay and were therefore unsuccessful to correct/amend the records to our name.  There were rumours that the land grabbers paid over BDT 4 laak at the attestation.
Without any positive results I wrote to relevant government departments for assistance and intervention, evidence V shows their replies.

Disputes with Survey and Settlement Operation

I got a friend to file disputes on my behalf against the Bazaar Committee, evidence W show photocopies of receipt for these disputes. These are also the current occupiers of the suit land and therefore a list is provided in evidence W.
At the hearing of the filed objections I came to Bangladesh.  The Objection Hearing Officer was Mizanur Rahman Buiya who requested to inspect documents to my claim to the suit land.  Submitted for inspection were the original Hindu zamindars DP katian, my father’s deeds (X3), the mutation katian, tax receipt and the transcript of the current lawsuit ruling and that against Abdul Goni and Monor Ahmed etc. (all of which have been mentioned above and supplied with this letter as evidence). The Bazar Committee were not present at anytime during my meetings with Mizanur Rahman Buiya even though I requested their presence.  Mizanur Rahman Buiya enquired as to why others are occupying our land.  I summarised the events as mentioned above.  Having inspected the documents, Mizanur Rahman Buiya gave me a number of varied responses, the main responses given are summarised below:

To my query as to why my legitimately owned (suit) land was not recorded under my name, Mizanur Rahman Buiya responded that the Bazar Committee showed a document and claimed that we had lost a civil lawsuit against the Bazaar Committee.  I informed Mizanur Rahman Buiya that we did not lose the lawsuit but rather it was pending (evidence J) because our lawyer, advocate Abdul Salik had died.  I also informed him that my father filed a new ‘bonton mamla’ lawsuit (evidence N) on the suit land. And because only part of the suit land was ruled in our favour, we have appealed.  Mizanur Rahman Buiya replied that we have no dokhol/possession of the suit land.  I explained to him that we had possession of the suit land when it was bought by my father. But since we live abroad, the land grabbing Bazaar Committee took possession and are forcefully and illegally prevented us from reaching our land. And that we tried to retake possession but were unsuccessful (as mentioned above).  I also raised the issue of what was the purpose of having legal documents to a particular land when all that is required is to have possession.

I asked Mizanur Rahman Buiya why he recorded the suit land under the name of Kwaz Ali even though Monor Ahmed (from whose son Kwaz Ali bought the suit land) had lost the lawsuit claim to the suit land (evidence K).  Mizanur Rahman Buiya gave me a vague response by quoting a few deed numbers to Kwaz Ali’s claim for the suit land and would not amend the records to our name.  When I requested to view these deeds; Mizanur Rahman Buiya refused by saying that he had seen them.

Mizanur Rahman Buiya also said that the government was claiming some of the suit land. I refuted by pointed out that the government funded and built a mud road on their part of the suit land. I also enquired as to what was the purpose of legally establish procedures such as registering of deed of sale, land related documents, mutation of records, tax payments, record-of-rights, maintenance of record-of-rights, law & order, police and government etc. And the outcome of government employees not adhering to established rules and regulations which they swore to uphold.

I then suggested that if he could not record the suit land exclusively or wholly in our name, then he should at least record the interest of all the parties with regards to the suit land. This would involve for example, recording the right, title and interest in our name; and recording the possession under the name of the Bazaar Committee (i.e. indicate both parties’ interests on the record books). I stressed that this would be much fairer for all parties; the land grabbers, the officer and myself.  And that when I have the power/capacity/resource etc. I will retake possession (when I can).  Refusing my proposal, Mizanur Rahman Buiya showed me an obscure photocopy of a deed submitted by the bazaar committee and claimed that the bazaar committee bought the suit land through this deed from bargidars (crop sharers).  Mizanur Rahman Buiya claimed that the bargidars obtained permission by word of mouth to till/use the land from the main owners (Hindu zamindars).  I explained to Mizanur Rahman Buiya that this dolil was false/invalid and that there is no legal basis for this dolil because there were no such bargidars and that the Hindu zamindars sold the land (absolute title and possession) to us.  And whilst in our possession we used the land to grow crop until the abovementioned incidents took place and the land grabbers took possession.  I also explained to Mizanur Rahman Buiya that the land grabber’s deed cannot be given any weight because no mutation has taken place, no tax has been paid and that it will not stand up in court.  And that the land grabbers just invented this baseless false story to create spin, sow discord and confusion etc. in order to record the land in their name. 

Mizanur Rahman Buiya did not agree to a single point I raised but kept on urging me to sign the dispute hearing forms which he called giving ‘hajira’.  I did not sign the forms at that point but made a further appointment.  At the next appointment, I raised the issues and arguments again; he said that he will try to record the suit land under my/family name but I would have to pay. I agreed to pay him some money if I get the suit land recorded in my name. 
Mizanur Rahman Buiya then decided that he will only record a fraction of my claim to the suit land under my name. I demanded that if he cannot record my full claim to the suit land as stated in my deeds (three plots totalling 10.80 acre; 0.36 acre, 9.54 acre and 0.90 acre between plots 45, 71 and 318 respectively), he should record the amount stated in the mutation katian which as stated in evidence F totals 9.0 acre between two plot numbers (0.30 acre and 8.70 acre between plots 45 and 71 respectively).  And that if this was not possible, then Mizanur Rahman Buiya should at least record the area as stated in the court ruling of the latest submitted lawsuit transcript (evidence N).  Mizanur Rahman Buiya said that he will try to record the suit land under my/family name and we agreed a price of BDT 60,000 (taka sixty thousand).  I gave a deposit and said that I will come back with the rest of the money and take the paperwork. 

At our next appointment Mizanur Rahman Buiyan got me to sign the dispute hearing forms.  As I was signing the forms I learned that he would only record 2 kedars (0.60 acre) of the suit land under my/family name. I therefore stopped signing the remaining forms and started discussing and arguing about the issue.  Mizanur Rahman Buiya said that he would try and record as much land under my/family name as possible.  Clearly upset, I left him to meet at another time.  At my final appointment with Mizanur Rahman Buiyan before I was due to come back to the UK, he recorded 2.40 acre under my/family name with the agreed sum of BDT 60,000 (see evidence X).  I asked him for more area to be recorded under our name; but was told that I would have to appeal at the next stage.  When I came back to the UK, I got a friend to encourage Mizanur Rahman Buiya to record more area under my/family name.  Mizanur Rahman Buiya was persuaded to record a total of 3.20 acre under my/family name (an additional 0.80 acre was added to our name as stated in evidence Y).  The land grabbers are alleged to have paid Mizanur Rahman Buiya over BDT 3 laak at the ’30 dara’ hearing to retain the records in their names.

Subsequently, I had a meeting with Yusuf Ali (Zonal Settlement Officer) at Alompur, Sylhet who instructed me to file appeals, which I did. I am waiting for the outcome of the filed appeals. Should the appeals fail I would invoke, Rule 42: Special power of Revenue Officer Appointed with the Additional Designation of Settlement Office (The State Acquisition & Tenancy Act 1950, Section 144: Revision of Record-of-Rights). This will allow for the cancellation of the survey and settlement operation and ensure the process is completed again to reflect my claim to the suit land.
With regards to my land and the way I am being dealt with by SOB/DLRS, I may have to invoke Rule 42A: Correction of Fraudulent Entry Before Final Publication of the Record-of-Rights, of the said Act which permit for the correction of record-of-rights as a result of fraud. My fundamental desire is for my legitimate claim to the suit land to be honoured and maintained and the entries corrected as reflected by my legal documents.

Although the bazaar committee may have possession of the suit land, the act of land grabbing was carried out illegally (by taking the law into their own hand). This right of possession in itself is therefore invalid – otherwise anyone and everyone can do the same and we are left (result) with civil war, turning into animals where the strong devour the weak.
Therefore, although the bazaar committee have bribed the DLRS into recording the suit land in their name, it is a legal custom that katian itself is not a document of title but rather a record of right of current possession (1981 BCR, 55 CWN 63, 35 CLJ 19, 56 CLJ 316). But I would like to point out that the possession occurred via an illegal act of land grabbing by the Bazar Committee thus the right of possession has no legal basis. Furthermore, a well established principle of law is that a registered kabala (my dolils) is evidence of title which will prevail over the records of rights. (32 DLR 252). And the presumption of katian does not prevail over the recital kabala. (49 CWN 59, 48 CWN 269). According to A. Noor v. Province of Bangladesh (1966) 18 DLR 666, it was held that the revenue Authority has no power to declare a kabala void. And in any case, until the record-of-rights is finally published, no presumption of correctness arises (18 CWN 896 = 27 IC 229, 34 IC 857).
And yet although an entry in record of rights finally published shall be evidence of the matter referred to in such entry and it shall be presumed to be correct until it is proven to be incorrect (30 DLR (AD) 81, 33 DLR 126). My legal documents to the suit land ultimately prove my claim to be correct.

 

Huts & Bazar Act

Various land acquisition legislations exist to accommodate the need of the government to purchase privately owned land, including paying for the land itself and any compensation for the loss of earnings that may arise as a result of this acquisition.
The Bazar Committee established the bazaar without being sanctioned to by the Government. This was against the law according to Section 2.1 of The Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Acquisition) Ordinance, 1959, ‘No person shall establish any hat or bazar in Bangladesh’. The Bazar Committee using force to establish a bazaar on land that is not owned by them or without permission from the land owner is in itself illegal.
Whether the Bazar Committee forfeited the bazaar to the Government or voluntarily transferred their right of management and control to the Government is open for debate. It could just be a matter of convenience for both, the Government in tax revenue, the Bazar Committee in maintaining their foothold/possession of the bazaar, both gained benefit from the suit land.
What is of significance is the Government’s inaction with regards to section 2.3 of The Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Acquisition) Ordinance, 1959. It is clearly stated that any hat or bazaar, ‘established on any land by a person or persons other than the owner of the land without the consent of such owner, the land shall not be forfeited’, but rather the Deputy Commissioner (DC) is to step in to arbitrate in favour of the land owner.
As mentioned in Section 2.3 (i-iii) of The Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Acquisition) Ordinance, 1959; neither did the DC remove the hut and bazaar, take over its control on behalf of the government having paid us market value of the land or issue license permitting us to continue the hut and bazaar.
Furthermore any acquisition of a hut and bazaar by the Government is permitted by the law on payment of compensation. No such compensation was paid. The Government has not acquired the hut and bazaar or the land that fall within the hut and bazaar. Any plan or actions with regards to acquisition was not communicated/notified to me being a key holder of interest to the suit land nor was any notification or proclamation made at or near the vicinity of the suit land.

The DC, representing the Government, was clearly negligent and in breach of his duty with regards to the way he dealt with me and my rights to the suit land. I am of the opinion that the DC had played a part of the whole land grabbing and establishment of the bazaar.
In this case my preference is for the DC/Government to grant us license to operate the bazaar. Failing that, the bazaar be should removed. In either case compensation should be paid for preventing us from accessing our land and gaining any benefit (loss of crop yield). The bazaar committee and the DC/Government had ultimately gained the benefit from this situation.

 

Vested Property Act

The suit land consist of plot numbers 45, 71 and 318 with total area within each plot being 0.52 acre, 12.55 acre and 5.19 acre, respectively. My father, Haji Ashkor Ali, bought most of the suit land from the Hindu zamindar, see deed of sale (X3) in evidence D. At the time of sale, the deed writers seemed to have entered the wrong plot number, in error, for one of the three plots. Within the 3 deeds they wrote 527 instead of 318 (see Hindu zamindar’s DP katian in evidence C). This is not an uncommon phenomenon and has been petitioned in the current lawsuit – evidence M. Therefore my claim for the suit land includes 0.36 acre, 9.54 acre and 0.90 acre between plots 45, 71 and 318 respectively. The Government share of the suit land includes 0.09 acre, 2.09 acre and 0.87 between plots 45, 71 and 318 respectively.

The Government or other parties may wish to claim part of the suit land under the various Vested Property legislations (hereinafter referred to as “VP”) but this can be disputed by the fact that Government records show that the land never did fall under VP. For example evidence C show copies of the Hindu zaminder’s DP katian no. 3 obtained at different dates; on 03.04.1994, on 08.05.1997 and again on 03.07.2006. In all three instances no mention of the suit land falling under VP is indicated as would typically be the case. Furthermore the Hindu zamindar never disputed our claim to the suit land and never came against our claim to the suit land. In addition, the surviving members of the Hindu zamindar family are living in Gupaltilla, Sylhet, Bangladesh. I therefore challenge this claim made by the Government in that either the Government own records/process/procedures are invalid or this VP claim is invalid.

My father being a Bangladeshi national has bought the land from the record holders using the legal procedures laid down by the State and the freedom to do so as granted by the Constitution of Bangladesh and International Human Rights laws.

The Government has failed to provide any evidence that the Hindu zamindar or their family members were declared an enemy of the State. And even if the Government’s claim was to be valid under VP, there remains some ambiguity as to whether this claim is applicable when surviving family members claim it or when interests are passed on to family members before an individual is declared an enemy the State. Whether this is by gift/inheritance/trust or sheer word of mouth. Which were accommodated by the law, it was a common practice to transfer land rights by word of mouth. This would therefore make me a successor-in-interest since the remaining surviving members of the Hindu zamindars sold the land to my father. The law should/would favour me as a likely candidate to return the land under VP (and/or its subsequent amendments).

There is vagueness in the VP, being amended/repealed many times in order to return the land to their original/suitable/respective owners/claimers/successor etc. The VP legislations allow for the land falling under VP to be returned to their respective successors (successor-in-interest). It also allows land that does not fall under VP but is included under VP to be returned. With this in mind and as a result of my father buying most of the suit land from the Hindu zamindars (surviving members remaining in Bangladesh), I believe I am the most likely candidate to be the successor-in-interest to the suit land. As such, on application number 110 of 2013 (see evidence Z) filed with the Additional Deputy Commissiner's (ADC) office, I make claim to the land falling/included under VP under 'The Vested Properties Returns (Amendment) Act, 2011'.

 

Conclusion

The actions of the land grabbers (bazaar committee), the local/district government and to a lesser extent DLRS have deprived me of my land and/or getting any benefit/gain from it. They did this even though my father paid for the suit land and transferred its rights, interest and title by registered deeds, mutation and tax payments etc. all of which as stipulated by government legal procedures. I wonder what is the purpose of such procedures and legislation when the very people who are suppose to administer it, end up breaking it.

I think the local government and its relevant agencies have been biased towards us and did not fulfil their civic duties. It seems that the situation we are in profits everyone other than us. The land grabbers retain possession of the suit land and are preventing us from accessing it or gaining any benefit. The local government and its agencies are aiding and colluding with the bazaar committee by collecting tax and allowing this to continue.

The parties involved have broken a number of laws/procedures/legal customs, including but not limited to, the Penal Code, Civil Code, The Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Acquisition) Ordinance, 1959, The Prevention of Corruption Act 1947, The Anticorruption Act 1957, Constitution of Bangladesh and human rights laws etc. In addition, the employees and office holders of the local government should further face discipline under The Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1985 and The Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1979.

The bazaar was established illegally in contravention to The Hats and Bazars (Establishment and Acquisition) Ordinance, 1959. In contravention of the said Ordinance, the DC neither removed the bazaar, issued us license for operating it nor paid us any compensation for it. My preference is for the DC/Government to grant us license to operate the bazaar or remove the bazaar. In either case compensation should be paid to us for the loss of crop yield.

In conclusion I plead for immediate action against the bazaar committee and the local/district Government and request that my claim to the suit land is upheld as evidenced by my legal documents. As such my claim to the suit land is 0.36 acre, 9.54 acre and 0.90 acre between plots 45, 71 and 318, respectively, as demonstrated by my legal documents (evidence D). The location is mapped out in evidence G.
I also make claim to any part of the suit land falling or being classed as VP under The Vested Properties Returns (Amendment) Act, 2011. My claim, according to evidence Z, is therefore also 0.08 acre, 1.80 acre and 0.76 acre on plots 45, 71 and 318 respectively under The Vested Properties Returns (Amendment) Act, 2011.

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