Releasing from the repealed schedule ‘Kha’ vested property

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Shyamol Kumar Sarkar got his land back to his name

Shyamol Kumar Sarkar (45) lives in Manikganj town with his small family- his wife (35), only son (11) and mother (68).  He teaches English in a local degree college near Manikganj. He actually born and brought up in a village Kasta of Baldhara union of Singair upazila of Manikganj. He was three years of age when his father bought 37 decimals of agricultural land in the Kasta village from neighbor Santosh Kumar Mondal in 1972. In the last two government survey- Bangladesh Survey and latest Revisional Survey, the piece of land was recorded after his father’s name as title holder. His father Nonee Gopal Sarkar died in 1991 leaving his wife and only son Shyamol Sarkar. All the government taxes have been paid and the land was possessed by this family uninterruptedly since 1971. But in January 2013, Shyamol Sarkar heard that the land has been enlisted in list of ‘kha’ schedule of the vested property. According to the Vested Property Return Act, vested properties which are out of the control of the government should be in the list of ‘kha’ schedule. Shyamol Sarkar went to land office to inquire of how the land can be enlisted as vested property in spite of all legal documents that are evident to prove it to be their own property. But he was replied that there was nothing that the land officials could do. He had no other option but to apply for releasing the land. He filed a release petition before the Vested Property Return Tribunal of Manikganj on 27 March 2013. He recalls, ‘I got a booklet (easy read-Shahajpath 2nd edition) published by ALRD from our leader Nur Mohammad Talukdar. Mr. Talukdar is the current president of Bangladesh University College Teachers Association and one of the organiser leader of Jongibad and Samprodayikota Birodhi Moncho (literally, Anti-terrorism and Anti-communalism Platform).  The booklet showed me the path, gave me the inspiration and courage when I was much shocked, broken hearted and couldn’t decide what to do.’

Upon the petition submission, the tribunal fixed a date 12 June 2013 for first hearing but that day tribunal adjourned the hearing and fixed a new date on 4 November 2013. Shyamol lost his hope of a speedy disposal, instead he tried to make his mental and financial preparation for ‘at least two years of pain for no wrongdoing’ he went on saying. It seemed a huge relief to him when the new amendment of Vested Property Return Act was passed in the parliament on 8 October 2013 repealing the schedule ‘kha’. The amendment also declared that the enlisted property in the very schedule would be deemed to be never having been vested property before. He mentioned ‘I am really grateful to the organisations like ALRD and Bangadesh Hindu Bouddha Khristan Oikko Parishad (literally, Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity), if these organization did not raise their voice for repealing this harassing schedule ‘Kha’, it wouldn’t have repealed ever.’ 

But agony seemed to be never ending, this time he came to know that that the record of rights of the very land had to be revised again. According to the circular of land ministry in compliance of the new amendment the unpaid taxes to be paid and a mutation process to be completed. He was informed by almost every person that this process would take many difficulties; land officials would not let him make it so easy. Some prescribed to spend huge amount of money as corrupts land officials must be bribed well to do this. Some persons who were in the same situation couldn’t show him much hope as the land offices did little to make the process keep going.  Some acquainted land official proposed him package of huge amount to get rid of this. Halfhearted, Mr. Shyamol then decided to listen to no one and face it by himself. He went to Singair Upazila land office, filed a mutation case (case no 6939/13-14) on 5 June 2014. Shyamol told when Upazila land office sought the report from Kasta union Land office, the sub assistant union land officer asked him to pay 1 lac taka bribe for a positive report. Shyamol Kumar Sarkar replied that he would not give a single amount of money as bribe. The official told him that without bribe mutation will not be possible as the lion shares of the bribe money will be taken by higher officials. Shyamol says ‘then I told him that I want to know it from their face.’ Mr. Shyamol had not bribed anyone, still he got a positive report from union land office on 2 July 2014 and based on that upazila land office processed the mutation in favor him.  Now the record of rights of land is after Shyamol Kumar Sarkar. In his own words ‘it is just unbelievable, when I first heard that our land went into the vested property list, saw it in the gazette, I felt like I am the most helpless person. At that moment I can only assume how much I have to pay for it and how many hardships are waiting for me. When I first entered the court process, I was just horrified inside, I only pray for shortening the deadly apprehension and sufferings. In that hard time I got the inspiration, vigor and courage from the booklet. I will be always grateful to ALRD for this wonderful booklet and of course what it has done for repealing the cursed schedule ‘Kha’ of vested property.’ 

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