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Jatindra Mohan’s house: Demolisher claims to be the rightful owner

  • Published at 03:17 pm January 7th, 2021
Chittagong Jatindra Mohan Sengupta house
A bulldozer tears down the front of the house of Deshapriya Jatindra Mohan Sengupta located in the city’s Rahmatganj area on Monday Kamol Das

Jatindra Mohan Sengupta (1885-1933) was an Indian revolutionary who fought against British colonial rule

Farhad Chowdhury, who went to knock down the ancestral house of revolutionary Jatindra Mohan Sengupta on Monday, claimed that his family was the rightful owner of the property and not land grabbers.

“We went there only to take possession of the property after obtaining a court order. However, a vested quarter is trying to portray us as land grabbers,” said Farhad, eldest son of M Farid Chowdhury, while speaking at a press conference at Chittagong Press Club on Thursday. 

“We purchased the land from Milon Sengupta, the inheritor of the property. We obtained a court order and the court ordered the authorities concerned to help us get the property. We went there after a long legal battle," he said.

Jatindra Mohan Sengupta (1885-1933) was an Indian revolutionary who fought against British colonial rule. According to Chattogram Itihas Sangskriti Gobeshana Kendra Edith, his wife Ellen Gray, better known as Nellie Sengupta, lived in her husband at the Rahmatganj house till 1972.

“My father had an agreement with Milon Sen to buy the land in 1980. However, Milon was delaying to provide registration. As a result, my father lodged a case in 2005,” Farhad told the press conference.

Jatindra was arrested several times by the British police and died in prison in Ranchi of India in 1933. Nellie Sengupta was elected president of the Indian National Congress at its 47th annual session in Calcutta the same year. 

Before dying issueless in Calcutta in 1973, Nellie had not sold or handed over the property to anyone. Later, the Bangladesh government enlisted the property as a vested property.

"We got a decree in 2009 and the court ordered Milon to give us registration. As he did not do so, we lodged a case for the ownership paper and got a decree in 2018. Later, we prayed to the court to get possession and got the decree in December 2020," Farhad said.

On January 6, 2021, the High Court issued a status quo order for a month on demolition of the historic structure reminiscent of anti-British movements. 

The HC also issued a rule, asking authorities concerned of the government to explain why their failure to protect the structure should not be declared illegal. 

In the rule, the court also asked the government to show causes as to why it should not be directed to protect and preserve the structure as a heritage property.

The HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam came up with the order and rule, after hearing a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Masud Alam Chowdhury, seeking necessary directives to protect the building.

Meanwhile, International Crimes Tribunal Prosecutor Rana Dasgupta has urged the government to turn the historical house into a memorial museum.