On 5 June 2019, the night of Eid-ul-Fitr, two-story heritage house Jahajbari in Chawkbazar, Old Dhaka, was grabbed and knocked down. This photo was taken on Friday noon.
On 5 June 2019, the night of Eid-ul-Fitr, two-story heritage house Jahajbari in Chawkbazar, Old Dhaka, was grabbed and knocked down. This photo was taken on Friday noon. Dipu Malakar

Haji Salim, a ruling-party MP from Dhaka-18 constituency, has allegedly grabbed land in different parts in the capital Dhaka and Narayanganj.

Several incidents of land grabbing by Old Dhaka's powerful MP started surfacing after members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) raided his house in Old Dhaka and arrested his son Irfan Salim for assaulting a naval officer.

Those who lost their lands to the MP, are afraid of disclosing their complaints.

Following the raid at Haji Salim's house on 26 October, Agrani Bank authorities recovered its 20 decimals of land grabbed by Haji Salim.

Agrani Bank head of security protocol Md Asaduzzaman said Haji Salim has again grabbed the land in Moulvibazar of Old Dhaka.

Haji Salim and his personal secretary Mohiuddin did not respond to phone calls and SMS texts about the land grabbing.

His lawyer Prannath, however, denied all allegations.

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Those involved in land grabbing and looting, think they will be spared as they are in the government. So the ruling party has to play a role to recover the land grabbed by Haji Salim in a bid to send a message to the peoples' representatives that the party will not shoulder their misdeeds.
M Hafizuddin Khan, former adviser to the caretaker government

Fazlur Rahman's two-story house

Haji Salim's men recently demolished local resident Fazlur Rahman's two-storey house at Chhoto Katra in Old Dhaka. Haji Salim fenced of the land and started construction.

Haji Salim's lawyer Prannath, however, claimed MP Haji Salim bought the land.

Fazlur's brother Raj Rahman alleged Haji Salim grabbed eight kathas of his brother's land.

They are afraid to talk in fear of Haji Salim, he added.

Locals said the estimated price of the land is Tk 80 million.

Grabbing of heritage Jahajbari

On 5 June 2019, the night of Eid-ul-Fitr, the two-storey heritage house Jahajbari in Chawkbazar, Old Dhaka, was taken over and knocked down.

Local residents said Haji Salim's men demolished this archaeologically important house. Later, Haji Salim grabbed the land.

While visiting the site, this correspondent found around 50 small shops have been established on the land. Local residents said Haji Salim established these makeshift shops to enforce his occupation.

Establishments on government land

Haji Salim grabbed an acre of land of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authortity (BIWTA) at Jhauchar of Kamrangirchar and constructed several houses.

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Attempt to grab after taking responsibility of construction

In 2013, Haji Salim inked a deal with Md Abul Hashem to construct a 12-storey building on his land at 87/2 West Madartek in Sabujbagh.

According to the agreement, Hashem was to be given advance payment of Tk 3 million and Tk 5 million for approval from Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK). But Hashem has not received any money as yet. Now an attempt is on to grab the entire house.

Abul Hashem has fallen ill in fear of losing the house.

His son Mahmudul Hasan sought help from the government to rescue the land.

WAPDA land on Green Road

Eight kathas of land of a Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) bungalow at 10/A Green Road has been under the occupation of Haji Salim since 1990. Later the holding number was changed to 64/A. Neighbours alleged Haji Salim's son Irfan used to visit the spot late at night before his arrest.

Tibet Hall

Haji Salim grabbed Jagannath University's Tibet Hall at Patuatuli Waizghat in Old Dhaka. The hall could not be recovered despite the demonstration by students and assurance from the government.

In 2001, Haji Salim changed the structure of the hall and built a ten-storey building in his wife's name -- 'Gulshan Ara City Market'. There are about 1,000 shops in the market.

On 29 October, a human chain, demanding 'Tibet Hall' of Jagannath University to be retrieved from the possession of Haji Md Salim, was organised under the banner of 'General Students of Jagannath University'.

Students of different departments took part in the demonstration in front of the university's main gate.

The students who took part in the human chain said that the university's Tibet Hall, adjacent to Ahsan Manzil, had been occupied by the ruling party MP Haji Salim for more than two decades.

Filling station on land of school for deaf

Haji Salim set up Madina Filling Station by grabbing one acre of land of a school for the deaf at Sowarighat.

Head teacher Aminul Islam said Haji Salim grabbed the land of the school.

15 bighas of fallow land grabbed in Sonargaon

Sonargaon upazila administration discovered 15 bighas of fallow land grabbed by Haji Salim at Meghna ghat.

The market price of the land is Tk 230.8 million. The administration recovered 10 decimals of land on 5 November.

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Administration's activity halted

Prothom Alo Sonargaon correspondent said Haji Salim's Madina Group established Tiger Brand cement factory by grabbing 15 bighas of land at Meghnaghat area of Narayanganj.

Sonargaon upazila assistant commissioner (land) Al Mamun conducted an eviction drive, and gave orders to remove all establishments from the government land.

While visiting the spot, Prothom Alo correspondent found that the Madina Group did not comply with the order.

When asked about the matter, Al Mamun said they have a crisis of necessary equipment and manpower to conduct eviction drives.

Non-government organisation Citizens for Good Governance (SHUJAN) president M Hafizuddin Khan said the government officials have to take tough action to recover the land.

The former adviser to the caretaker government also said thos, who are involved in land grabbing and looting, think they will be spared as they are in the government.

So the ruling party has to play a role to recover land grabbed by Haji Salim in a bid to send a message to the peoples' representatives that the party will not shoulder their misdeeds, Hafizuddin added.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.