The Dhaka Tribune reporter yesterday found workers demolishing the roof of the mosque with only the walls standing intact
The committee operating the Maulana Mosque on KB Ghosh Street in Old Dhaka’s Armanitola demolishes the Mughal era establishment, defying a request from the Department of Archaeology. The photo was taken yesterday. Photo- Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune
The very old part of the Maulana Mosque on KB Ghosh Street in Armanitola, one of the oldest remaining Mughal-era establishments in the capital, is being demolished by the mosque committee defying request from the Department of Archaeology.
The Dhaka Tribune reporter yesterday found workers demolishing the roof of the mosque with only the walls standing intact. The workers, however, stopped working as soon as they saw the reporter.
The committee began demolishing the building three to four days ago terming it very risky for the people who offer prayers, said a committee member. “We started the demolition upon permission of Waqf Bangladesh.”
He showed the reporter a letter issued by the state-owned body dated August 25, 2013. He also showed a letter from the Department of Archaeology dated February 4, 2014, that requested the mosque committee not to raze the part.
Officials at the archaeology department said the vulnerable part of the mosque, believed to be built in 1707, could be retrofitted.
The letter signed by an assistant administrator of Waqf Bangladesh said: “Based on available information, permission is given to demolish the vulnerable part of the mosque fearing collapse.”
“The ancient part of the mosque is a Mughal establishment. So, with a view to protect the archaeological site, we requested you [mosque committee] to stop knocking it down,” Regional Director of Department of Archaeology Md Ataur Rahman wrote to the mosque committee on February 4.
He asked the mosque authorities to rather extend the adjacent new part of the mosque where the people offer prayers only.
Ataur said even though the mosque was not part of the government list of heritage establishments, they would try for its inclusion.
“I wonder how the Waqf authorities could make such a decision. Action should be taken against those responsible [for giving the approval],” he told the Dhaka Tribune.