Some 48 years ago, a Shaheed Minar was built at Shamsernagar area in Moulvibazar’s Kamalganj upazila commemorating those who lost their lives during the Language Movement in 1952.

Beside it, a Muktijoddha Chattar was constructed with the names of those who gave their life during the Liberation War in 1971. In 2000, a plaque listing the brave freedom fighters of Shamsernagar area was also installed at Muktijoddha Chattar.

But due to negligence of the authorities concerned and a lack of renovation, the Shaheed Minar and  Muktijoddha Chattar had been lying in a dilapidated state for over a decade.

So, Moulvibazar Zila Parishad built a new Shaheed Minar adjacent to the old one and the Muktijoddha Chattar was renovated as well. They also vowed to maintain the sanctity of the place at any cost. But the vow turned out to be an empty promise as a three-wheeler stand has taken over the premise of the monuments shortly after.

In a recent visit, this correspondent saw the name plates consisting of the martyred freedom fighters had been erased by dirt. Cigarette butts and all sorts of garbage filled the Shaheed Minar platform.

Rows of three-wheelers were parked on the premises. Drivers were sitting on the stairs of Shahheed Minar platform with their shoes on, undermining its status. Even worse, the smell of urine was emitting from all over the place.

Shamshernagar Uttar Bazar CNG Autorickshaw Drivers Association is the organisation in-charge of the parking spot. Contacted, their former president Mustafa Mia said, “This area is the busiest. If  we park the vehicles on the road, the traffic jams will increase. So we’re keeping three wheelers  in the empty space inside the Shaheed Minar.”

“Before a national event, we remove our vehicles from the premises and clean it on our own initiative,” he added.

Shahjahan Manik, coordinator of Shamshernagar Literary Association and lecturer of Suja Memorial College, expressed his anger over the status quo.

“The local administration doesn’t care about honouring our martyrs,” he added.

Shamshernagar Union Parishad chairman Jewel Ahmed said that he did not know how the auto-rickshaw drivers managed to build a stand on the premises of Shaheed Minar.

He demanded immediate removal of the parking stand.

Zila Parishad authorities declined to comment on the matter.

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