LALMONIRHAT: For centuries, the locals of a village in Lalmonirhat have been praying in a tiny mosque, believed to be a structure built in the Mughal period.
A section of the influential people, however, decided to bulldoze the ancient mosque, located atGilabari village under Saptibari union of Aditmari upazila.
A new mosque will be built soon in place of Gilabari mosque, alleged the locals. Instead of replacing it with a new one, the locals demanded renovation of the mosque.
Nur-Uz-Zaman, a resident of Gilabari village and also a freedom fighter said, "We do not know who built it. But we have been praying here for centuries. It is part of our history, and cannot be razed."
"We urge the authorities concerned to save this mosque, renovate it so that younger generations can know about our history and heritage," he added.
Echoing with the 70-year-old Nur-Uz-Zaman, Custodian ofCumilla's Mainamati MuseumHafijur Rahman, who has recently visited the mosque,said, "Undoubtedly, it is an ancient mosque and part of our history."
Locally known as Gilabari Puraton Jame Masjid, the mosque is listed as a heritage site by the Department of Archaeology. Locals believe that the tiny mosque, which can still accommodate 35-40 devotees during prayers, was constructed some 400-500 years ago.
Visiting the mosque, this correspondent found that the mosque, built with brick and lime, is still in a good condition. It is only 47 feet wide and 17 feet long on a land of seven decimals.
It is a three-domed mosque, and there is a two-domed entry gate in front of it. There is also a well dug in front of the mosque. It is, however, no longer used by the villagers.
There are some fictions and myths among the local elderly villagers about the mosque.
Contacted, Dr Naheed Sultana, RegionalDirector of the Archeological Department,Rangpur and Rajshahi region, said that it was possibly built during the Mughal period because most of the three-domed mosques in Bengal were built then.
"We must take necessary steps to protect this mosque," she added.
GM Sarwar, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Aditmari, said, "It has already come to my notice. We will inform the respective authorities so that the mosque is preserved."