Govt takes up project to convert Dhaka Central Jail into museum

FHM Humayan Kabir | Published: April 24, 2018 00:50:49

The government has recently taken up a project to build a Jail Museum, first of its kind in the country, on the site of Old Dhaka Central Jail, officials said on Monday.

The state-owned Bangladesh Jail has taken up the Tk 5.32 billion project to establish the museum in old Dhaka in a bid to preserve the country's heritage.

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia is now in Old Dhaka Central Jail, built on nine acres of land, at Nazimuddin Road in the capital city.

"We have taken up the project to convert the jail into a museum. It will uphold the country's history and heritage before and after the Liberation War. Many politically important and famous persons were the inmates in the jail," said a Department of Jail official.

This will be the first of its kind in Bangladesh as a prisoners' museum, the official said.

The old jail is historically very important where many 1952 language movement heroes, 6-point movement heroes, and liberation war heroes were kept.

The jail earned infamy after killing of four national leaders - A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman, Tajuddin Ahmad, Syed Nazrul Islam and Captain Muhammad Mansur Ali on November 3, 1975.

The Central Jail was shifted to Keraniganj outside the Dhaka city in July 2016 after the Old Dhaka Jail was declared abandoned.

Before the British rule, there was a Mughal fort on the site of Old Dhaka Central Jail. During early years of the 19th century, the fort was renovated and converted into a jail.

Until 1836, the Kotwali Police station was also co-located here. Records from 1833 showed that the capacity of the jail was 800 inmates at that time.

However, on average the jail had 526 inmates every day. The Dhaka jail was converted into the central jail for East Bengal.

According to the project proposal, the Bangladesh Jail will convert the existing jail building into the museum, construct Cineplex, swimming pool, multipurpose-building, food court, flower & bookshops, water fountain, mosque, canopy at the main jail gate, primary-cum-high school. 

A Planning Commission official said they had got a Tk 5.32 billion development proposal from the state-owned Bangladesh Jail for converting the old central jail into the museum by 2020.

"We are now scrutinising the project proposal. If we see it viable, then we will place it before the Prime Minister-headed Executive Committee of the National Economic Council for approval soon," he said.

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