RMG workers on rampage
100 injured, 4,500 Ashulia workers suedRashad Ahamad . Savar
At least 100 people were injured and more than 300 apparel factories were closed for the day as garment workers fought pitched battles with the police at Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital for the second consecutive day on Sunday.
More than 20 factories were vandalised during the clashes that broke out at around 9:00am and continued for about three hours.
Traffic on the Dhaka-Tangail highway remained suspended for three hours after the workers took to the streets in the morning. The workers vandalised at least 10 vehicles and burned spent tyres and logs on the highway.
Witnesses and the police said hundreds of workers of the factories located at Jamgora, Jirabo, Beron, Narasinghapur, Nishchintapur and surrounding areas started rallying on the road at around 9:00am over the rumour that Salman, a fellow worker of Sakib Poly and Packing factory of Hameem Group, who had been missing since Thursday, was not yet found.
About 50,000 workers took to the streets, blocked Dhaka-Tangail highway and asked workers of other factories to join them.
The angry workers attacked the law enforcers who charged batons on the protesters, triggering the clashes in which more than 100 people, including workers, journalists, pedestrians and two police constables were injured.
Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the agitating workers.
The workers continued agitations even after the factory management produced before them a man it said was Salman. The workers said the man produced was not their fellow worker Salman.
The workers dispersed and traffic resumed around 12:30pm after deployment of large contingents of police and RAB.
Fearing further troubles, 300 factories in Jamgora, Jirabo, Nishchintapur, Narasinghapur, Beron, Bhadail, Banglabazar, Unique, Gazirchat, Bogabari and surrounding areas were closed for the day.
Abdus Salam, deputy inspector general of the Ashulia unit of industrial police, said that they would take action against the people responsible for the violence. He said that the police had information that some locals were fuelling troubles in the garment factories.
Hameem Group’s spokesperson Mohammad Ali Mandal told New Age that the workers had come to the factory in the morning and started work, but suddenly they became agitated and came out of the factory.
The factory management brought one Salman to Ashulia police station from Pubail before taking him to his workplace.
The agitating workers refused to recognise the man produced as Salman. ‘This Salman is not our Salman,’ they said.
Salman was sent to court in a case of theft filed by the management of Fashion Craft Knitwear Ltd management on May 7.
The Ashulia police recovered a firearm, snatched from them on Saturday, from Guimail area in the morning. It was hidden under piled up firewood beside the house of one Janab Ali, said Badrul Alam, Ashulia police officer-in-charge.
The industrial police filed a case against 4,500 workers with Ashulia police in connection with the firearm snatching incident.
On Saturday, at least 100 people, including 10 cops, were injured and production in around 200 garment factories was suspended in Ashulia industrial belt after rumours of Salman’s death.
Kamrun Nahar, 30, an operator who worked at an Opex Group factory, was run over by a bus at Jamgara when she was running away after the police chased workers on demonstrations.
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